When a tree is also a multispecies collective, a photosynthesis process and a carbon cycle: A systemic typology of natural nonhuman stakeholders when designing for sustainability

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Abstract

Design research and practice is increasingly aware of the sustainability crisis. Various initiatives have started to argue for a need to acknowledge and accommodate the needs of natural entities and systems in relation to sustainability. Such more-than-human considerations have also entered collaborative and participatory design. However, there yet seems to be a lack of broad and systemic perspectives on which natural entities to consider when designing for sustainability. Therefore, we developed a systemic typology of natural nonhuman stakeholders based on empirical study in a garden and analysis rooted in the distinctions, relationships, systems, perspectives – DRSP – theoretical structure for systems thinking. Our typology suggests seven distinct types: individual organisms, single species collectives, multi-species collectives, life processes, living systems, biogeochemical cycles and processes of the atmosphere. However, our findings indicate that one living entity represents several stakeholder types simultaneously. This illuminates a tension between the simplistic and systemic view of stakeholders in collaborative design and calls for a shift towards systemic mental models and new theories, approaches, methods and tools. In this article, we present our methodology and the typology developed; then we discuss the potential implications of the typology on collaborative and participatory design and avenues for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD10) 2021 Symposium
EditorsJC Diehl, Nynke Tromp, Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
PublisherSystemic Design Association
Pages25-35
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventRelating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium - Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 2 Nov 20216 Nov 2021
Conference number: 10
http://rsd10.org/

Publication series

NameRelating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium Proceedings
PublisherSystemic Design Association
ISSN (Electronic)2371-8404

Conference

ConferenceRelating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium
Abbreviated titleRSD
Country/TerritoryNetherlands
CityDelft
Period02/11/202106/11/2021
Internet address

Keywords

  • more-than-human design
  • multispecies design
  • co-design
  • systems thinking
  • Design for sustainability

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