Review Article | Published:

Beyond rationality in engineering design for sustainability

Nature Sustainabilityvolume 1pages225233 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

If you try to ensure long-term human well-being within the limits of the natural world, then you design for sustainability. This Review organizes research describing how cognitive biases can hinder and help engineering design for sustainability. For example, designers might overlook climate change implications because of nearsighted thinking, a bias which can be overcome by vividly imagining the future. For researchers, this Review illuminates needs at the convergence of decision science and engineering design. For designers (that is, all of us), the Review promises new routes to sustainability, through changes to decision environments and through insights into our own design thinking.

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Acknowledgements

This material is based on work supported by the US National Science Foundation through grant number 153104.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA

    • Leidy Klotz
    • , Morela Hernandez
    •  & Bethany Gordon
  2. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA

    • Elke Weber
  3. Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

    • Eric Johnson
  4. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA

    • Tripp Shealy

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Contributions

L.K., E.W., E.J., T.S. and M.H. contributed to designing, scoping, performing, analysing and writing the review. B.G. helped perform, analyse and write the review.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Leidy Klotz.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-018-0054-8