I didn’t really have any epiphanies this week. The information we read supports a lot of what we read last week. The Needs article drives home the idea of function leading aesthetics. I think the two articles this week ground the goal of sustainability through longevity and good design through practical application methods.
The Max Neef Matrix seems like an excellent tool for designers. Over these first weeks of class, it has become very evident that the way we design needs to change and focus on more on meeting the consumer’s human needs over material wants. In the design field, I think there is a greater focus on an educated design process and sustainability. Many “in the field” are part of the conversation. This is a good thing to be sure because, as I believe, designers have a greater deal of power and responsibility of over what is culturally relevant more so than they even realize.
This ‘in field’ saturation can also be a bad thing, it can create a bubble. Designers are often caught in a bubble of designing for designers, as many architects do. They design to wow, but don’t always think beyond awards and publicity. If designers get caught in bubble of sustainability, they may start to believe the world is as passionate about change as they are. I thinking making sustainable design accessible to the average person and educating the public on the importance of change is one of the greatest obstacles to changing consumption. If we do not change the way we consume, we will be the ones consumed.
Many aspects of the way society functions are at risk of coming undone because we cannot sustain the rate at which we consume economically or naturally. Our climate is changing because of the unsustainable nature in which we live and consume resources. Climate change will create more severe weather, capable of destroying communities. Communities will be less likely to rebuild because of a lack of social resilience. Social resilience is diminished by the distraction of material goods in the culture of consumption and competition we live in.
Knowing designers have tools available, such as the Max Neef Matrix, to help them design for longevity, there is really no excuse not to try. The tools are out there, the resources are available, the conversations are extensive, and the movements are growing. I hope we move on to learn more about how to get the public involved; how to bridge the gap from where we in the design field are in our knowledge to where consumers are in making their daily buying choices.