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Design and Meaning

Date Published: 06 October 2011

This research adds “Personal Meaning”, understood as a combination of spirituality and substantive values (personal ethics), to our notions of sustainability. It expands conventional triple bottom line definitions of sustainability to include this fourth element (i.e. a Quadruple Bottom Line).

Personal, Social and Practical Meanings are brought to the fore, while economic issues are demoted to a secondary order of priority, thereby acknowledging their status as a means rather than an end.

For more information, see Chapter 13 of Walker, S. (2011) The Spirit of Design: objects, environment and meaning, London: Earthscan.

Design PhD Studies in this area: Prof. Walker is one of several faculty members involved in the Design PhD conference – an annual event offered in conjunction with Northumbria University. He is particularly interested in hearng from potential Design PhD candidates with interests that would fall within the broad themes of design for sustainability and/or design and human meaning (values, spirituality etc.), or who have interests in practice-based design research.

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