tr ans itio n to s us tainab le d ev e lo pment - Sustainable



tr ans itio n to s us tainab le d ev e lo pment - Sustainable
ISBN 978-952-60-0057-2 (print)
978-952-60-0058-9 (pdf)
to sustainable
4 th sustainable summer school 2012 • Transition to sustainable development
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
EDITing and layout
Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
Najine Ameli, Anke Bernotat, Bernd Draser, Alastair Fuad-Luke, Nina Gellersen,
gwendolyn kulick, Tiina Laurila, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedtke, Eero Miettinen,
Luzius Schnellmann, Paola Cabrera Viancha, Brigitte Wolf
Najine Ameli, Anke Bernotat, gwendolyn kulick,
Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen, Luzius Schnellmann
Mark Willard
978-952-60-0057-2 (print)
978-952-60-0058-9 (pdf)
Printed by
Druckerei Lokay e. K., Reinheim 2013
1. Introduction
1.1.Transition to sustainable development
Process and Programme
2. Expert day
2.1.Mikko Jalas / slow and sustainable: contesting speed
and busyness in everyday life
2.2.Satu Lähteenoja / From Global Champions to Local Loops 2.3.Milla Visuri / Introduction to liveable city
and world design capital HElsinki
2.4.Hella hernBerg / Everyman's spaces –
encouraging activity through design and planning
40– 45
46– 52
3. Workshops
Designguide and Methodology for Sustainable Design56–59
3.2.Sustainable Tourism: Travel, Trouble, Transitions 60–63
Concept: Reja-VU
Concept: Pop-up Suomenlinna
3.4.The aesthetics of simple living74–77
CONCEPT: Livable city
CONCEPT: Zufriedenheit
CONCEPT: the universe of things 82
CONCEPT: awareness colouring book
rediscovering happiness84–88
MINISTERY OF HAPPINESS – Embedding happiness
in government and public life
4. Participants and Partners
4.1.The Venue: Suomenlinna
Lucerne University
Folkwang University
4.4.Ecosign 4.5.University of Wuppertal
4.6.Aalto University
4.7.Wuppertal Institute
4.8.CSCP/Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption
and Production GmbH
4.9. Students
3.6.Reflections – The Advantage of Looking Back94–97
Photo: Luzius Schnellmann
3.3. Sustainable transition BY mobile services68–69
Concept: Connect
CONCEPT: Forage—Go Pick, Come Cook
CONCEPT: Story of our Stuff
The aim of the Sustainable
Summer School is to gather
design students from all over
Photo: Luzius Schnellmann
the world, to strengthen their
awareness of environmental
issues and enable them to
evaluate the quality of
Photo: gwendolyn kulick
INTRODUCTION Tiina Laurila // 1.1. Transition to Sustainable Development
Transition to sustainable development
Tiina Laurila // Aalto university
Helsinki was selected to host of the 4th Sustainable Summer School partly because
of the city’s status as World Design Capital 2012 and partly because of the original
German and Swiss Summer School organizers’ desire to expand the network.
Aalto University’s master’s degree program in Creative Sustainability arranged for
the Summer School to take place on picturesque Suomenlinna Island, a maritime
fortress located off the coast of Helsinki.
The special topic at the Sustainable Summer School 2012 was “Transition to
Sustainable Development,” which included the role of design in developing
sustainable urban tourism, mobility, well-being, and lifestyles. The Sustainable
Summer School enables future designers to integrate different aspects of global
responsibility into their thinking as well as their work. Furthermore, the themes of the
World Design Capital 2012 were integrated into the Sustainable Summer School: the
idea of the open city was represented in the workshops aimed at sustainable tourism
development on Suomenlinna in cooperation with the local Suomenlinna Society. The
ideas of product and service design and systemic thinking have played an essential
role in the workshops at all the Sustainable Summer Schools to date, and they were
again represented in Helsinki in 2012. The opportunity to work in multidisciplinary
teams with university teachers and experts provided invaluable learning experience to
students—who also enjoy the international and multicultural atmosphere.
