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Design for Sustainable Lifestyles

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Design for Sustainable Lifestyles

We will evaluate how new sustainable lifestyles are emerging, how we must design for such sustainability, and how we use persuasion to ease the transition. We can also share sad cases of 'green washing'!

Members: 73
Latest Activity: Oct 7, 2016

Discussion Forum

Product Design for Sustainability

Started by Tom Coleman Oct 7, 2016.

McKinsey on Sustainability

Started by Tom Coleman Feb 1, 2013.

Coursera: Introduction to Sustainability 1 Reply

Started by Tom Coleman. Last reply by Tom Coleman Oct 9, 2012.

Beyond Growth - The Economics of Sustainable Development

Started by Tom Coleman Jul 29, 2012.

The Ecology of Disease

Started by Tom Coleman Jul 16, 2012.

1000 Words: A Manifesto for Sustainability in Design

Started by Tom Coleman Mar 14, 2012.

Sustainability in 7 4 Replies

Started by Tom Coleman. Last reply by Tom Coleman Apr 18, 2011.

Catalog Living

Started by Tom Coleman Apr 14, 2011.

Janine Benyus: 12 sustainable design ideas from nature (TED) 2 Replies

Started by Tom Coleman. Last reply by Tom Coleman Apr 13, 2011.

TreeHugger.com 4 Replies

Started by Tom Coleman. Last reply by Tom Coleman Apr 13, 2011.

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Started by Tom Coleman Mar 25, 2011.

Sustained by Design

Started by Tom Coleman Mar 19, 2011.

EarthScan - Sustainability Curricula for the 21st Century

Started by Tom Coleman Mar 16, 2011.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

Started by Tom Coleman Mar 16, 2011.

Cradle to Cradle

Started by Tom Coleman Mar 10, 2011.

Beyond GDP

Started by Tom Coleman Mar 10, 2011.

Fair Trade Resources

Started by Tom Coleman Jul 24, 2010.

Coal Can Do That

Started by Tom Coleman Jan 26, 2010.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded 7 Replies

Started by Tom Coleman. Last reply by Tom Coleman Jan 16, 2010.

Michael Pollan: The omnivore's next dilemma 1 Reply

Started by Tom Coleman. Last reply by Tom Coleman Jan 16, 2010.

Comment Wall

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Comment by Joachim Harloff on March 26, 2009 at 5:35am
The journal of sustainable product design. - Dordrecht, Springer (2002-2006, 4 volumes published. ISSN 1367-6679 (Print) 1573-1588 (Online) therein:

Scenario-based methodology:
Exploring sustainable futures through 'Design Orienting Scenarios' – The case of shopping, cooking and eating
Dr C. William Young, Jaco Quist, Dr Klara Toth, Dr Kevin Anderson and Prof Ken Green. Volume 1, Number 2 / Juni 2001

Lifestyles:
The Potential of CO2-reduction from Household Consumption by Product-service Systems – A Reflection from SusProNet
Arnold Tukker. Volume 3, Numbers 3-4 / Dezember 2003
===========
General related links:
http://www.sustainabilitydictionary.com
http://www.sustainabilitydictionary.com/z/zero_waste.php
http://www.sustainabilitydictionary.com/c/carbon_footprint.php
http://www.it-environment.org
Comment by Tom Coleman on March 6, 2009 at 1:37pm
Another Fuller-ism: "There is no such thing as pollution--only misplaced resources".
Comment by Tom Coleman on March 6, 2009 at 1:34pm
Check this out:

http://www.sustainlane.com/
Comment by Joachim Harloff on March 3, 2009 at 7:27am
Can reconditioning customer aspirations make a difference?
I guess so. I am not a marketing expert, But I think most of our desires originally come from evolution which was sustainable most of the time. To a large part it is marketing that makes us believe that in order to achieve social acceptance and support and love, health, sex ... we need to consume, we need to define ourselves through overconsumption. Economy needs marketing. So it must be changed in a way which makes it still possible to develop and sell products. Wasn't it one of the ideas of IT and service economy to offer immaterial and hence more sustainable products? In a loose and limited way it seems to me that the social web helps us to meet each other without the need to impress via goods. I cannot drive a big car to the disco there to impress.
(Another problem is that we are so many. Therefore even our most basic needs such as food and drink are becoming more and more difficult to meet. This is a result of non-western lifestyles.)
The key for designers is probably making products and designs fulfilling consumers aspirations in a sustainable way. Make them feel good. To some extent it should be possible without wasting. Choose a marketing strategy that does not make the "green" aspect look the user political.
Comment by Eric M Schaffer on March 3, 2009 at 5:30am
WOW! Excellent view Joachim. I love it. Now i wonder if reconditioning customer aspirations can make a difference?

