Sustainist Design Guide

How Sharing, Localism, Connectedness and Proportionality Are Creating a New Agenda for Social Design

This book provides a framework for social design in the sustainist era, a perspective for co-designing a life-world that is more connected, more shared, more localist and more sustainable.
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Michiel Schwarz and Diana Krabbendam
Article number: 9789063692834
Availability: In stock


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Social innovation is experiencing a resurgence at a time when cultural boundaries are shifting. A wave of new social initiatives is coming into view worldwide, where millions of dedicated  people are beginning to “design” different kinds of living environments that are more collaborative, more socially just, and more sustainable. This movement is what this Sustainist Design Guide is all about. As the authors say: “It is no longer a matter of designing for society, but within it. ”This exploratory guide travels the new landscape of social design thinking and practice, viewed through the lens of sustainism -  a perspective that is seen as a new ethos for design.

The Sustainist Design Guide presents an agenda for social innovation, based on values such as sharing, connectedness, localism and proportionality, as well as sustainability. It challenges us to transform these and other sustainist  qualities into design criteria and include them in our design briefs.

The Sustainist Design Guide maps out best practices and explores how designers can become more socially and  ecologically responsible. It opens the debate on what it  means to be “sustainist designers.

Including 12 changemaking cases, ranging from urban farming and crowdsourced public architecture to collaborative crafts.




Sustainism implies new criteria for design, involving locality, connectedness, time, proportionality and sharing, as well environmental sustainability.
— Michiel Schwarz & Joost Elffers, authors "Sustainism Is the New Modernism"

The critical issue for any designer committed to the principles identified in “Sustainism” is how to put them into practice
- Alice Rawsthorn, design critic, International Herald Tribune.



Sustainism will drive the creativity of the twenty-first century. By connecting the issues of sustainability, social networks, localism, biomimicry, community, urban planning, food and a host of others, Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers offer a canvas on which we might paint the future of our society.
— Tim Brown, CEO and President, IDEO, worldwide design consultancy, USA


ISBN: 978 90 6369 283 4
Author: Michiel Schwarz and Diana Krabbendam
Design: Robin Uleman
Format: paperback with flaps
Dimensions: 24.5 x 17.5 cm
Pages: 144

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