Transformation towards a sustainable future will anyhow take place. The open question is only whether this development is to start from a democratic process as the outcome of collective decisions and actions, or if it is to be seen as the interplay of more or less disastrous ecologic, social and economic trends and events.
The practice-oriented conference we are organising wants to explore the first option by showing, discussing and experimenting with different possibilities of design and developments towards a more sustainable world. It will be focused on design in a narrower sense – seen in terms of product design, visual communication, and interaction design – and on its role in devising and disposing of sustainable developments.
It will thus tackle and investigate design issues by taking into account multifaceted aspects of our present and future world thanks to the participation of experts coming from many fields beyond design: from social and environmental sciences, from civil society and activism, etc.
The central idea is that design is one of the agents shaping the world and it is evident that it can contribute fundamentally to the development towards a sustainable world by considering patterns of production, consumption, disposal, communication and social interaction, which foster resilient and equitable eco-socio-economic systems. Design has indeed been contributing significantly to the creation of these patterns, whether in sustainable or unsustainable ways. Designers need to understand the social and environmental contexts and thus the consequences of their work, while other actors and professions that are co-creating these patterns should understand the “logic” and the potential of design, so that move towards a design for society and sustainability.