From good to the greater good

Authored by: Anna Pohlmeyer , Pieter Desmet

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Product Design

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138910171
eBook ISBN: 9781315693309
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we outline why and how design can (and cannot) support the sustainable well-being of individuals and communities. Building on findings of well-being researchers, we first address the reasons why material well-being, as experienced through the consumption and ownership of products and goods, does not necessarily contribute to subjective well-being. On the other hand, products that are valued for the activities and experiences that these enable can be a profound resource for happiness. This discussion provides the foundation for an approach to design for well-being that includes three main ingredients: design for pleasure, personal significance and virtue. These ingredients will be detailed in depth and several directions to design for well-being will be introduced, addressing both challenges and opportunities for design theory and practice.

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