19 June 2014 12:44

Design inspired by nature is an alternative to unsustainable models of economic growth according to a Lancaster academic.

Stuart Walker is Professor of Design for Sustainability at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and Emeritus Professor at the University of Calgary in Canada.

He explores the relationship between design and inner values in his new book Designing Sustainability (Routledge).

He said: “Designing Sustainability refers to ways of designing that emerge from solitude, from thinking deeply about something, from spending time in Nature, being heedful of its rhythms and drawing inspiration from its presence.”

In place of a focus on economic efficiency and GDP, he argues for designs that provide an alternative to unsustainable interpretations of progress.

“I suggested that, to deal more effectively with today’s environmental and social challenges, a new attitude or outlook has to be developed. Design can make an important contribution by creating conceptions of material “goods” that are based on quite different priorities from those that are common in contemporary consumer societies.”

His approach to design draws inspiration from nature, summons the human imagination and creates outcomes which are environmentally responsible.

“There is a need to develop design in directions that are far more sensitive to and respectful of the natural environment, not just for Nature’s sake, but for our sake too”.