The Art of Sustainable Living

The Art of Sustainable Living. Discover – Understand – Re-Design New Concepts of Sustainable Living

How should we live? The Global Footprint shows that we are already consuming the capacity of 1 1/2 Earths. Therefore the way we currently live is no longer sustainable. The ambitious goal is to reduce our CO2 footprint by 80% before 2050; this may be possible through the combination of technical innovations and behavioral changes.

What should sustainable lifestyle scenarios look like in order to gain acceptance? Based on the living habits of the students at the partner schools, evaluated scientifically, designs for a more sustainable life were created in an experimental way, sending out signals of optimism. Underlying this is an expanded design concept, one that moves away from specialisation and toward improvisation; away from concrete solutions to problems and towards the demonstration of new possibilities. In the first phase, a scenario was outlined with the students that could represent Viennese/European young people and their families for the week. The assembled lifestyle building blocks were arranged using visual mapping and evaluated in terms of their environmental impact. The young researchers then investigated the real products, product-service offerings or initiatives that will help to make these lifestyles more sustainable. The “puzzle pieces” that are discovered were added to the original mappings, varied and optimised.

In a further step, a participatory co-design process was initiated in which the young co-researchers became co-designers. Moderated by the Institute of Design Research (IDRV), the “non-designers” worked with selected designers on a specific “intervention”. The goal was a bottom-up approach, which could be seen as an example of the respective core change area for a socially and environmentally sustainable future. “What is” was transformed into “what can be”. The young researchers developed the fundamental skills to think for themselves and empower themselves.

For the project managing Institute of Design Research Vienna (IDRV), an independent research team established in 2008, this project was the logical continuation of its activities on the subject of “Design for Sustainability” over the past four years.

This project has been completed.