Design Pedagogy for Learning Sustainability with Communities

E. Persov*, R. Udyavar Yehuda, R. Kantor, E. Blit-Cohen, E. Sadan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This paper discusses tools and methods of learning for upcoming professionals to explore and understand sustainability in relation to people, neighborhoods and communities during the workshop 'Small is Beautiful'. The workshop has been jointly developed since 2016 by academic faculty in Architecture, Interior Design, Visual Communication, Design Management and Social Community Work from India and Israel. The workshop takes place each summer in India and Israel simultaneously. Students from the above fields and countries participate in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams. Each team is assigned a case study in a community where people live in dense environments and often have limited economic resources. Students are challenged with a design task and develop together with people in the community concepts that can improve living conditions in the specific site and might hopefully be scaled up to be implemented elsewhere in the world. According to 'Habitat III New Urban Agenda' the main tool for urban sustainability and resilience is the ability to design solutions that cover different scales, time frames and disciplines, all through a cultural and human-based perspective. Such solutions can be derived from communities in different cultures, living within limitations of small spaces, who develop intrinsic design responses that are remarkably resilient and suitable to the context. This forms a significant area of study largely ignored by designers. The research method is based on the triangulation of qualitative (before and after interviews with all participants) and quantitative methods, as well as design analysis of the case studies. The research suggests that a combination of multidisciplinary, multicultural and participatory practice is a viable pedagogical tool for sustainable transformative education. Findings indicate that this multi-layered design education facilitates the development of skills critical to the understanding of complex systemic socio-technological problems, and to foster the development of creative solutions viable for implementation in the community.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number032085
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2020
EventWorld Sustainable Built Environment - Beyond 2020, WSBE 2020 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 2 Nov 20204 Nov 2020

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© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.


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