Education-based pilot project on 'Ways of doing cooking'

ProjectSustainable ways of living

Sustainable ways of living

In this project, we address the challenge of sustainable living and urban development through integrated design approaches to ‘social practices’, ‘futures studies’ and Living Labs methods. Through a series of practice-based design research projects around energy, water and food consumption in households and communities, we have been exploring and developing theories, methods and applications for design in reducing resource consumption. Design aimed at reducing resource consumption requires consideration of the socio-cultural complexity of consumers’ perceptions, actions and routines.

Consumer practices, such as travelling, cooking, bathing, etc., can be understood as sets of situated practices emerging from and constructing the needs and wants of everyday life. In this respect, practices can be seen as the building-blocks from which lifestyles are constructed. Such practices are influenced by cultural background, gender and socioeconomic status, worldviews and values, information and media, which influence peoples’ relations to resources, desire and ability to change. The study of micro-social practices thus requires and enables the framing of a common unit of analysis that can be shared by several disciplines, including the social sciences and design. Further, changing such practices to be more sustainable requires and enables futures-oriented methods that is shared by design, urban planning and policy. Experimental settings such as Living Labs provide an arena for transdisciplinary studies and designs of alternative ways of sustainable living, in which multiple disciplines, stakeholder and consumer stakeholders can be actively involved. Design is playing an increasingly significant role in such approaches to sustainable living and urban development, especially given foundations in experimental and action research within Scandinavian participatory approaches to systems development.

The aim of the project has been to develop collaborations among design practitioners, industry, policy-makers, and researchers. Academic partners include KTH CESC, TU Delft, Chalmers University, and the IIT Institute of Design. The project is built on experiences from a series of studies and workshops, such as the co-organized sessions on this topic at the European of Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP-EMSU in 2010 and 2013) and the Nordic Conferences on Consumer Research (NCCR 2012). It also includes educational courses such as ’Social Sustainability’ at the IIT Institute of Design (2011) and education-based pilot projects focused on ’Ways of doing cooking’ and ’Food Waste’ with students from the Delft University of Technology (2010-2013). This project is currently developing collaborations and applications for research on a Swedish and European basis.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology - CESC Center of Sustainable Communications, Stockholm.
Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, US.
TU Delft, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design, The Netherlands.
Chalmers University, Civil and Environmental Engineering department, Göteborg.