Design for sustainable behaviour

Authored by: Debra Lilley , Garrath T. Wilson

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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The global impact of designed goods and the role designer’s play in accelerating rapid, conspicuous consumption has long been recognized within the profession. As such, considerable effort has been directed towards reducing or mitigating negative environmental impacts caused by mass-manufacture and disposal through so called ‘end of pipe’ solutions. Less attention, however, has been placed on reducing the impact of use despite tacit acknowledgement among the design community that sustainable designs cannot reach their full potential without targeting user behaviour. Through increased focus on behaviour, and the implementation of suitably informative or persuasive strategies, designers can purposefully alter the way users interact with products to leverage more sustainable use patterns. This chapter provides design practitioners with an introduction to Design for Sustainable Behaviour (DfSB). This is an emergent field of design practice which seeks to understand user behaviour in order to drive the development of products which encourage more sustainable use. Integrating inspirational case study examples drawn from their own and others’ practice, the authors chart the origins of DfSB and describe its theories, strategies and design processes. Tools to aid strategy selection are introduced and key ethical considerations reflected on in relation to specific design phases. The authors offer practical advice on designing, installing and evaluating design interventions based on experience and conclude with a discussion of the current limitations and potential future developments in DfSB.

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