Critical Reflections on Designing Product Service Systems

Dewberry, E. L.; Cook, M; Gottberg, A; Longhurst, P. J. and Angus, A (2013). Critical Reflections on Designing Product Service Systems. The Design Journal, 16(4) pp. 408–430.




In response to unsustainability and the prospects of resource scarcity, lifestyles dominated by resource throughput are being challenged. This paper focuses on a design experiment that sought to introduce alternative resource consumption pathways in the form of product service systems (PSS) to satisfy household demand and reduce consumer durable household waste. In contrast to many other PSS examples this project did not begin with sustainability benefits, rather the preferences of supply and demand actors and the bounded geographical locations represented by three UK housing developments. The paper addresses the process through which the concept PSS were designed, selected and evaluated, alongside the practical and commercial parameters of the project. It proposes the need for a shift to further emphasise the importance of the design imperative in creating different PSS outcomes that reorganise relationships between people, resources and the environment.

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