Comment by Joachim Harloff on March 3, 2009 at 5:11am
When I was a student of psychology the theory of games gave a common explanation for the hesitation of people to voluntarily act (or live) in a sustainable way. The game most quoted was the commons dilemma. The rules are about as follows (variants exist):
Some resources provide a rate of supply (e.g. biological systems). As long as the sum of consumption does not exceed a limit, that rate remains approximately constant. Otherwise the rate of supply decreases on the long run. Single consumers essentially have three options: 1) Exactly take their proportional part of the limit of supply (assumed they know it). 2) Take more than their proportion 3) Take less than their proportion. - The anticipated outcome for the single consumer depends on the anticipated behavior of the other consumers. The best outcome for the sum of all consumers is sustainable behavior (all consumers behave like 1. It corresponds to utilitarism). But in practice consumers do not completely trust each other. The loss of an individual is maximised if he takes his part or less but others take too much, leading to deteriorating rates of supply. So the single consumer guesses he is best off if he has a short-term advantage by taking too much, since the rate of supply is possibly going to deteriorate anyway. Since too many single consumers act like this, together they actually overstress the resource and at the end the supply goes down.
This outcome parallels roughly to what we see in fishery, water supply, arable land and forests, composition of the atmosphere and the like. Geological resources, on the other hand, are often thought of like a zero sum game, leading to distinct antisocial behavior.

The most common solution to such game dilemmata is changing the rules. Authoritarian thought replaces voluntary behavior by a forced or controlled one; more market oriented solutions try to change the trade-off of behavior (such as by green-house gas emission trading), the most common but temporary solution in human history is to expand the limits of a system on the expense of another system (expanding an empire and warfare, emigrating to a new continent, monoculture, placing debt on future generations, replacing one kind of resource by another one, ...), but also using supply more efficiently (including recycling. Ancient people raised highly efficient crops and animals). Another attempt to change the rules is to make consequences of behavior more visible (assuming the limit of the system is not yet known).

Does anyone know more about recent outcomes of the theory of games relevant to sustainablity? My ideas are at least some 10-15 years old and I'd like to learn more.

Changes of lifestyle may break the rules of the game, too. As Tom wrote, a new lifestyle may promise different gratifications. For example, less car driving may imply more time available to share with friends and family (online or offline) or for hobbies or social or politicial engagement. This weighs oil against time. I think most positive idealists of automation and even IT promised us more time available (for TV?).
Persuasion may help to convince people to trust each other and stay on a sustainable track.
Comment by Srikanth Rangavajhala on March 2, 2009 at 10:30am
Thanks to Eric and Coleman. Continuing to my earlier views, as I said about eco-system and comparing the same with Coleman given opinion about "waste", I still see some clarity here. In my view, nothing is called "waste" rather designers can develop their attitude towards looking "waste" as "winning usable solution". As far as "users" are concerned, user will never see/treat any of his/her "usable" thing (can be product or utility) as "waste". Materialistically speaking that user claims any usable product as waste because the product lifespan or the usability (to the extent of its usage) gets decreased over a period (anything made of Carbon).

My next level of thinking goes as, designer and engineer should collaboratively identify the root cause why the usable products in this world are getting or called as "waste" over a period of time and find for "set" of minimal use cases followed by solutions. Could be many factors (carbon degradation/high expectations on the product efficiency/though product is performing normally but user changes his attitude or likes etc). I must appreciate about those initiatives where already few companies have come forward and producing eco-system sustainable (atleast over a period) products from re-cycled goods. This should not become "routine" rather should think on the lines of "sustainance with style and use".

Any advices are appreciated!
(Thanks Coleman for the HP URL)
Comment by Tom Coleman on February 27, 2009 at 1:13pm
Encourage companies to develop recycling programs like HP (vote with your dollars!).
Comment by Tom Coleman on February 27, 2009 at 1:02pm
Comment by Eric M Schaffer on February 26, 2009 at 12:29pm
Sirkanth, good to hear from you! I think you are pointing out some interesting dynamics of how lifestyles can change. Basically opinion leaders and such. Good question that. It is also really interesting to point out how we can have a lot of diversity across lifestyles that people adopt. BUT, I do think there will be overall tends. What will those trends be? That is an interesting question.
 

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