Digital Technology and Sustainability: Engaging the Paradox, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Digital Technology and Sustainability

Engaging the Paradox, 1st Edition

Edited by Mike Hazas, Lisa Nathan


260 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

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This book brings together diverse voices from across the field of sustainable human computer interaction (SHCI) to discuss what it means for digital technology to support sustainability and how humans and technology can work together optimally for a more sustainable future.

Contemporary digital technologies are hailed by tech companies, governments and academics as leading-edge solutions to the challenges of environmental sustainability; smarter homes, more persuasive technologies, and a robust Internet of Things hold the promise for creating a greener world. Yet, deployments of interactive technologies for such purposes often lead to a paradox: they algorithmically "optimize" heating and lighting of houses without regard to the dynamics of daily life in the home; they can collect and display data that allow us to reflect on energy and emissions, yet the same information can cause us to raise our expectations for comfort and convenience; they might allow us to share best practice for sustainable living through social networking and online communities, yet these same systems further our participation in consumerism and contribute to an ever-greater volume of electronic waste.By acknowledging these paradoxes, this book represents a significant critical inquiry into digital technology’s longer-term impact on ideals of sustainability.

Written by an interdisciplinary team of contributors this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of human computer interaction and environmental studies.

Table of Contents

Photo Essay 1: Selfie Time

Eli Blevis

Introduction: Digital Technology and Sustainability: Engaging the paradox

Mike Hazas and Lisa P. Nathan

Photo Essay 2: Artifice and Nature

Eli Blevis

Part 1: Assessing the Field

Chapter 1: Three Principles of Sustainable Interaction Design, Revisited

David Roedl, William Odom and Eli Blevis

Chapter 2: Towards a Social Practice Theory Perspective on Sustainable HCI Research and Design

Adrian K. Clear and Rob Comber

Chapter 3: A Conversation Between Two Sustainable HCI Researchers: The role of HCI in a Positive Socio-Ecological Transformation

Samuel Mann and Oliver Bates

Response 1a: Sustainable HCI: From Individual to System

Chris Preist

Response 1b: Sustainability within HCI within Society: Improvisations, Interconnections and Imaginations

Janine Morley

Photo Essay 3: Rooftop Garden

Eli Blevis

Part 2: Addressing Limits

Chapter 4: Every Little Bit Makes Little Difference: The Paradox within SHCI

Somya Joshi and Tessy Cerratto Pargman

Chapter 5: Developing a political economy perspective for sustainable HCI

Bonnie Nardi and Hamid Ekbia

Chapter 6: Software Engineering for Sustainability: Tools for Sustainability Analysis

Birgit Penzenstadler and Colin C. Venters

Response 2: Challenging the Scope?

Enrico Constanza

Photo Essay 4: Classroom Exercise

Eli Blevis

PART 3: Ways To Engage With Others

Chapter 7: Communicating SHCI Research to Practitioners and Stakeholders

Christian Remy and Elaine M. Huang

Chapter 8: Negotiating and Engaging with Environmental Public Policy at Different Scales

Vanessa Thomas

Chapter 9: On the Inherent Contradictions of Teaching Sustainability at a Technical University

Elina Eriksson and Daniel Pargman

Chapter 10: Participation in Design for Sustainability

Janet Davis and Sandra Burri Gram-Hansen

Response 3a: Connected and Complicit

Mél Hogan

Response 3b: From Participatory Design to Participatory Governance through Sustainable HCI Rónán Kennedy

Photo Essay 5: Airstream

Eli Blevis

Part 4: Inspiring Futures

Chapter 11: A Sustainable Place: Everyday Designers as Place Makers

Audrey Desjardins, Xiaolan Wang, and Ron Wakkary

Chapter 12: Interaction Design for Sustainability Futures: Towards Worldmaking Interactions

Roy Bendor

Chapter 13: Think Local Act Local: The Case of Burning Man

a.m. tsaasan and Bonnie Nardi

Response 4: Sustainability Futures and the Future of Sustainable HCI

Yolande Strengers

Photo Essay 6: Locked Gate

Eli Blevis


Mike Hazas and Lisa P. Nathan

About the Editors

Mike Hazas is Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University.

Lisa P. Nathan is Assistant Professor at the School of Library Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sustainability

Sustainability has become one of the most pressing social, environmental, economic, cultural and political issues of our times. Yet the meaning of ‘sustainability’ remains elusive.

This series provides original insights from across the social sciences and humanities on the meaning and practice of sustainability. It offers both theoretical and practical analysis of ‘sustainability’, including social sustainability, sustainable consumption, democratic sustainability and sustainable behaviour.

These interdisciplinary books give students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners the latest thinking from international authors. This thought-provoking series draws on and is relevant to those working in a wide-range of disciplines, including environment, development, sociology, politics, philosophy, business and marketing, media, geography, and anthropology.

To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Environmental Science