Paper: Published by Nordplus Horizontal participants Anders-Petter Andersson, Håkan Edeholt, Anne-Charlotte Ek and Anne-Marie Hansen, at the Engineering and Product Design Education conference (E&PDE) in Barcelona September 5-8, 2023

Summary: What should design students learn, not to lose hope, but be able to design in the current dire climate, energy and health situation? What can we design and still stay on track with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2030? What can we design in the long run, not worsening critical human and non-human systems? In the paper we question "good intentions" and business-as-usual approaches, to challenges facing many of our most existential systems. We suggest changes to the Design field's understanding of the SDG's. Further, we suggest focusing on several solutions at the same time, in local communities, with collaboration with others and design educations. The paper argues that a holistic and systemic view is required that rather focuses on root-problems, than the symptoms these problems cause. Based on a multidisciplinary selection of scientific literature, the paper shows how acclaimed systemic approaches often harm the health of both human and non-human systems. In addition, the paper argues that these acclaimed systemic approaches tend to suggest "solutions" that stand in the way of more realistic solutions emerging from supportive and social environments. One of the insights from the literature, is how individuals by reconnecting to community- and practice-based activities strengthen hope of better futures. In the paper we argue how designers and design educations, can act multidisciplinary, with others, to become agents towards the kind of holistically, community-based, and radical changes required to heal all broken systems. We suggest how designers can situate themselves in the responsible workshop of 2030.

Keywords: Design Workshop, Health Promotion, SDG, Systemic Thinking, Local Community


What did we learn from writing the paper and sharing it in the E&PDE community?

Writing a paper or preparing for any presentation and workshop is a good way to get to know each others perspective and ways of thinking.

What lessons did we learn? We had to collect the most relevant sources and projects and define a context for our Nordplus Horizontal network project based on what other people already had done and written on the subject.

What new thoughts and ideas did it bring us along the way? We developed Håkans idea about relations between human health and nature's health, and co-created suggestions for ways to look at development and design based on community and relations in table 2.  We also formulated ideas about the division between a growth-based model to a holistic model for health promoting ecologies.

What can we possibly use it for? We can use it for discussions across disciplines and perspectives. About what theories and projects to prioritiz,  what we want to continue work with and where we might differ and have different perspectives and priorities in the network.

Download paper here: Design Society, E&PDE 2023 Conference, Barcelona/Elisava School of Enginering and Design