The Integration of Social Issues in Design Education as a Catalyst towards Social Sustainability

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This research focuses on how to enforce the social pillar of sustainability through design education and more specifically through an assignment of a life project given to design students.
This need has been derived from previous research that suggests that the change should focus on two sectors: Education and industry. From the student, to the designer, the producer and the client. All can be catalysts for a positive change. Further, through an interdisciplinary educational approach -into efficient three-dimensional design-, which complies with the three major pillars of sustainability the students projects were analyzed and results showed that the social pillar was the one that it was engaged the least . According, to Ioannou and Kafaridou (2018) there is a need to work further on this aspect. As is suggested, the design of a new course, should emerge to improve the involvement of students into the social aspect of sustainability. More specifically, this can work well with a proposed life project that will target specific groups of our society. This will offer a broader overview of the sustainability concept, as we believe that design education has a major role to play in the delivery of sustainability in society today.
This suggestion is realized with a proposed life project that aims on the promotion of literacy in a children’s hospital environment. All students are involved in a creative design process starting with the problem analysis. This requires the identification of the nature and requirements of task and the development of a plan of ideas and mechanisms to answer the brief. They proceed with, visual and textual research and the conceptual development where students produce rough ideas and explore a number of visual answers to the brief, which are analysed in terms of project objectives. Project development is the following step where ideas are further developed and explored to adapt appropriate methods and techniques. The final stage of the process includes the final presentation, critique ,feedback and then its realization.
Through the above design process the student’s acknowledged the needs of the community and how social issues can be assimilated in a design project to satisfy the social pillar of sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-410
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Sustainable Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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