Eco-intelligence: Designing for the Real World

Dewberry, Emma (2012). Eco-intelligence: Designing for the Real World. In: Garner, Steve and Evans, Chris eds. Design and Designing: A Critical Introduction. London: Berg.




What is design about? Partly it’s about stuff, the things we buy and own, but it’s also about questions and decisions. In designing it’s easy to pander to the consumption of design without seeing these questions and decisions. This chapter is about challenging our assumptions and habits. It’s about a new type of intelligence that has ecology at its core. The chapter suggests we are well overdue a new model of designing that focuses on questions and decisions, particularly those that promote quality of life for all and which build resilience in human-ecology relationships. We need to shift design thinking to respond to the problems of our time.

If you’ve ever tried to play a new game you’ll know how important it is to understand the rules. Well the rules of design and designing are changing and you need to understand these changes if you’re going to play design professionally. Partly the changing game is created by a new emphasis on ecological and social goods. It demands new creative strategies, new thinking even. We need to foster new behaviours, to bring about new ideas and actions, and to demonstrate what design can do for society today and in the future. Design is in transition and this process of change is illustrated through five short stories.

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