Photo: Luzius Schnellmann
In addition to Aalto team, the organizers responsible for 2012 included
Michael Lettenmeier from d-mat ltd as well as professionals from universities and
research institutions, namely Brigitte Wolf from the University of Wuppertal,
Christa Liedtke and Najine Ameli from the Wuppertal Institute for Climate,
Environment and Energy, Bernd Draser from ecosign Academy for Design,
Anke Bernotat from the Folkwang University of the Arts, Gwendolyn Kulick from
Beaconhouse National University, and Nina Gellersen and Luzius Schnellmann from
the Lucerne University of Arts and Design.
To find out more about the 4th Sustainable Summer School:
Transition to Sustainable Development, visit
12 INTRODUCTION Bernd Draser // 1.2. process and programme
INTRODUCTION Bernd Draser // 1.2. process and programME
Process and ProgramME
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
Bernd draser // ecosign/Academy for Design
In late summer of 2012 Sustainable Summer
School participants met together for the
fourth time. However, it was the first time,
partners, and expert guests from all over the
world gathered not at the traditional venue
of the Nikolaus Monastery in Germany but in
Helsinki – the world’s Design Capital. The goal:
developing innovative ideas and concepts for the
“Transition to Sustainable Development”. But
what is the story behind this event?
There are currently two discourses of growing
importance and complexity that dominate the
present: the discourse of sustainability and the
discourse of design, both of which pose the
crucial questions of “What is a good life?” and
“What do we have to do to achieve it?” Since
2009, the partners, participants, and visiting
experts of the Sustainable Summer School have
been seeking to create the answers to these
Sustainability requires the complex premises,
conditions, and scope of a good quality of life
for both existing as well as future generations –
a high quality of life that takes into account all of
the ecological, societal, cultural, and economic
dimensions. Design is increasingly understood
to be a discipline that shapes not only surfaces
or messages, but entire complex value
chains, life cycles, aesthetic processes, and
societal interactions; design is developing the
competence for integrative solutions – especially
those concerning the difficult problems of our
global present and future.
Both of these discourses, design and
sustainability, are intricate and changing
discourses with multiple dimensions. As partners
of the Sustainable Summer School, we aim to
provide a creative environment for experiments
in the areas of design and sustainability
accompanied by an agile and processual
understanding of both discourses. We aim to
integrate the ecological and the social, the
cultural and the technological, the resource and
the time, as well as the aesthetic and economic
dimensions of sustainable design.
The core values
The core values of the Sustainable Summer
School shape our behaviour within the team of
partners, within the workshops and discussions
with experts, as well as our public appearance
as we enter into a dialogue with civil and
corporate society, the media, and politics.
As a mobile think tank, the Sustainable
Summer School creates awareness for the
complexity of problems, challenges, and possible
sustainable solutions, as there are no simple
solutions for difficult problems. We intend to stay
small and agile, for we believe in the growth of
competence – not just in getting bigger.
Our understanding of creativity is a space
of freedom and innovation for all participants,
but we also believe creativity means cocreativity, for we do not believe in patronising
people with our solutions. We want to empower
them to participate, to get involved, to become
stakeholders, to take action and responsibility
for themselves as well as for others. We want
to evoke the spirit of changing things – and our
bottom-up approach helps us to achieve this
14 INTRODUCTION Bernd Draser // 1.2. process and programme
INTRODUCTION Bernd Draser // 1.2. process and programME
mental Spa
Photo: Luzius Schnellmann
majorities. The space to develop sustainable and
resource efficient, high quality product-service
systems. The space to overcome obsolete
categories and fragmented thinking: exnovation.
In terms of their personal and professional
development, participants find plenty of
inspiration and unique opportunities to build
new and international networks and gain new
perspectives and knowledge while learning and
working in a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary
environment in close contact with renowned
scholars, experts, and representatives from the
civil, political, and corporate realms.
Participants learn to understand and handle
complexity, achieve knowledge of action, and
Benefits and goals for
Since 2009, the Sustainable Summer School
has attracted students in the field of design
and related disciplines, graduates, young
professionals, and experts from all over
the world to come and experience the true
meaning of sustainability while enhancing their
international commitment. This is the time and
place to develop a sense of places and their
local issues, to learn new methods and tools
geared towards sustainability, and to learn how
to quickly create solutions!
In this inspiring environment, participants find
the space to work out eco-intelligent concepts
and experiments and to conduct resilience
studies that can function as models for
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
We aim to create conceptual and visionary
solutions instead of merely filling markets with
more objects, gadgets, and shallow needs. We
offer a viral and experimental space to think
and practice sustainability that goes beyond the
same old paths and patterns.
