Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design

1st Edition

Edited by Rachel Beth Egenhoefer


538 pages

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pub: 2017-08-07
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The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design considers the design, not only of artifacts, but of structures, systems, and interactions that bear our decisions and identities in the context of sustaining our shared planet.  In addressing issues of design for global impact, behavior change, systems and strategy, ethics and values, this handbook presents a unique and powerful design perspective. 

Just as there are multiple definitions of design, so there are several definitions of sustainability, making it difficult to find unity. The term can sometimes be seen as a goal to achieve, or a characteristic to check off on a list of criteria.  In actuality, we will never finish being sustainable. We must instead always strive to design, work, and live sustainably. The voices throughout this handbook present many different characteristics, layers, approaches, and perspectives in this journey of sustaining. 

This handbook divides into five sections, which together present a holistic approach to understanding the many facets of sustainable design:

Part 1: Systems and Design

Part 2: Global Impact

Part 3: Values, Ethics, and Identity

Part 4: Design for Behavior Change   

Part 5: Moving Forward  

This handbook will be invaluable to those wishing to broaden their understanding of sustainable design and students and practitioners of Environmental Studies, Architecture, Product Design and the Visual Arts.



"A timely book that (finally) situates design within a systems context. Diverse articles examine the social and environmental implications of designed images, artifacts, systems and structures in a globally inter-connected and interdependent world as well as the ethics and values that underpin them. Essential reading for designing responsibly in the 21st century."Terry Irwin, Head, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University

"This compelling collection is an outstanding resource for people who see design as a tool that can be used to create a better civilization, whether they be practitioners, students, researchers, or enthusiasts. Egenhoefer reminds us of our responsibility to use our professional skills and opportunities to not just do good design, but to do good!"David Berman, RGD, FGDC, Sustainability Chair, Icograda/ico-D

"The comprehensive and anticipatory nature of this book is profoundly informative and operationally useful in ways that previous books have not been. It is by being so comprehensive on the front end that we designers can mitigate the Law of Unintended Consequences that has so often plagued the practice of design.

While this book is aimed at designers, it would also be useful for political leaders, policy makers and theoretical thinkers in any field. As a society, we are woefully silo-ed by profession, nationality and paradigm. This condition does not accrue to our collective benefit. Any approach that seeks to dismantle this myopic state of affairs will persevere. This book seeks to do just that." — Peter Dean, Co-Founder and Concentration Coordinator, Nature Culture Sustainability Studies Concentration, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

"We are only beginning to explore how design can create the conditions for net positive change throughout society. This handbook shows how design thinking is breaking out of its past boundaries to have a positive influence on all aspects of theory, practice and being." — Janis Birkeland, Professor, University of Melbourne, author of Design for Sustainability and Positive Development

"Sustainability does not have meaning independent from what needs to be sustained, and this need is an object of environmental, economic, political and philosophical contestation. It follows that the concept, and its associated practices begs vigorous debate. This book makes a contribution to the substance of such a debate." Tony Fry, The Studio at the Edge of the World and University of Tasmania

"This is essential reading for those beginning to explore sustainable design. Rachel Beth Egenhoefer has taken a unique approach to illustrating both the breadth and depth of the field. The structure around five themes provides very different perspectives and enables the reader to understand how the approach of design and sustainability together can begin to make real change in the world." — Tracy Bhamra, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Sustainable Design, Loughborough University, UK.

