Special Issue on Design for Sustainability and Circular Economy

Closing date for submissions: 30 April 2021

Through its sustainable development goals, the United Nations provides aspirations for sustainable futures including those related to climate change and environmental degradation. Design activities, including but not limited to product design, digital design, design of production systems and supply chains for product realisation and through life support, design of service systems to deploy products, and design for the re-use of the resources at the end of product life, have a significant impact on both climate change and environmental degradation. Circular economy initiatives, where economic, environmental and social imperatives drive moves from linear (take-use-dispose) to circular (take-use-reuse) product lifecycles, are an important milestone on the journey to a sustainable future for the planet. However, they are insufficient because the implementation of circularity still results in environmental degradation such as emissions and depletion of resources, and contributes to climate change.

The extent to which a given product or service can be circularised or produced, used and operated sustainably is often determined very early in the design process, when design requirements are agreed, solution principles fixed, and materials and manufacturing processes selected. The goal of this Special Issue is to bring together research and current thinking on how design and design thinking might be used to realise circularity and sustainability. Consideration of how products and materials will be recovered over time must account for factors including the likely ease of recovery, volume, and quality, as well as infrastructures and the motivation of users to support this. With this in mind, we invite papers that address one or more of the following topics:

  • The impact of design and design decisions on the sustainability of production, operations, and use lifecycles (including green behaviours of people and organisations).
  • Sustainable circularity and design for end of life.
  • Opportunities for technological innovations.
  • Impacts of regulations and policy.
  • Consumer and organisational behaviour change to prolong use.
  • Digital technologies to support circularity and sustainability, e.g., to support longevity or to avoid disposal at end of life.
  • How new design practice accounts for legacy products and systems and whether new unsustainable lock-ins are created.
  • How the efficacy of design for whole life can be measured and likely outcomes assessed to understand the potential tradeoffs in circular solutions.

Guest Editors
Prof. Alison McKay (a.mckay@leeds.ac.uk), University of Leeds
Prof. Peter Ball (peter.ball@york.ac.uk), University of York
Prof. Ashutosh Tiwari (a.tiwari@sheffield.ac.uk), University of Sheffield

Manuscript Submission Information is available on the journal web site at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/design_sustainability_circular_economy

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