We foster a culture of diversity that extends
beyond local, academic, cultural, and social
boundaries. Our culture of diversity understands
the diversity of approaches and methods,
of disciplines and areas of expertise, and of
academic and professional backgrounds.
We implement diversity within our dialogueorientation: the workshops interact in terms
of the dialogue among the participants and
instructors and by deeply immersing the experts
into the creative processes.
are encouraged to take action. And last but not
least, the Sustainable Summer School is the
perfect place to have fun and meet interesting
and inspiring people from all over the world in
beautiful locations!
Benefits and goals for
The Sustainable Summer School offers
the partners the perfect means of bundling
excellence with sustainability and design,
reaching tomorrow’s decision makers, and
forming a nucleus of future problem solvers in
order to enhance sustainability discourses.
By bringing together international students,
professionals, experts, and teachers, we are
creating a growing academic and international
network for sustainable design, helping to shape
our vision of creating a virtual design campus
that both features and promotes a variety of
tools, methods, approaches, and perspectives.
From the very beginning, the Sustainable
Summer School has chosen a meta-topic for
each year in order to attract a diverse group of
participants and experts. Changing perspectives
on sustainability guarantee a comprehensive
and diverse examination of sustainable
INTRODUCTION Bernd Draser // 1.2. process and programME
The topics of the first five Sustainable
Summer Schools can provide an idea of the
complexity of the approaches. “Value Through
Less” in 2009 suggested approaches of
resilience. “Societies, Systems, and Swarms”
in 2010 fostered systemic and transdisciplinary
views. “Managing Sustainable Design” in
2011 focused on the implementation of
sustainable design concepts. “Sustainable
Transition” in 2012 considered the processes
and mechanisms of sustainable change. Finally,
the 2013 topic of “Culture(s) of Sustainability”
suggested the exploration of cultural dimensions
from various perspectives.
Workshop programME – Daily outlines
The official program of the workshop
kicks-off at 17:00
on 25th August in Suomenlinna and
ends on 1st September.
The optional program days are 2nd and
3rd September.
17:00 The 4th SSS workshop starts at
Suomenlinna Hostel with an informal
18:00 Suomenlinna guided tour
19:30 Dinner, Restaurant Klubi20
21:00 Get-together and introduction
to the Sustainable Summer School,
Restaurant Klubi20
8:30 Breakfast, Suomenlinna Hostel
10:15 Exhibition and film on
Suomenlinna history, Visitor Center
12:30 Lunch, Restaurant Klubi20
14:00 Introduction to Aalto University
and Designwalks Network, Pajasali
14:30 Introduction to the SSS concept,
discussion, envisioning
15:00 Lecture on cultural sustainability,
Bernd Draser
15:30 Break
16:00 Orientation to the workshops
18:00 Walking and talking
19:00 Evening meal, Hostel
20:00 Discussion
8:30 Breakfast, Hostel
9:30 Welcome to Suomenlinna,
Camilla Hanganpää, Governing Body of
9:45 Michael Lettenmeier and Najine
Ameli lecture on Resource productivity
11:45 Introduction to Design Guide
12:30 Lunch, Restaurant Chapman
14:00 Working with the Design Guide,
Najine Ameli
15:00 Workshops
18:00 Walking and talking
19:00 Evening thoughts by Bernd
19:15 Evening meal, Hostel
20:00 Discussion
Tuesday – WORKSHOP
8:30 Breakfast, Hostel
9:30 Workshops
12:30 Lunch, Restaurant Klubi20
14:00 Workshops
18:00 Walking and talking
19:00 Evening thoughts by Bernd
19:15 Evening meal, Hostel
20:00 Discussion
Wednesday – EXPERT DAY
8:30 Breakfast, Hostel
10:00-10:40 Ferry trip from Suomenlinna
and walk to World Design Capital Pavilion,
Ullanlinnakatu 2-4, Helsinki.
11:00-16:00 SSS Expert Day
"Transition to Sustainable Development"
Public event – Lectures and
discussions: Moderator Michael
Lettenmeier. Director, D-mat ltd.
