Learning the unlearned : product design for sustainability in China

Chin Hong Leong, Y.H.B. Lee

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


The teaching and learning of Design for Sustainability (DfS) is not any easy undertaking within today s well-established discipline of industrial design. As DfS learning emphasises unlearning the product-based approach, it involves the uptake of a set of design skills that, if not contradictory, are entirely novel, such as the co-creation approach, consumption-alleviation thinking and solution-based design, thus posing a challenge for most physically oriented design students. Because of the seemingly alienated nature of DfS, most design schools in China are having difficulty in promoting DfS teaching, or have been forced to put it to one side as a decorative subject within the discipline of industrial design, thus hindering its natural development within design education. In this paper, the authors argue that DfS learning is best begun from the unlearned practices of industrial design, and is best pursued within a local, social setting. Cases supporting this view are also presented to serve as a reference for alternative DfS teaching and learning approaches in and for China.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication[Missing Source Name from PIRA]
PublisherInternational Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9789728939793
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Design education
  • Product design for sustainability
  • Industrial design
  • Social design


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