Sustainability History and Theory

A collection of resources focused on the fundamental theories and history of sustainability.


Dematerialization: Design strategies to use less material

Life Cycle Design: Life cycles being a part of holistic design

Community-Led Design Research: Collaborative design with communities & groups

Systems Thinking: How to think about your design as a contribution to a whole

Behavior Change Design: Design meant to change the behavior of the users


Design for the Real World

In this book, written in 1971 and yet more relevant than ever, the author gives us a relentlessly honest account of irresponsible design practices in the United States and their contribution to the surge in production of the disposable and low-quality consumer goods that line our shelves today. (Victor Papanek)

Summary of Book's Big Idea

Full text

Colonization and Design

Much of the academic and professional discourse within the design disciplines over the last century has been bereft of a critical reflection on the politics of design practice, and on the politics of the artifacts, systems and practices that design activity produces. Our premise is that— notwithstanding important and valued exceptions—design theory, practice, and pedagogy are not geared towards delivering the kinds of knowledge and understanding that are adequate to addressing longstanding systemic issues of power. (Decolonize Design editorial. Decolonize Design is a resource from the collaborative effort of Ahmed Ansari, Danah Abdulla, Ece Canli, Mahmoud Keshavarz, Matthew Kiem, Pedro Oliveira, Luiza Prado, Tristan Schultz)

Fashion and Colonialism (Slow Factory Open Education Lecture 1)

What Does it Mean to Decolonize Design? (Decolonize Design)

Design Justice

Design mediates so much of our realities and has tremendous impact on our lives, yet very few of us participate in design processes. In particular, the people who are most adversely affected by design decisions — about visual culture, new technologies, the planning of our communities, or the structure of our political and economic systems — tend to have the least influence on those decisions and how they are made. Design justice rethinks design processes, centers people who are normally marginalized by design, and uses collaborative, creative practices to address the deepest challenges our communities face.  (Design Justice Website)

Design Justice Principles

Resources (Video & Audio)

Circular Design

The circular economy is a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated. In a circular economy, products and materials are kept in circulation through processes like maintenance, reuse, refurbishment, remanufacture, recycling, and composting. The circular economy tackles climate change and other global challenges, like biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution, by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation