DIGENT: Sustainability and Design Lab
The Sustainability and Design Lab (SD/Lab) of the Department of Informatics aims to contribute to redirecting human modes of planetary habitation towards sustainment. We do that through a focus on the role of design in the sustainability of artefacts, including digital ones, and the practices that they shape.
The sustainability of an artefact is for a large part decided in the design phase, in which choices about materials, energy use, lifespan, repair, and circularity are made. However, when these design decisions are taking place, their implications are not known. Later, when the artefact is in use, it is difficult to change it - it becomes part of a social ecology and new practices are formed around it.
Our understanding of sustainability is guided by the Planetary Boundaries framework and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): securing the social foundation for people everywhere now and in the future, while staying within planetary boundaries.
Our vision is to contribute to the on-going transition towards sustainable futures through the transformation of technologies and practices.
Our interdisciplinary team shares a practice-based approach, combined with theoretical understandings from Information Systems, Science and Technology Studies, and Interaction Design. Our exploratory and qualitative methodologies, such as ethnography, systems thinking, research through design, and service design, are informed by a critical research paradigm and put into practice through our Transition Design Lab.
Our research activities are within healthcare, regulation, consumption, studies of technological innovations in every day use, and sustainability through optimisation. We also work together with market actors to facilitate the integration of sustainability in their activities and decision-making.
- In the Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART), financed by the EU’s Horizon2020 programme, we investigate the social and environmental sustainability in the life cycle of mobile phones. We study in particular the design, obsolescence, repair, and recycling of mobile phones in order to contributes to sustainable design and use practices.
- In Conserve and Consume, a NFR-financed project, we look at how new types of services can facilitate sustainable consumption.
- The People’s Smart Sculpture, an EU-financed project, we look into citizen participation in urban development, including new opportunities as a result of the on-going digitalisation of society.
- In Frilux we study and design library services with a focus on user experience and digitalisation.