11:00 Introduction, Michael Lettenmeier
11:15 Slow and sustainable: contesting
speed and busyness in everyday life
by Mikko Jalas, Senior researcher
Aalto University School of Economics,
Department of Management and
International Business
12:15 Empathetic Communities or
Singular Super Champions? Sustainable
Lifestyles in 2050 by Satu Lähteenoja,
Researcher, UNEP/Wuppertal Institute
Collaborating, Centre on Sustainable
Consumption and Production (CSCP) |
Demos Helsinki
13:15 Lunch at WDC Pavilion
14:00 Introduction to Livable City and
World Design Capital Helsinki
by Milla Visuri, Tourism Coordinator,
World Design Capital Helsinki 2012
14:45 Everyman's spaces Encouraging activity
through design and planning
by Hella Hernberg, Architect, Urban
Dream Management
15:30 Discussion with the experts
16:00 Visit to the Design Museum
17:30 Helsinki Tram Tour
20:00 Ferry to Suomenlinna from the
Market Square
Evening meal, Suomenlinna Hostel
Thursday – WORKSHOP
8:30 Breakfast, Hostel
9:30 Workshops
12:30 Lunch, Restaurant Klubi20
14:00 Workshops
18:00 Walking and talking
19:00 Evening thoughts by Bernd
19:15 Evening meal at Hostel
20:00 Discussion
8:30 Breakfast, Hostel
9:30 Workshops
12:30 Lunch, Restaurant Chapman
14:00 Workshops
18:00 Walking and talking
19:00 Evening thoughts by Bernd
19:15 Evening meal at Hostel
20:00 Discussion
8:30 Breakfast, Hostel
9:00 Presentations
13:30 Lunch at Klubi 20
14:00 »Tandem« feedback by student
18:00 onwards: get-together, evening
End of the 4th SSS program
Sunday – Optional program
8:30 Breakfast, Hostel.
WDC Helsinki Programme or a trip to
Nuuksio National Park.
Evening meal
Monday – Optional program
8:00 Breakfast, Hostel. Check-out
latest by 10:00.
9:10-10:00 By ferry from Suomenlinna,
and heading to Arabia Campus of Aalto
University, Hämeentie 135 C, Helsinki
10:00-12:00 On Monday morning
it is possible to take part in a tour
around the School of Arts, Design and
Architecture, including a presentation
about the Arabianranta Art and Design
After these presentations, participants
are encouraged to engage in a
self-inspired walking tour around the
Arabianranta Art and Design District.
End of the optional program.
INTRODUCTION Najine Ameli, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedke // 1.3. designguide background
Najine Ameli, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedtke
Design is no longer limited to
questions of aesthetics
“Our perception of design is changing, for
design today is no longer concerned only
with aesthetics. Now the key factors are
interdisciplinary competence and approaches
to problem solving” (Liedtke et al. 2013a). In
addition to designing classical products, it is
increasingly applied to creating and redesigning
services, environments, experiences, and
systems, a process which leads to the design of
sustainable lifestyles.
Politicians and businesses increasingly
recognise these extended applications
and increasingly use design as a driver
for sustainable development (see also EU
Commission 2009, see Liedtke et al. 2013a).
Environmental Space
Trends such as a growing world population,
urbanisation, and increasing resource extraction
and energy consumption (EEA 2012, IPCC
2008) illustrate the importance of the concept
of a limited “environmental space” (Opschoor/
Costanza 1995, Schmidt-Bleek 1994, Liedtke
et al. 2013b, Bringezu/Bleischwitz 2009).
In general, environmental space refers to
the amount of resources we can use without
comprising future generations access. It needs
to be regarded as a creative environment for
the development of welfare and well-being
(Spangenberg 1995).
We know that resource extraction needs to
be reduced globally by a factor of two (SchmidtBleek 1994, 2009). “Since western lifestyles
generate wealth for less than 20% of the world
population, but consume 80% of all resources
globally, ways to generate wealth with some
10% of resources used now (or by a factor of
10 less) need to be invented” (Schmidt-Bleek
1994, 2000).
