One of the aims of the master is to provide students with a deep understanding of the concept of sustainability by providing both an insight into today’s emerging sustainability challenges and the solutions that can be applied. The subjects included in this area allow the students to describe and define state-of-the-art innovations in the science of sustainability and understand the environmental, social and economic drivers and challenges of sustainability, their status and trends, and the complexity and interaction between human and natural systems.
“A lot has happened since 1987 when the concept of sustainable development was first introduced in the “Brundtland report.” The situation has since become more severe, new threats are now on the agenda and the complexities of the solutions have become more apparent. However, with better understanding of the problems, the solutions have also become clearer.
This course gives a deep introduction into sustainability. From understanding the challenges of the human-dominated geological epoch we call the Anthropocene, to understanding the solutions for sustainable living on a planet under continuously increasing pressure.
In this course, students are guided through the complexities of social-ecological systems, existing technical, social and political solutions and finally introduced to concept of creativity and innovation for change.
The course combines formal and non-formal teaching and learning methods. Lectures, films, videos, discussions, group work, games, role playing and field trips are just some examples of the crazy and innovative learning environment created by students and facilitated by the course leader.”
“Integrating sustainability into design introduces design students to a critical evaluation and design method for choosing materials and assembly strategies when developing products. This method allows students to step back and critically analyse the in-depth life cycle of any material, and therefore any product, being researched and hence the full socio-economic impact of design decisions. Each student will need to demonstrate how to critically identify and propose an integrated and sustainable solution for a complex product challenge posed during the course.
The primary philosophy and outcome for the course is to assist to transform the current throughput or linear economic metabolisms to circular and inclusive ones. Transformations are brought about by introducing value in recycling and renewable energies and, most importantly, by resource efficient design with the main focus on materials.”
“Nature can be an excellent ally for designers who want to incorporate in their work innovation, new and original ideas, expanding the space for the search for efficient, sustainable and regenerative ideas and who want to be surprised by natural strategies. Not in vain has life on Earth spent 3,800 million years devising and designing prototypes to survive. Now, thanks to new knowledge in biology, a new perception of nature and the need for change, we are beginning to have access to the natural design principles natural that make living systems function as an example for sustainable human development.
Biomimicry, an emerging discipline, attempts to understand these natural strategies and apply them to human industrial and education sectors, and even to education and social innovation.
There are already biomimicry products which have been tested and are commercially available, companies that trust in natural wisdom, universities offering programmes based on its philosophy and methodology. All of this will undoubtedly pollinate humanity to help biomimicry bloom in the next few years in numerous social realms.
The ethics of biomimicry philosophy also helps us reconnect with our natural environment to find inspiration in the spirits of the place. An urban park, a garden or simply a tree or an insect can, if we know how, lead us to a surprising catalogue of ideas to create better designs.
In our 2017 course we have seen how the toes of a gecko helped improve the foundations of a modular home; how bees improved an educational innovation project, and how forests inspired the services of a home…
Hopefully, with this introductory course to Biomimicry, our students, who are future professionals in strategic and innovative design, will have learnt to offer their clients the wisdom of nature, as well as making this world into a better place, in which we can all live harmoniously and respectfully with the other passengers of the spaceship called Earth.”