Creative Action for Collective Good
September 20, 2010 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Every day, our world gets a little bit smaller and a lot more complex. So much so that even minor decisions can have major consequences. Not just for trees or frogs or polar bears, but for human lives, and livelihoods. At its core, sustainability is about people. The Living Principles for Design aim to guide purposeful action. It is a place to co-create, share and showcase best practices, tools, stories and ideas for enabling sustainable action across all design disciplines.

What you see here is the context from which The Living Principles for Design framework was drawn—a sampling of influential sustainability manifestos, principles, visions, frameworks and tools from the last 50 years. You might think of it as design thinking’s sustainability ecosystem.

Start with a glossary of words to know, explore the recommended books and films, examine the various designer toolkits and educational resources.

The Living Principles is a growing community with talks, events, and forums.
posted by netbros (9 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I know the value in what the aims of these initiatives are and I respect them immensely, going all the way back to Papanek et al... however, of late, I've been mulling over deeply what enabling sustainability might truly mean. More along the lines of independently self sustaining ecosystems, once kickstarted, or as someone explained to me today, the microeconomic equivalent of the perpetual motion machine, particularly in geographies where sustaining entire nations has become an external activity. Bla bla bla but am thinking exploratively along these lines. Any references or links to thoughts framed in this context on sustainability?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 1:27 PM on September 20, 2010

This is really neat, thanks.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:40 PM on September 20, 2010

I'm sure this will create lots of... conferences.
posted by eeeeeez at 2:04 PM on September 20, 2010 [8 favorites]

I've yet to look into the site a little deeper than the front page, but I have to say that the site design itself makes me very happy for some reason. Me gusta.
posted by bayani at 2:25 PM on September 20, 2010

The Lady is a designer: I just started graduate school in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan focusing on sustainable systems, and we have been discussing the word "sustainability" in class over the last few sessions. It seems that it means "good". Or "everything is fucked." Basically, it means anything you want it to mean: dangerously close to meaninglessness.

That said, that website is an awesome clearinghouse for information, and is very well designed.

Depending on your perspective, you might want to look a bit into industrial ecology. Here's a primer (pdf), some good ol' fashioned wikipedia, and a few centers of research.
posted by georg_cantor at 4:18 PM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

"dangerously close to meaninglessness"

Wishful lunacy is what happens when the design industry is no longer colocated on the same continent as the manufacturing industry.
posted by migurski at 5:48 PM on September 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

Thank you, georg_cantor : Is the program you refer to the one that's looking into the re-evaluating the global industrial ecosystem as a whole? I remember coming across it and thinking at least they're taking a systems look at the whole thing.

And I do appreciate the collation of the links, its just as has already been said, "greenwashed" into "dangerously close to meaninglessness"

Also, very valid point, migurski - making, doing, creating tend to go together
posted by The Lady is a designer at 9:58 AM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, I must confess that when I first saw the FPP my first thought was to wonder whether it was yet another IDEO initiative *hangs head in snarky shame*
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:01 AM on September 21, 2010

It's a pretty broad program - one building houses aquatic scientists, terrestrial ecologists, policy and planning folk, infomatics people, landscape architects, environmental justice students, etc. A bunch of people are dual degree with the engineering and business schools. There is a strong industrial ecology corps, but they mostly focus on life-cycle analysis. The Yale School of Forestry is the other big IE school, and they focus mostly on materials flows in the global industrial ecosystem. They have badass publications. Here's one of my favorites, on the industrial platinum cycle for Russia.
posted by georg_cantor at 4:50 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

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