University of Technology Sydney

84909 Product Design and Sustainability

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 84611 Integrated Product Design AND 84117 Product Design Communication B

Description

This subject explores the challenges and opportunities associated with sustaining and revitalising healthy ecologies on planet earth, at a time of sigificant environmental and technological change. Recognition of the importance of the present moment as a time of transition, and the need for design that can enable positive human responses to feedback from the dynamic systems that we participate in and depend upon, are starting points for a commitment to the principles of sustainable design. Students are introduced to a range of strategies to address the sustainability of designed products and product-enabled practices. The focus will be on the roles and impacts of designed products, including both whole-of-life impacts of the product's materials and form, and the roles played by products in shaping sustainable or unsustainable attitudes and behaviours. Through studio projects, students develop values-based product design proposals that can help us realise more promising relations within planetary eco-systems.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Display an in-depth understanding of the underlying sustainability drivers in context
2. Identify and evaluate relevant sustainability strategies for product design applications
3. Critical thinking on the use of sustainability strategies within different contexts
4. Demonstrate skills in the development, explanation and realisation of research-led product design responses to sustainability challenges in the current context
5. An ability to discuss and debate co-operatively and professionally with their peers on topics within sustainability

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrated engagement with ideas and learning (A.1)
  • Value for richly diverse and sustainable human cultures and environmental ecologies (A.4)
  • Ability to work in teams and in multi-disciplinary contexts (C.4)
  • Demonstrated ability for problem setting and problem solving (I.1)
  • Demonstration of aesthetic sensibility (I.3)
  • Develop reasoned arguments supported by research (R.3)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The term CAPRI is used for the five Design, Architecture and Building faculty graduate attribute categories where:

C = communication and groupwork

A = attitudes and values

P = practical and professional

R = research and critique

I = innovation and creativity.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs) are linked to these categories using codes (e.g. C-1, A-3, P-4, etc.).

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject uses an inquiry-based learning strategy that involves students researching and developing their own solutions to complex design challenges. The design process and strategies taught in this subject are relevant to current professional practice in a global context. Students work in collaborative teams to develop research-based understandings of product user contexts and experiences, drawing on material developed within and between classes. Individual design propositions that reference these research-based understandings, are iteratively developed by students over the course of the semester. Studio leaders offer ongoing, in-class support and guidance for the development of these integrated product design propositions. It is therefore imperative that students attend all classes. Regular verbal feedback is provided in class by peers and studio leaders. Feedback on collaborative work will be given via the SPARK Self and Peer Assessment system. More formal feedback will be provided by studio leaders in response to student in-class presentations of task-work. This formal feedback will be delivered via the Review Online Feedback System.

It shall be the students' responsibility to record any feedback provided in studio. During presentations students will be expected to actively participate in collaborative peer review feedback exercises. Students will also be supported by the level 2, Faculty Workshop in the construction of presentation models and/or prototypes. Grades, marks and feedback on task submissions will be provided through Review.

Content (topics)

Subject content will vary depending on design tasks, but generally, will include:

  1. Critical reflection - on the socio-cultural, environmental and economic contexts that create opportunities and challenges for environmentally sustainable design; and on the role of design in supporting or re-directing behaviours impacting environmental un/sustainability.
  2. Research - including prototyping and user testing of design propositions to gauge the likely success of particular product-based strategies for fostering more sustainable practices.
  3. Design - specific product or product-service system propositions to achieve more environmentally sustainable practices.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Project 1

Intent:

This task requires students to complete in-class group-work exercises to develop an understanding of the implications of material choice for different sustainability strategies. Full details of this task will be supplied on a Task Sheet available through UTS Online from Week 1.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.1, C.4 and R.3

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 20%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Demonstrated ability to actively discuss, debate and collaborate with peers to produce well presented in-class outcomes for groupwork exercises. 30 5 C.4
Ability to find, critically analyse and synthesise information relevant to product sustainability 35 4 R.3
Demonstrated understanding of each sustainability strategy. 35 1 A.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Project 2

Intent:

This task provides practice in using specific sustainability strategies for design. Details of this task will be supplied on a Task Sheet available through UTS Online from Week 1.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.4, I.1 and I.3

Type: Design/drawing/plan/sketch
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Demonstrated understanding of sustainability strategies for design. 35 2 A.4
Demonstrated ability to make material and formal design choices that will enhance the sustainability of the product. 35 4 I.1
Demonstrated ability to create value for a sustainable planet through pleasurable human interaction with products. 30 4 I.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Project 3

Intent:

This task allows students to develop a deeper understanding of how to use a selected strategy to achieve more sustainable design, through a full design process. Details of this task will be supplied on a Task Sheet available through UTS Online from Week 1.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

3 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.4, I.1 and I.3

Type: Design/drawing/plan/sketch
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Demonstrated ability to critically reflect on your own final design in relation to criteria for sustainability. 30 3 A.4
Demonstrated skill in the development, explanation and realisation, of research-led sustainable product design responses. 35 4 I.1
Demonstrated ability to produce a designed product that will be equally valued for its aesthetic qualities and its responsible approach to environmental sustainability. 35 4 I.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.

References

Faud-Luke, Alistair, 2010, Eco-design, the Sourcebook, Chronicle Books, Boston

Fuad-Luke, Alistair 2009, Design Activism: Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World, Routledge, London

Walker, Stuart, 2006, Sustainable by Design: Explorations in Theory and Practice, Routledge, London

Braungart, Michael, McDonough, William 2009, Cradle to Cradle, Vintage, New York

Thompson, Rob 2013, Sustainable Materials, Processes and Production, Thames Hudson, London

Hawkin, Paul, Lovins, Amory, Lovins, Hunter 2000, Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution, Earthscan, London

Benyus, Janine 2002, Biomimicry, 2nd Ed. HarperCollins, New York

Hawkin, Paul 2010, The Ecology of Commerce, Harper, New York

Muthu, Subramanian, Savalani, Monica (eds) 2016, Handbook of Sustainability in Additive Manufacturing: Volume 1 (Environmental Footprints and Eco-Design of Products and Processes), Springer, New York