Lately I’ve been trying to think of ways to measure the uptake by design professions of sustainable design over time. I’m particularly interested in architecture and product design. Obviously there are no official statistics collected on this question, so I’m trying to think of proxies that might indicate the activities of designers in this area over time.
Here are some of the proxies I’ve considered:
Frustratingly, even some of these proxy numbers would be difficult to find–for example who tracks all design competitions over time to compare how many are oriented at sustainability? One might be able to find an ongoing competition (such as the RSA’s student design competition) that takes on varying themes to find out how frequently the theme addressed sustainability. But the problems are evident. Some of the rating systems and professional societies might see their actual numbers as proprietary, or they may not have tracked them over time…
Another interesting question is how much university design programs, or design classes, indicate industry take up. In my experience, far more designers are training in topics of sustainability than can be employed in actual sustainable design jobs, so at this point I wouldn’t use university design student interest in sustainability as a proxie for industry take up.
What are your thoughts? Have you got any useful proxies for me? (It’s research for a forthcoming book on design and sustainable consumption).
I look forward to hearing your ideas in input — thanks!
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