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Sustainability and Design (SD)

The Sustainability and Design research group 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 digital artefacts 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) and defined as 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 and through educational activities, preparing new generations of students for the important tasks ahead of them.

Our interdisciplinary team shares a practice-based approach, combined with theoretical understandings from Interaction Design, Systems Thinking, and Science and Technology Studies. Our exploratory and qualitative methodologies, such as ethnography, transition design, research through design, and service design, are informed by a critical research paradigm and put into practice in our Sustainability & Design Lab.

Logo of the Sustainability & Design Lab

The Sustainability & Design Lab is a research and design lab in which we engage hands-on with sustainability through design and practice-based activities. The Sustainability & Design Lab is a meeting place and research lab for all researchers and students working on sustainability issues at IFI. The Sustainability & Design Lab has its own website. Here we also present more details about our individual research projects and student projects.

Our projects
Our research activities are within the production and consumption of products and practices; the design and development of new methodologies and methods for the transition to sustainable futures; 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 Circular Energy for a Sustainable Circular Economy (Circular Energy 2021-2023), a thematic research group financed by UiO:Energy, the Sustainability and Design group will investigate the role of design, maintenance, and repair in the conservation of digitalisation technologies. We aim to contribute to sustainable digitalisation practices. Research activities take place in cooperation with the Department of Private Law, Climate House in Oslo and the Life Sciences Library of the UiO. Sustainability and Design participants are Maja van der Velden (project leader), Alma Culén, and Nick Stevens.
  • In Futuring Sustainable Nordic Busines Models (Futuring Nordics, 2019 - 2022), a thematic research group financed by UiO:Norden, the Sustainability and Design research group investigates method and techniques for designing sustainable business models with a different stakeholders. The overall methodology is Transition Design,  a design approach to fostering system-level change for sustainable futures. Sustainability and Design participants are Maja van der Velden (deputy project leader), Alma Culén, Svein Kjøde (PhD candidate), and Ines Junge (PhD candidate).
  • Changing competence requirements in public services: Consequences of digitization in general and highly specialized work (CORPUS, 2019 - 2023) will generate new knowledge about how work-related skills and competencies are transformed in specific ways as a consequence of digitization processes in the public health services. Sustainability and Design participant is Suhas Govind Joshi.

Previous Projects

Tags: sustainability, design, transition, systems thinking, service design, design thinking, social sustainability
Published Nov. 11, 2020 3:06 PM - Last modified May 5, 2021 2:40 PM