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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

DESN1175 Green Design and Sustainability

10 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Dr Mark Sumner

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores the role of the designer as an interface between the consumer and the global trends in environmental, social and ethical sustainability. The module will consider the broad nature of design, from the arts through to industry design, to identify how designers can influence consumers, organisations and society’s view of sustainability through design decisions.


The aim of the module is to introduce the concept of sustainability into a responsible design process. This is achieved by exploring the changing landscape of the sustainability agenda over recent years, by understanding the role and the impact of designers on the dialogue surrounding sustainability and studying the current theories and practices in sustainable design. The course will also explore how designers can play a role in influencing consumers, industry and society for a sustainable future.

Learning outcomes
Students who have successfully completed the module will be able to demonstrate the following:
- Understand some of the broad definitions of sustainability in a context of design, industry and society,
- An understanding of the key drivers for sustainable design now and for the future and the impacts those drivers can have on the design process,
- Identify the links between designers decision making and potential impacts on sustainability,
- An ability to assess and critique sustainability approaches used within different organisations, industries and communication channels;
- Display an understanding of the interactions between design, the consumer and society on sustainability strategies.


The module will explore the macro and global pressures that are driving the need for improved sustainability in all aspects of human activity. The definitions of sustainability will be explored by considering environmental, social, ethical and economic concerns. The impact and responsibility of design will be considered by linking these definitions with the key drivers that are defining sustainability for the 21st century. The evolution over time of these drivers will also be explored.
The latter part of the module will consider how the different concepts of sustainability discussed earlier will change the how design will be viewed and how the role of the designer may evolve.

The role of the consumer (either consumers of material objects or consumers of art) in influencing these changes will be consider as well as the growing importance of transparency that is being driver by social media and by legislation.

The final part of the module will consider how changes in attitude to design can lead to new ways of working and new business models and new opportunities for the future. The teaching will be supported by case studies from different aspects of sustainability including industry, art and culture.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours89.00
Total Contact hours11.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- Background reading and private study: 89 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via attendance at lectures, via an online MCQ and through the end of year examination.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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