Sustainable consumption & sustainable design : moving sustainability theory towards design practice.

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Date

2013-08

Authors

Carter, Catherine Markham

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Abstract

The Sustainable Consumption Research and Action initiative, or SCORAI, is an international online dialogue between scholars and practitioners through discussion of current events and theories concerning sustainable consumption. In this research, I use SCORAI as a case study to identify current topics important in the field of sustainable consumption and then synthesize these topics with discourses and actors in sustainable architecture and design. The methods used to achieve this synthesis include analysis of existing foundational SCORAI literature to "ground" the research, data coding of primary SCORAI scholarly conversation, and participatory research and feedback with both SCORAI contributors and designers. First, a theoretical grounding in sustainable consumption literature provided a foundation to interpret data both as an "insider" expert and as well as an analytic observer. Next, building on the foundational insider, or "in-vivo," knowledge, a contemporary segment of the SCORAI mailing list was coded in order to articulate patterns and observations of relevant SCORAI themes. Lastly, SCORAI researchers and architectural practitioners participated in the research in the development and implementation of a focus group in order to identify what SCORAI concepts might mean to design students and practitioners. As a result of this process and focus group, I present two concluding lists: seven research observations, and another eight resulting propositions to inform future research and practice. These observations and propositions are presented in an effort to further understanding on how future sustainable consumption ideas might synthesize with design to address systemic sustainability problems.

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