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Sharing the Load: Developing Capacity for Social Sustainability in Design through Collaboration

Sharing the Load: Developing Capacity for Social Sustainability in Design through Collaboration
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Author(s): Muireann McMahon (University of Limerick, Ireland) and Tracy Bhamra (Loughborough University, UK)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 26
Source title: Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Ken D. Thomas (Auburn University, USA) and Helen E. Muga (University of Mount Union, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5856-1.ch001

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Abstract

Today there is an impetus on professional designers to practice in a responsible and ‘sustainable' manner, with equal emphasis on society, economy and environment (Fletcher & Dewberry, 2002). This is an enormous challenge as the competencies needed to develop these types of holistic solutions are extremely complex. This chapter describes a Pedagogical Innovation in the discipline of Product Design regarding the important role international collaborative projects can play in introducing these competencies into design practice. Iterative cycles of Action Research describe three such projects. A brief over-view of the project logistics is followed by an analysis of the participant experiences. The findings show that building capacity for sustainable design, through collaboration, is not a simple or ‘one size fits all' approach. The research learning advises on how future projects should be structured and delivered and how the competencies acquired could bring about a change in designers behaviours towards a more sustainable future.

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