Emotional eco-modernism: Is using bamboo really enough?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Sustainability as a concept has begun to be more fully integrated into the American undergraduate design curricula. The pedagogies currently utilized in the design classroom focus on the more responsible use of our natural resources and emphasize the minimization of materials in the design of an object. They spotlight on the distinct understanding of metrics and life cycles as rightful key components to the education of a sustainable designer in the 21st century. This paper critiques these current pedagogies and further explores how the movement of Eco-Modernism [1] can offer a groundbreaking set of guidelines to teach more responsible design at the university level. Eco-Modernism also highlights manufacturing and materials but also includes the themes of: collaboration, outside, community, research, communicate, grounding, and creativity. Eco-Modernism goes further than existing teaching methods by mandating greater collaboration between disciplines that aim to create outcomes that are not definitively defined at the beginning of the design process. What is missing from Eco-Modernism and current design curricula, however, is the need to educate our students to also develop empathic and emotional connections to the designed artifact on top of using sustainable materials and processes. Effective design needs to satisfy needs that are functional (utilitarian) and supra-functional (less tangible) to ensure product outcomes fully respond to the users needs. This paper will argue that simply by manufacturing products in a sustainable material goes only so far in ensuring more sustainable products. An emotional bond to the product is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDS 69
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of E and PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2011
Event13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2011 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Sep 8 2011Sep 9 2011


Other13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Design
  • Eco-Modernism
  • Emotion
  • Empathy
  • Pedagogy
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Education


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