Assessing systemic drivers and barriers to sustainable design transitions: relationship strengths and research gaps

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Basereh Taramsari, Hossein (1); McFarren, John (1); Watz, Matilda (2); Hallstedt, Sophie I. (2,3); Hoffenson, Steven (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Stevens Institute of Technology, U.S.A.; 2: Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden; 3: Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0677-0686
DOI number:


The sustainable design transition has proven to be a challenging process, in part due to the diverse set of stakeholders, which includes the general public, policymakers, scientific researchers, and businesses. In prior work, the interconnected relationships among systematic drivers and barriers for sustainable design were identified and mapped using a causal loop diagram at a relatively abstract level. To further understand and characterize this complex system, this research aims to identify the relationship strength levels among the variables in the system, as indicated by previous research identified in the literature. In addition, the knowledge maturity levels of these identified relationships are specified to illustrate strengths and gaps in the literature. The findings are used to create a refined system representation that illustrates the power dynamics between systemic driving forces to sustainable design transitions. The results of this work reveal valuable insights about the linkages among the driving forces of sustainable design transitions that can be used as a foundation for further investigation, such as experiments and data analytics that can better quantify these relationships.

Keywords: Systems thinking, Sustainability, Ecodesign, Complexity, Sustainable design transitions

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