This reduction in industrialised countries
should be achieved without decreasing
individuals’ quality of life, but it will change
existing lifestyles dramatically (see Liedtke
et al. 2012). Today we use approximately
upwards of fifty to seventy tonnes of abiotic
and biotic resources per capita per year
(including soil movement or erosion) to support
our lifestyles, and this needs to be reduced
to eight tonnes in the future (Lettenmeier
2012b). Some individuals use more than 100
tonnes (Lettenmeier et al. 2012a). This change
requires a basic transformation process. We
have to design and experiment in our own way
while learning from each other how individuals,
social peer groups, and institutional frameworks
test and implement low-resource lifestyles while
increasing individual and societal quality of life,
develop status symbols, and tell stories that can
illustrate to others the overall progress towards
sustainability (Liedtke et al. 2012, Stengel et al.
2008, Geibler 2012).
Within environmental space all humans are
free to design their own way of life, or they
can “buy” parts of environmental space from
other persons if they themselves do not need
it. At present, however, all citizens of western
and emerging countries use more than this
amount, for they normally use two to ten Earths
to support their own well-being (Wackernagel/
Beyers 2010).
Sustainability Indicators
In order to achieve this goal of creating the
same level of welfare while using less resources,
most countries have formulated their own
sustainability strategies, for the common idea of
sustainability as defined by Brundtland (1987)
is very vague. The consequence is a variety of
different strategies and policy recommendations
for sustainable development within national
borders and institutional boundaries that create
a patchwork of indicators to support these
strategies (see Liedtke et al. 2013).
Depending on the circumstances, countries
prioritise different aspects of sustainability in
their agenda. For example, developing nations
focus on economic growth, which often is
measured in GDP per capita, while industrialised
countries tend to prioritise ecological aspects
in their sustainability strategies and hence
employ indicators such as emissions or material
Sustainable design must consider the
appropriate indicators and strategies in order to
successfully implement the service/product in
the targeted area.
The Designer as change agent
In order to reach the “Factor 10” goal
(Schmidt-Bleek 1994, 2009), it is no longer
enough merely to develop products that are
more efficient (Seiler-Hausmann et al. 2004,
Schmidt-Bleek 2009, Weizsäcker 2009;
Schaltegger 1992). We also need to change
consumer behaviour (Liedtke et al. 2012,
Schneidewind and Palzkill 2012).
Sustainable design thus needs to systematically
implement its own concepts by focusing on
consumers’ lifestyles, for social interaction
requires an appropriate level of consumption
(Warde 2005, Liedtke et al. 2012, Stengel et
al. 2008). Therefore, transition processes (Geels
and Schot 2007, Kemp and Loorbach 2006) are
necessary in several key areas.
As design now is considered a “mediator
and formative element in necessary transition
processes” (Liedtke et al. 2013), the designer
must begin to act as a change agent in order
to trigger these processes of change (Kristof
2010, Bliesner et al. 2013). They usually set to
work in innovative niches that have the potential
to overthrow established socio-technical
regimes. The multi-level perspective allows
designers to interlink a micro-level approach
with consequences at the meso- and macrolevels (see Giddens 1984 for a theoretical basis,
Howaldt/Schwarz 2010 regarding the diffusion
processes of social innovations, and Baedeker
2012 on regional learning networks). This is a
precondition that will enable changing patterns
of action to become enduring new social
practices and routines (Reckwitz 2002, Brand
2010, Røpke 2009, Warde 2005).
Consequently, designers have to start
thinking outside the existing box and focus on
“subject orientation (the person)” and “service
units instead of material products” (Liedtke
et al. 2013). This means searching for new
system-solutions to produce sustainable product
and service arrangements that can trigger
sustainable lifestyles (Schmidt-Bleek et al.
1997, Charter/Tischner 2001, Liedtke et al.
2013b, Laschke et al. 2011).
20 INTRODUCTION Najine Ameli, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedke // 1.3. designguide background
As designers have been identified as key
enablers for sustainable transition, there is a
fundamental need for applicable methods that
sustainability orientated designers can refer to
during the design process. It is important that
designers learn to apply the right tools and
methodology at an early stage of their education
and professional career.
The DesignGuide (Liedtke et al. 2013a),
edited by the Wuppertal Institute, is a tool for
designers that provides background information
and practical strategies for implementing aspects
of sustainability into design. It presents knowledge
that encourages teachers and students to actively
engage in sustainability transitions. It is constantly
in a state of user-integrated, further development.
