What does Complexity have to do with Sustainable Design?

By Carmela Cucuzzella.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Addressing sustainable development continues to be a challenge for designers; this includes architects, engineers and industrial designers. In particular when evaluating possible sustainable solutions, the paradigm with which designers operate is limiting because of the difficulty of addressing the complex and interrelated issues with regards to sustainability. There is a tendency to conduct evaluations of solutions using compartmentalized approaches. This is a fundamental and essential step of assessment, but is insufficient on its own. One of the main reasons is because the lack of a broader perspective (both spatial and temporal), prevalent in current sustainable evaluation and assessment methods, makes it difficult if not impossible to comprehend some of these interrelations. By adopting an evaluation method that can deal with this complexity, some of these issues that continue to remain unresolved, may be better comprehended. In fact, this meta point of view may allow a better comprehension of the origin of the divergent positions. This is why an approach that can adopt a complex method for evaluation and innovation seems promising for designers in a context of sustainable design.

Keywords: Sustainable Design, Evaluation Method, Complexity Theory, Complex Method

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.277-290. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.218MB).

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella

Doctorate Candidate, Faculté de l'Aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Universite de Montréal in the Faculté de l’Aménagement. I am a research assistant at L.E.A.P. (Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle) and student member of CIRAIG. I obtained my M.App.Sc in Environmental Design (Design and Complexity option) at the Université de Montréal in 2007. I also received a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Design Art option) in 2005 and a Bachelor in Computer Science (Systems Architecture option) in 1990. Fields of Interest: Sustainable design and development, evaluation methods for sustainable design, social approach to design, ethical and responsible design.

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