What is the relationship between design, sustainability, inner values and spirituality? How can we create designs that provide a convincing alternative to unsustainable interpretations of progress, growth, consumerism and commercialism? Building on the arguments first advanced in his widely acclaimed books Sustainable by Design and The Spirit of Design, Stuart Walker explains how we can achieve the systemic changes needed to address the challenges of sustainability.
Challenging common assumptions about the nature of our contemporary material culture and its relationship to human flourishing, the author introduces approaches to design that draw inspiration from nature, summon the human imagination and create outcomes which are environmentally responsible and socially just, as well as meaningful and enriching at a personal level.
Offering a unique and original contribution to this vital debate, Designing Sustainability is destined to become essential reading for students on courses in design and sustainability and for design practitioners looking for a deeper, more meaningful basis for their work.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Acronyms and Abbreviations; 1. Introduction; 2. The Object of Nightingales; 3. Design on a Darkling Plain; 4. Contemplative Objects; 5. Design and Spirituality; 6. The Narrow Door to Sustainability; 7. A Form of Silence; 8. A New Game; 9. Epilogue; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
Stuart Walker is Professor of Design for Sustainability at Lancaster University and Emeritus Professor, University of Calgary, Canada. He is the author of many award-winning publications and his propositional designs have been exhibited at the Design Museum, London, across Canada and in Europe.
"Quite simply, this is the best book on the key issues that engage us - values, culture, the environment, beliefs, making a better world - that I have ever read. It is utterly original, deeply rooted, supremely pragmatic and splendidly visionary. You will not see anything in our physical, designed, created world in the same way ever again."
Martin Palmer - Secretary General, Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC)
"A seminal contribution to the profession of design that begins with the heart and mind of the designer and the values most important to human flourishing . . . Designing Sustainability aims to ground the practice of design in a vision of a civilization worthy of being sustained. The message is timeless."
David W. Orr - Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, Oberlin College, Ohio and author of The Nature of Design and Design on the Edge
"In the bustle of what counts for progress, too often we forget to imbue our objects, places and transactions with the meaning that makes life worthwhile. Joyfully and patiently Stuart Walker shows us how to design spiritual satisfaction into the everyday so that we, and the Earth we inhabit, may be whole again."
Sara Parkin - Founder Director and Trustee, Forum of the Future
"Professor Walker gets to the essence of design for our future, offering a wake-up call for designers and consumers alike. His Quadruple Bottom Line of Sustainability turns upside-down the emphasis on design for profit and mass consumerism. He calls for fundamental change and asks us to 'measure our contribution to sustainability not by how much we can do, but by how much we can do without'. A thought provoking and contemplative book that should be on every designer’s reading list."
David Constantine MBE - Co-Founder, Motivation
"In an age of all-encompassing artifice, Designing Sustainability challenges designers to re-think how their discipline understands nature. The originality and import of this book lies in how the author proposes ways of using design as an almost individual means of helping us re-engage transitively and unsentimentally (at deeper levels) with the natural."
Clive Dilnot - Professor of Design Studies, The New School for Design, New York
"This book offers both breadth and depth. It will motivate serious students and design professionals to slow down and consider personal moral codes. Substantial endnotes and an extensive, multidisciplinary bibliography aid readers in such a quest. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above."
CHOICE - A. Schoenfeld, Pratt Institute
"A most positive and generous work of thought with specific proposals, schematic guidelines and conclusions, all well documented, providing good design orientations and solid principles. There is no doubt that this book is a powerful and spiritual tool for a better way of living. Education at its best!"
Design Magazine, Portugal
Designing Sustainability is the latest collection of thematically linked chapters from one of the leading figures in the field. Stuart Walker’s direct and authoritative voice rings out from every page. As with all of his writings, including the two notable previous collections Sustainable by Design: Explorations in Theory and Practice (2006) and The Spirit of Design: Objects, Environment and Meaning (2011), the work here is extremely thoughtful and well-referenced. One of the things that makes Walker such a compelling voice is the fact that he has a wider frame of reference than many authors seeking to advance our understanding of the potential role of design in pursuing the ideal of sustainability.
The Design Journal, Dr Paul Micklethwaite, Kingston University, UK
This book is a must read not only for academics and design practitioners but for anyone looking for what the next era of human society will look like in regards to the choreography of the objects around us. Changing the relationship between the manufactured world and us will open up the space for new ways of making, having and being.
Spyros Bofylatos, Sublime Magazine