1st Edition

Holistic Sustainability Through Craft-Design Collaboration

By Rebecca Reubens Copyright 2019
    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 130 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book explores the intersection of craft, design and sustainability in the developing world. It argues that most sustainable design approaches and efforts fall short of implementing holistic sustainability, and in order to reach this goal, design must be underpinned by alternatives to the mainstream, technology-intensive, industrial design paradigm.

    Renewable materials such as bamboo, cork and hemp – which are abundantly available in the developing world – have the potential to be a viable resource base for sustainable development. Current sustainable design initiatives and approaches already recontextualize these materials using industrial techniques and technologies. However, these efforts fall short of impacting holistic sustainability and tend to focus on the ecological aspect. This book offers the development of one alternative to design for holistic sustainability, called the Rhizome Approach, which draws on existing sustainability praxis and craft. Holistic Sustainability Through Craft-Design Collaboration includes customizable tools which aim to empower designers to guide and evaluate their own designs. Through these tools, and the Rhizome Approach in general, the book aims to enable designers, and students of design, to move beyond green and sustainable design, to holistic sustainability design.

    1. Introduction  2. Sustainability and Development  3. Sustainability by design  4. To craft, by design, for sustainability  5. The Rhizome Framework  6. The Rhizome Approach  7. The Bamboo Space-Making Craft Workshop  8. Feedback on the Rhizome Approach  9. Encouraging the use of the Rhizome Approach  10. The Holistic Sustainability System  11. Insights and Conclusions


    Rebecca Reubens did her Ph.D. on the intersection between craft, design and sustainability at Delft University, the Netherlands. She practices in the same domain through her sustainability design firm Rhizome, and is an ambassador for the World Bamboo Organization.

    "This book offers a thoroughly researched, field-tested approach to design for sustainability in grassroots maker enterprises. With its practical framework, design examples and focus on renewable materials, it challenges our current unsustainable trajectory of unbridled growth and waste. It is an important, eminently useful and much-needed contribution to the field."Stuart Walker, Chair of Design for Sustainability, Lancaster University, UK and author of Design Realities: creativity, nature and the human spirit

    "This book provides useful insight into sustainable product design practice especially for developing economies. It advocates for a sustainable design system that balances social, economic and cultural factors in production to consumption systems. The recommendations in the book by Dr Reubens, are backed by research and several years of experience in creating quality bamboo products which are sustainable."Lilac Osanjo, Director, School of The Arts and Design, University of Nairobi, Kenya

    "Design practitioner Rebecca Reubens succeeds in bringing systematic design to crafts people that employ renewable, abundant materials. Her reflections in this book result in a practical framework for holistic sustainability to protect the environment and grow the economy, and also sustain and nurture the culture, skills and communities of craftsmen. Its application paves the way to craft out of poverty, with valuable and sought-after products, that sustain the planet and the culture and traditions of its people."René Van Berkel, PhD, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Project Manager Greening Handicrafts Value Chains in Vietnam

    "The design fraternity talks a lot about design for inclusive sustainability, however, this is rarely put into real practice. Rebecca's tremendous work creates a truly inclusive approach for design for sustai