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Title: Design and Durability: a contribution to sustainable development
Author: Martins, João
Simões, José António
Franqueira, Teresa
Keywords: Design
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: The European Academy of Design
Abstract: There is growing awareness that the planet we live in cannot support many more years of intensive use such as that which took place in the twentieth century. Having accepted that fact, the major question now is how to invert the situation, how to continue to satisfy today’s needs and aspirations without jeopardizing the needs of future generations. The environmental impacts aggravated in recent decades by uncontrolled production and consumption have caused damage, some of it irreversible, to the planet and its populations. It is in this context that researchers and various organizations call on producers and consumers for an urgent change in behaviour. The United Nations has already warned of the need to change our consumption patterns or else we will leave a costly inheritance to the next generation. Environmental and social sustainability requires the transition from a society where the growth of production and material consumption were factors of progress to a society able to develop based on other factors. In this process, design can play an important role in defining sustainable solutions, ideas of well-being that allow us to live with a better conscience, consuming less and regenerating our physical and social environment, including the idea of social and environmental sustainability based on ethical principles. It is necessary to produce and consume differently, have more and better information about products – their social costs and environmental impacts. We sought to create guidelines for this new form of action. We researched the origin of the idea of sustainable development and the concept of durability, and then present an alternative path to the creation of more products, which implies increasing products’ life-cycle as an important contribution to reducing the environmental impact, diminishing the waste and energy consumption almost always caused by the design of new products.
Peer review: yes
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