"The Handbook of Sustainable Design pushes design beyond artifacts, common definitions and methodologies. Instead, it advances the discourse to a more impactful, holistic and systemic level, incorporating a much-needed variety of voices, perspectives, and ideas that challenge the designer’s ever-changing role and responsibility in a complex, interconnected and uncertain world." — Mike Weikert, Director, Center for Social Design + Master of Arts in Social Design, Maryland Institute College of Art

Table of Contents


Rachel Beth Egenhoefer

1. The Political Economy of Design in a Hotter Time

David W. Orr

Part 1: Systems and Design

2. Systems Thinking for Design

Diana Wright, Marta Ceroni

3. Design Strategies for Impact

John Bruce 

4. Applied Sustainability

Wendy Jedlička, Jeremy Faludi, Dr. Pete Markiewicz, Tim Frick, Mark McCahill

5. Sustainable Design for Scale

Andrea Steves, Rebecca Silver

6. Systems and Service Design and the Circular Economy

Rhoda Trimingham, Ksenija Kuzmina, Yaone Rapitsenyane,

7. Ecological Theory in Design: Participant Designers in an Age of Entanglement

Joanna Boehnert

Part 2: Global Impact

8. Global Perspectives for Sustainable Design

Douglas Bourn

9. Politics and Sustainability

Harold Wilhite

10. Design for Localization

Helena Norberg-Hodge

11. Intercultural Collaborations in Sustainable Design Education

Denielle Emans, Kelly Murdoch-Kitt

12. Life cycle thinking and sustainable design for emerging consumer electronic product systems

Erinn G. Ryen, Callie W. Babbitt, Alex Lobos

13. Data Clouds and the Environment

Arman Shehabi

14. Increasing Urban Sustainability using GIS

Luiz Felipe Guanaes Rego, Maria Fernanda Campos Lemos, Luís Carlos Soares Madeira Domingues 

Part 3: Values, Ethics, and Identity

15. Empathy, Values, and Situated Action: Sustaining People and Planet Through Human Centered Design

Bruce Hanington

16. Practicing Empathy to Connect People and the Environment

Theresa J. Edmonds

17. Surrendering to the ocean: Practices of mindfulness and presence in designing

Yoko Akama

18. Confronting the Five Paradoxes of Humanitarian Design

Brita Fladvad Nielsen

19. Co-Designing for Development

Maria Rogal, Raúl Sánchez

20. The Internet of Life: Changing Lifestyles and Sustainable Values in Fast-developing China and India

Leong B.D., Lee Y.H.B.

21. Fashion, the City, and the Spectacle

Dilys Williams

22. Designing individual careers and work environments for sustainable value

Cynthia Scott

Part 4: Design for Behavior Change

23. An Introduction to Design for Sustainable Behaviour

Casper Boks

24. How Design Influences Habits

Tang Tang, Seahwa Won

25. The Temporal Fallacy: Design and Emotional Obsolescence

Jonathan Chapman, Giovanni Marmont

26. Discourse Design: The Art of Rhetoric and Science of Persuasion

Marilyn DeLaure

27. Using data visualization to shift behaviors

Adam Nieman

28. Securing Sustainability: Culture and Emotions as Barriers to Environmental Change

Allison Ford, Kari Marie Norgaard

29. Nature based design for health and well-being promoting cities

Angela Reeve, Cheryl Desha, Omniua El Baghdadi

Part 5: Moving Forward

30. How many ways to design for sustainability?

Fabrizio Ceschin, Idil Gaziulusoy

31. The Structure of Structural Change: Making a Habit of Being Alienated as a Designer

Cameron Tonkinwise

32. Empowering Citizens through Design

Diamond James

33. Biomimicry: Nature Inspiring Design

Denise K, DeLuca

34. The Value of the Sharing Economy

Brhmie Balaram

35. Going from STEM to STEAM

Sara Kapadia

36. Design for the Circular Economy

Ruud Balkenende, Nancy Bocken, and Conny Bakker

About the Editor

Rachel Beth Egenhoefer is a designer, artist, writer, and professor, whose work integrates technology, craft, and design. Her work focuses on sustainability and systems thinking in the context of behavior change. As an educator, she is involved in several initiatives to promote sustainability in both the design field and across higher education curricula. Egenhoefer is an Associate Professor of Design in the Department of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco.

About the Series

Routledge International Handbooks

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Sustainability & Green Design
DESIGN / General