The main idea behind the DesignGuide is to foster
designers’ intrinsic motivation to work in a systemoriented, inter- and transdisciplinary fashion over
the course of their career.
“The aim of this design guide is to provide
background information, an assessment
catalogue, and a toolset for the integration of
sustainability aspects into the design process.
It enables designers to integrate these into
their workflow through methods which support
and accompany the design process without
restricting creativity. The background information
enables a broader look at relevant topics. The
tools can easily be implemented in the design
process through combinations of tasks. The
toolset is composed of different steps that
change depending on whether a concrete
product, concept, or a sustainability vision is to
be developed.” (Liedtke et al. 2013a)
The different tools are based on a common,
modular system and mixed methods which
allow them to be implemented individually in a
step-by-step process (see Liedtke et al. 2013a)
“This ensures that the design guide remains a
universal catalogue of methods for designers.”
(Liedtke et al. 2013a)
This multi-faceted base of knowledge is
necessary to ensure designers are qualified
to make the right decisions in their present
and future development (lifelong educational
approach) (Bliesner et al. 2013). Once
we understand sustainable transitions as a
transdisciplinary learning process, reliable results
should be developed using active research
design, and all actors in the relevant fields
within a social system need to be qualified
and develop new competencies. Accordingly,
the Wuppertal Institute uses the methods
of “Open Development Scenarios (ODS)”
and “Open Didactic Development” (ODD) to
prepare research results for didactic concepts.
Learning modules and media are developed in
an interactive process with these actors and this
DesignGuide can be understood as just such
an interactively developed didactic tool. Finally,
companies’ needs and the developmental work
of designers in the R&D process need to be
better matched.
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
Designguide – a toolset
Products and services are a part of lifestyles,
and design must consider them systemically
rather than individually (Warde 2005, Laschke
et al. 2011). The focus must be on the services
that can stimulate sustainable lifestyles rather
than sustainable objects, because strategies
focusing solely on efficiency will never be
successful unless they are accompanied by
strategies to enhance social innovations that can
foster a paradigm shift in consumption patterns
(Liedtke et al. 2012, Welfens et al. 2008).
However, encouraging consumers to behave
sustainably requires their participation in the
social learning process.
The provision of knowledge in an integrative
and educational manner is therefore a key
prerogative when it comes to the cultivation of
sustainable lifestyles (Welfens et al. 2008, EU
Commission 2009). Such an approach supports
the design of socio-technical innovations and
promotes transition processes (Green and
Vergragt 2002, Rotmans and Loorbach 2010).
Design can make an important contribution
to transition processes on the path towards
the sustainable transformation of society. In
order for this to occur, we need the appropriate
instruments and must ensure the inter- and
transdisciplinary integration of these processes
of development.
INTRODUCTION Najine Ameli, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedke // 1.3. designguide background
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
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Photo: Najine Ameli
expert day
26 Expert day Mikko Jalas // 2.1. Slow and sustainable: contesting speed and busyness in everyday life
slow and sustainable:
contesting speed and busyness
in everyday life
The text that follows is a translation by Paola
Cabrera Viancha (MA) of the original Finnish
text by Mikko Jalas “Kiireestä, kellosta ja
kalenterista” (Of Busyness, the Clock, and the
Calendar) published by Gaudeamus in 2011
which formed a chapter of the book "Kaikki
irti arjesta" (in English something similar to
Stripping out the Everyday). Mikko Jalas has
reviewed the translation and Gaudeamus have
given their permission for its publication in the
4th Sustainable Summer School report.
Of Busyness, the Clock,
and the Calendar
Even though our amount of leisure time has
increased, people find themselves increasingly
busy. Many new products and services have
been designed to save time and make everyday
life easier. Fast-food, freezers, digital satellite
receivers, mobile movie tickets, e-transactions,
and the concentration of services in shopping
malls not only save time and make daily
life more flexible, but they also change our
relationship with time itself. Time becomes more
compressed. We end up having both more
free time and more tools aimed at easing and
smoothing daily life, and at the same time we
feel that we are all the busier.
However, the paradox between timesaving
and busyness does not alone explain busyness.
