Design as a Catalyst for Sustainability Transitions

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Transitions towards sustainability need for radical and structural changes in the social, cultural and organisational dimensions in addition to technological innovations and infrastructural changes. Sustainability transitions have been a research and practice agenda for several decades. Currently, a new area in design for sustainability field is emerging that bridges the theories and practices of sustainability transitions with theory, education and practice of design. In this paper, we investigate the emergence and evolution of this new area through a literature review of selected publications that represent the current approaches of integrating the theories of sustainability transitions and design. We provide an overview of the current status of the field as well as a comparative analysis of the main contributions regarding their theoretical groundings, sustainability definitions/measures, framings of role of design(ers) and methodological propositions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS 2018
Subtitle of host publicationCatalyst
EditorsCristiano Storni, Keelin Leahy, Muireann McMahon, Peter Lloyd, Erik Bohemia
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912294-18-3
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventDesign Research Society International Conference - University of Limerick (UL) and Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) , Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 25 Jun 201828 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameDRS International Conference Series
ISSN (Electronic)2398-3132


ConferenceDesign Research Society International Conference
Abbreviated titleDRS
Internet address


  • sustainable design
  • design for sustainability
  • transition design
  • sustainability transitions


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