Watch: Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking

This video, by Autodesk Sustainability Workshop, provides a six minute introduction to Life Cycle Thinking as it relates to whole systems design. It explores how opportunities for saving resources, like materials and energy, can often be uncovered early in the design process, by identifying the right problems to solve before engineering begins. Learn more: https://sustainabilityworkshop.autodesk.com/products/whole-systems-and-lifecycle-thinking      

Watch: Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture

In this Ted talk, architect Michael Pawlyn describes and gives examples of three habits of nature that can transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. “If we could learn to make things and do things the way nature does, we could achieve factor 10, factor 100, maybe even factor 1,000 savings in resource …

Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

This book is a valuable resource for architects and designers who want to implement innovative and sustainable materials in their work. Written by architect Blaine Brownell,  Transmaterial Next  catalogs sustainable materials “that redefine our physical environment.” Materials which not only have low to no environmental impact, but also deliver when it comes to performance and applicability. The catalog also exists digitally, as a …

How School Building Design Can Support Better Learning

A report by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) confirms that good design has the power to impact far more than appearances. After studying school building performance and interviewing teachers, architects, and academics, they found that good design can support better learning outcomes for students,  increased teacher productivity, and even make schools more cost-effective to run. “Our research showed that …

Read: Using Design Thinking to Eradicate Poverty Creation

In this Stanford Social Innovation Review article, authors Martin Kirk, Jason Hickel, and Joe Brewer challenge the  prevalent development project model for tackling social problems and call for a new, whole-systems approach that puts design thinking in center. “Right now, the question development organizations ask is, ‘How can we eradicate poverty?’ Good design thinking, on the other hand, would tell you to start with the more fundamental question, …

Book: Do Good Design—How design can change the world

“Some of us choose to pursue design purely as an exercise in the aesthetic. I know that simply creating beautiful objects or surrounding yourself with beautifully designed things can help create a fulfilling and comfortable life. However, that is only the surface of the potential good and sense of accomplishment you can achieve with your creative skills… Go further: recognize the …

What is the Circular Economy? This infographic explains the big picture.

As a designer, you have a critical role to play in helping the world close the gap on the unsustainable make-use-dispose cycle. If you’d like to learn the basics of the Circular Economy, here’s a great visual resource to get you started. Created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this infographic not only explains what Circular Economy means, it breaks down the key benefits and challenges, including examples of what …

Read: The Impact of Architecture on Wellbeing

In Place and public health: the impact of architecture on wellbeing, Karl Johnson writes about architecture’s ability to impact health and wellbeing; illustrating this fact through a story about the transformative effect architecture had on a tsunami torn village in Japan. “Architects play a critical role in shaping the qualities of our environment; they work in collaboration with end users and their needs and ambitions, and they have the …

Watch: Fashion Industry Innovator Paul Dillinger Shares His Story

Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co is challenging fashion industry standards and helping reimagine a new, sustainable design method and business model. In this video by the Aspen Institute, Dillinger tells his story about challenging industry standards, and his current work rewriting the rules for sustainability and design in fashion and at Levis. You can also learn more about Dillinger’s …