Generally we can say that daily life is hectic
because we now face multiple stimuli and
opportunities to participate in different shared
practices. In the market economy, our role
is that of the consumer, using and wearing
out products and consuming services. But
citizenship, too, is action. Political participation
demands time. Furthermore, maintaining social
relationships within families, local communities,
and circles of friends requires both participation
and sharing time with others. In our society,
plenty of activities are on offer and all of them
compete for time. Time-saving technology is
thus an obvious strategy for solving the problem
of busyness, but at the same time it is just as
obvious that it cannot be completely eradicated.
The relationship to time and its organization
varies greatly from society to society. Writing
about busyness, the clock, and the calendar
inevitably presupposes some positioning.
Considering alternatives to time and busy
life rhythms only makes sense in certain
contexts. I begin by presenting the generalized
time orientation in modern society as well
as ponderings on rhythmicity. I then offer a
revision of the policies of time and busyness.
Time policies that emphasize the momentary
and presence lead me to ask in the end how
nevertheless we could collectively think and
anticipate the future.
Photo: Najine Ameli
Mikko jalas
28 Expert day Mikko Jalas // 2.1. Slow and sustainable: contesting speed and busyness in everyday life
The structure of time in
modern society
The word “modern” has quite a number of
connotations. Regarding time and rhythms
in society, “modern” is associated with
mechanization, increase in the speed of
movement and life’s paces, and reduction
of distances. Yet “modern” also refers to a
certain sense of time, a way in which the
modern human understands history and
perceives the future while opening up paths
for progress and pursuing advancement and
change. Modernity entails however another,
more obvious understanding of time: not only
are time and industriousness valued, but they are
also traded. The markets for time are created in
modern society. Efficiency and performance are
increasingly measured as they relate to time, and
time has become a commodity to be bought and
sold in the labour market. In the formal economy
time is then traded as work. It can equally be said
that time is both commoditized and commercialized
as services.
There is a long history behind this transformation
of time into an asset of exchange. In his work
on the origins of the English working class,
historian Edward Thompson describes this
transformation, claiming that the birth of the labour
market, the more precise measurement of time,
and the commodification of time resulting from
industrialization changed people’s “orientations”
(1967). According to Thompson, before the
arrival of industrial labour, one could speak of
“task-orientation” focusing on the recurrent
fulfilment of life’s basic needs. In Thompson’s
view, task-orientation describes traditional societies
in which there is no clear division between work
and leisure and in which work is not performed
according to predefined plans but is instead
aimed at meeting life’s immediate requirements.
The new manufacturing techniques brought
about by industrial capitalism and labour markets
demand regularity and discipline, and Thompson
describes this phenomenon as “time-orientation.”
One precondition for time-orientation is the more
precise measurement of time and the diffusion
of the clock. Further, Thompson argues that the
puritanical capitalist ethos and the moral value
of industriousness were just as essential in the
establishment of time-orientation. Time and the
moral valuation of industriousness created the
foundation for workers’ self-discipline and made
possible the introduction of hourly-based wages in
which the worker’s disciplined and reliable labour
input was itself a commodity that could be traded.
Time-orientation is also linked to the image of
the modern individual, which emphasizes his or
her own responsibility and reflects the broader
freedoms and opportunities offered by modern
society. Discipline is therefore not necessarily
exercised by example, given by the employees,
the employers or the capitalists, but is instead
exercised in relation to the self. The planningand goal-orientation of daily life is about
self-development, and self-discipline to pursue.
Modern time-orientation can also be described
as future-orientation, in which the freedoms and
responsibilities aimed at the efficient use of time
subordinate the present to the future.
In modernity, each individual is granted plenty
of responsibilities as well as control over his or
her own future: individuals are increasingly the
crafters of their own happiness. Control of one’s
own life is deemed an irrefutable human right.
The busyness of organised life, carrying out
one’s own free will, and self-leadership appear
simultaneously as both a right and a duty, and
this is related to the individual’s various means
of managing, planning, and leading his or her
own future. Freedoms and opportunities make
modernity a flexible, speculative, and futureoriented era.
The rigid time structures
of the everyday
The rational use of time is a normative ideal
in pursuit of a decent and worthy human life.
However, our days are not as flexible as the
commodification of time would seem to require.
We have little flexibility in how we choose
our number of working hours, for example.
The same logic applies in many other daily
practices: you are either fully engaged or not
at all. Being actively engaged always entails
exigencies and consequences, which also
means that decisions related to time usage
are fragmented in both past and future. For
example, the decision to help establish a hobby
club creates responsibilities in the future as well.
