From a question that was asked during class lecture, I was able to make a strong connection between sustainability and emphatic design, which was only for me another theory among many others.
Emphatic design focuses on the needs of the users/customers/clients which are the central point of where our design revolves about. Empathy takes into consideration the physiological, psychological and cultural context while producing something meant for a specific population. It is sustainable along the design process for the system designer-client-environment as a whole. On one hand, it helps us as designers narrow down our research to the key important aspects, therefore better responding to the actual needs. We then save money, time, physical energy, resources necessary for the development of our design. For example, when we are dealing with a problem that is not well understood we tend to waste time, money, resources on unnecessary things that will not take you where we want to go. On the other hand, our clients are better served with an environment or product that maximizes their benefits. At the end of the day, our environment is favored with such practices.
Emphatic design should have been a long time ago part of any product design development. It is the foundation of a good design, which is not necessarily about aesthetics but about enhancing our quality of life while not disrupting the order around us. Developing countries, especially those in the African continent should learn to be more emphatic through the quality of infrastructures they build for their population which usually are not reflective of the cultural and economic realities, but an expression of inferiority complex through a copy and paste design from much richer countries. Emphatic design is about self love, self caring, self pride.