Social sustainability is about ensuring human well-being and creating effective social and cultural development thanks to circular economics, in balance with the Earth’s ecological system.
The sustainability perspective that deals with the human aspect includes challenges and actions that concern different aspects of society. The design and its process has the potential to contribute in different ways. Examples:
- Visualize how a product, service, or process influences individuals and communities positively and negatively throughout its life cycle.
- Visualize reality in ways that increase emotional insight into injustices and problems.
- Encourage inclusion, equality and empathy as a basis for creating societies that leads to well-being.
- Force individuals and groups to find creative solutions to their problems.
- Contribute to creating safer environments.
- Problematize established truths about what we need to a live good life, challenge norms and by using design find ways to go against them.
The cultural sustainability perspective is about challenges and actions that affect how groups, such as societies or companies, express identity, and maintain and develop traditions, general values and belief systems. Here design can help to:
- Encourage and utilize collective knowledge and creativity from different areas of expertise.
- Building bridges between different cultures, contributing to common understanding across national borders and encouraging diversity.
- Give people hope and tools to find solutions to ecological, economic and human challenges themselves.
- Encourage people to change their behavior for reduced environmental impact and increased human well-being for all.
When design is used in the best way, people’s needs and prosperity are also met with reduced consumption of resource-intensive products and more sustainable lifestyle choices.