Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Designed Future

As technology in our society progresses further and further, creating a sustainable society is becoming more and more essential. Designers create all the new technology and products coming into our world, so it is most important for designers to think sustainably. Yesterday, designer Nathan Shedroff spoke to my design class about sustainable design. Through a well-planned Power Point presentation, he explored how the three spheres of design, business, and sustainability can intersect. There are three main questions we need to ask ourselves: what does a more sustainable world look like; what does a more meaningful world look like; and what does a post-consumer world look like? “We don’t know the answers,” said Shedroff, “That is what design is for.” We can look to the country Cuba, a self-contained society that still uses cars from the 1950s, as an example of a sustainable world. We can look at the above-ground subway system in Curitiba, Brazil as an example of how to use a tiny amount of money for a major impact. We can look at the ban of outdoor advertisements in São Paulo, Brazil as an example of a post-consumer world. It may seem daunting to take on the huge task of redesigning our world sustainably, but Shedroff gave examples like these so we could find inspiration, giving us a jumping-off point for our own designs. But what is sustainable design exactly? Shedroff says there really is no such thing. The main thing to consider when designing is “don’t design things that make tomorrow worse.” So get out there yourself and design, design, design, for a better world for your kids and your grandkids.

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