1st Edition

Design Education for a Sustainable Future

ISBN 9780415537667
Published March 26, 2013 by Routledge
264 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations

USD $56.95

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Book Description

Sustainability is a powerful force that is fundamentally reshaping humanity’s relationship to the natural world and is ushering in the Age of Integration. The move from well-intentioned environmental friendliness to the higher bar of integral sustainability and regenerative design demands a new type of design professional, one that is deeply collaborative, ethically grounded, empathically connected and technologically empowered.

As a response, this book argues for a great leap forward in design education: from an individualistic and competitive model casually focused on greening; to a new approach defined by an integral consciousness, shaped by the values of inclusivity and cooperation, and implemented by a series of integrative behaviors including:

  • an ethically infused design brief
  • a co-creative design process
  • on-going value engineering
  • pre-emptive engineering
  • design validation through simulation
  • on-line enabled integrated learning
  • the use of well vetted rating systems.

This book contains the integral frameworks, whole system change methodologies and intrinsic values that will assist professors and their students in an authentic and effective pursuit of design education for a sustainable future.

Table of Contents

1. A New Context for Design Education  2. Understanding Sustainability and Sustainable Design  3. Design Consciousness  4. Inclusive Design Teams  5. Cooperative Learning Environments  6. Alignment of Activities  7. Integrative Behaviours  8. Nature’s Advocate: Metrics, Standards and Rating Systems  9. Tiny Revolutions

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Rob Fleming is a LEED® Accredited Professional and a registered architect with over 15 years' experience of teaching, research and practice in sustainable design. He is the co-creator and Director of the award-winning Master of Science in Sustainable Design Program at Philadelphia University. Rob is a Sustainability Fellow at Re:Vision Architecture in Philadelphia where he consults and facilitates integrated design charrettes.


A pioneering and visionary work which takes a hard look at design education and design today, something the profession and the schools would rather ignore. Fleming presents a clear and brilliant picture of both human culture’s history and that of architecture. He presents clear models of where we must go and how to get there now! - Sim Van der Ryn

Rob Fleming has developed a strong program in sustainability education, that is well supported by this work that brings together theory and pragmatic applications of sustainability principles and practices. While there are many evolving texts on how sustainability improves our built environment, Rob's work uniquely addresses how emerging designers can think about applying sustainability principles to their work far into the future. The tools of sustainability will inevitably evolve and reflect back on historical precedents; learning to think reflectively about what works best in different environments is the essence of keeping sustainability practices relevant to individual client circumstances. This is a text that should receive wide readership from educators, practitioners, and design students preparing for work in varying global situations where sustainability practices may matter most. - Dr. Ted Landsmark, President, Boston Architectural College

This book has more new and powerful educational ideas than a ten year stack of architectural education journals! It positions Rob Fleming as the leading visionary voice in design education today. His work calls designers and educators to take the momentous leap to an inclusive and discriminating integral perspective that transcends the totally ineffective relativistic pluralism dominating every design school today. Instead, he offers us a way to connect and honor the often disparate design realms of human experience, cultural meaning, physical performance and systemic processes. The transformations he proposes will challenge us all, surely; yet such compelling practices are critical to solving our collective and already-dramatic environmental and social problems. If widely adopted, our world will improve exponentially. This is both the design education community's challenge and its auspicious opportunity. May we all be daring enough to embrace it! - Mark DeKay, author, Integral Sustainable Design: transformative perspectives.

"This useful book discusses how architectural education might expand to address the complexities of sustainability, drawing on Integral theory ... to ensure rigour and, by highlighting areas still often overlooked, comprehensiveness." – Peter Buchanan, Architectural Review

"Overall, Design Education for a Sustainable Future should be read not just by university lecturers, but by anyone who is concerned about architectural education in general."--DETAILGreen, 2014