Innovative Foresights in Sustainable Design and Architecture – How to Promote Seemingly Impossible, but Still Crucial, Radical Changes
- Edeholt, Håkan|Skodvin, Børre
Scientific warnings of an escalation of climate disaster becomemore severe by the day. Seemingly, the magnitude of the alarms increases at a pace that outcompetes the concerns it seems to generate in public policies and discourses. Are we perhaps, as some suggest, in the middle of a huge public denial? Why is this so? What could design and design research possibly do about it?
This paper briefly discusses some characteristic features within the domains of society, science and design (including architecture) and how these three domains interrelate when it comes to the challenge of climate change and global sustainability. The intention is to create a creative analytical field of tensions, with complementary actors. The paper then especially focuses on possible contributions from the domain of design. One of the conclusions is that the challenge is so huge that we need to utilize a variety of professional domains of competence and that all should contribute where their involvement will make most difference. We therefore suggest that perhaps the most important contribution that design can make is to suggest new possible, preferable and radically different alternatives of living. Here the intention is to facilitate creative discourses rather than creating creative solutions that direct solve all the complex problems at hand.
A master course in design, entitled ‘Shaping futures’, where students are required to come up with plausible scenarios that address possible climate changes, is used as an illustrative example. In order to address climate change the course joins the domains of foresight, innovation and design. The course reveals both opportunities for design work, and also areas where design as a discipline needs further development.