Sustainable Design: A New Paradigm for Engineering Education

Andrew Lau
Penn State Center for Sustainability
104 Eng Unit A, University Park, PA 16802, USA
E-mail: asl1@psu.edu

Abstract:
This essay rejects the notion that we understand sustainability well enough to talk about ‘sustaining sustainable design’. The wide-ranging literature is surveyed to explore the contested meaning of sustainability. What emerges is an evolution of the meaning, with enlarging scope and philosophical basis, from an environmental emphasis to a focus on human flourishing and caring. A definition consistent with the most evolved view is that: ‘Sustainability is the possibility that humans and other life will flourish on the Earth forever.’ Ideas are presented about how flourishing can guide design.

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