Complexity theory as an epistemological approach to sustainability assessment methods definition

DS 87-5 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 5: Design for X, Design to X, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Nigra, Marianna
Series: ICED
Institution: Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Section: Design for X, Design to X
Page(s): 159-168
ISBN: 978-1-904670-93-3
ISSN: 2220-4342

Abstract

It is since the last thirty years that the world community has formally recognized the necessity of approaching the changes occurring to the social environmental and economic structure of society. Yet, the fact itself that sustainability has to represent a crucial shift for the architectural and urban design practice is still object of a debate characterized by contrasting positions. Despite since 1992, when UN released the Agenda 21 and called for 'better measurement tool' to assess the sustainable practice, the definition of an assessment method able to gauge the complexity of the changes that are occurring in our societies and to suggest management strategies is as well a subject of an open discussion and work by both the academic and the industrial world. This paper proposes the application of the complexity theory as an epistemological approach to overcome limits in the current sustainable assessment methods, and proposes a system to gauge and to value the complexity of sustainable architectural and urban projects and development processes.

Keywords: Sustainability, Architecture and urban design, Design management, Complexity

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