A History of Design from an Environmental Perspective


Environmental Histories of Design: Towards a New Research Agenda” by Kjetil Fallan and Finn Arne Jorgensen

Design history and environmental history are examined in “Environmental Histories of Design: Towards a New Research Agenda” by Kjetil Fallan and Finn Arne Jorgensen. The authors contend that we need to incorporate environmental history into design research to grasp the ecological effects of design practices more clearly across time. Later designs will be more environmentally friendly as a result.

Throughout the reading, I found the article quite interesting because it presented fresh insights and perspectives on environment and design which  I’m passionate about. I appreciated the depth of research that went into the content, and the author’s writing style was engaging.

This article underlines how crucial it is for designers to pay more attention to environmental concerns.

The authors of this article highlight how urgent it is to confront the climate crisis. They look at how environmental impacts were minimized in design history. They assert that novel approaches must be used to investigate the connection between design and nature, resources, and ecosystems. With this strategy, they contend that historical design methods have significantly influenced the environment and, as a result, influenced future sustainable design solutions.

It demonstrates how design decisions throughout history, from the early modern era to the present, have frequently influenced and affected the environment. Examples include the ecological impact of modern consumer culture and the deforestation linked to furniture manufacture in the 18th century.

Fallan and Jorgensen’s writers advocate for a comprehensive view of design that considers the larger ecological system in which it operates. Concepts like planned obsolescence and non-renewable resources have influenced design approaches, and urgent change is required.

The writers also stress the value of multidisciplinary cooperation between environmental historians and design historians. It is essential to connect these domains to gain a thorough grasp of the environmental history of design to create more sustainable design practices.

The authors argue that including environmental history in design studies is crucial for both academic and practical reasons. Designers, educators, and politicians can leverage historical knowledge to create environmentally friendly design solutions for the future. This is done by having a better grasp of how design decisions affect the environment.

To sum up, an environmentally responsible approach to design history is necessary, according to the authors of the book “Environmental Histories of Design: Towards a New Research Agenda.” To address our urgent environmental issues, it is essential for researchers, designers, and decision-makers to work in partnership and to take into account the ecological impact of their decisions.


gmarmont says:

You have produced a valuable outline of Fallan and Jorgensen’s article. However, this summary remains quite superficial in its engagement with the core issues addressed in the text. Indeed, you tend to rephrase several times the same basic concept, which is only the premise for this article: that it is important to review design’s historical entanglement with environmental issues. You can start to further explore key themes by elaborating on your own observations: for example, what are the ‘fresh insights and perspectives on environment and design which [you are] passionate about’?

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