Thus we can speak of transverse structuration
or determination of time. For example, urban
or inhabited rural areas and functional entities
significantly structure the use of time. Time’s
demands consequently constitute indefinite and
large entities which are therefore difficult to
manage. Oftentimes the everyday is not about
the rational use of time, optimization, and farsightedness but bare survival.
In this sense, busyness can be understood
as the opposite of flexibility and the rigorous
planning of time usage. We are involved in a
large number of different social practices, each
of which has its own time structure. In a family,
for example, parents are tied to the rhythms of
work, school or child-care, and the children’s
leisure activities. Furthermore, the everyday
determines weekly and yearly rhythms such as
those brought about by holidays. These time
structures can be rigid in and of themselves, but
in the everyday lives of individuals they always
form different combinations. We therefore live in
a situation with varying configurations of time in
which busyness arises from the need to engage
with and adapt to existing time configurations
defined by others.
Everyday flexibility is an essential feature
contributing to busyness, for totalizing or well
managed rhythms actually stabilize actions
in everyday life and eradicate busyness.
Adaptation to natural rhythms is an example.
In these rhythms practical busyness might be
necessary in order to finish the tasks related to
each part of a day or each season of the year,
yet unlike the flexible and general everyday,
such tasks do not create abstract busyness
and do not pressure us to make “the best
possible use” of time. Social rhythms can also
be stabilizing. Lewis Mumford, a philosopher
of technology from the United States, uses the
monastery as example of how humans create a
strictly regulated and clocked social rhythm of
behaviour for themselves that is independent of
natural rhythms. A comparable rhythm of social
life was created later for industrial work in which
the factory whistle and the watchtower regulated
human activity. Well-managed individual
rhythms or time configurations thus allocate and
distribute time. However, the modern society
of multiple options is a rather rigid welter of
overlapping time configurations through which
each individual has to make his or her own way.
British sociologist Dale Southerton has
pointed out that many researchers examining
busyness and time use tend to idealize earlier
societies, and Thompson’s distinction between
task- and time-orientation is certainly a part of
the same tradition. According to Southerton, it is
clear that life in England in 1937, for example,
30 Expert day Mikko Jalas // 2.1. Slow and sustainable: contesting speed and busyness in everyday life
was very busy, and families certainly spent no
more time together than they do nowadays. The
rhythms of family members were nevertheless
far more predictable than they are today.
Busyness per se has not increased, but the
hectic nature of modern life arises rather from
the need to coordinate and combine diverse
routine tasks and opportunities.
The clock and the
significance of the calendar
Shared calendar rhythms ensure our use of
time is predictable and enable the establishment
of routines. For example, Monday is a day
when many of my colleagues are at work, and
I can expect them to answer my emails. It is
equally certain that my friends will not propose
celebrating a birthday on a Monday evening
– Saturday is much more practical. Saturday
afternoons are in great demand, at least in
families with children, for it is often the children’s
only day without scheduled hobbies and leisure
pursuits. My friends surely know that I will hardly
get away from my family on Saturdays. On my
calendar, and in those of many other scholars
in my research community, Fridays are usually
reserved for reading circles, seminars, or writing
work. The calendar affords structured planning
of time usage and events in the near future, and
therefore it is the calendar itself that coordinates
life. Thus the calendar, when it functions as
intended, in part decides for us what we must
do and facilitates cooperation.
The capacity of the calendar to coordinate
social life has nonetheless decreased as our
use of time has become more flexible. The
previous examples apply only to a very limited
group of people. For example, work times have
blurred, and for some work comes in snippets
according to shifts. For others the variability of
work is self-created: “I’ll leave work as soon as I
am able,” or the other way around, “I’m working
today for as long as I can.” Others do not have
a job which might bring such routines to their
The transformation of Sunday into a day
of business and commerce is a new and
concrete example of the dissolution of the
calendar rhythm. Although such a change only
directly affects the time usage of a particular
occupational group, there are clearly knockon effects to other occupational groups and
recreational consumers. Given the fostered
freedom of the modern individual, it can be
argued that everyone should have the right to
determine the own calendar rhythm, meaning
that no collective holidays should be necessary.
On the other hand, it is precisely flexible time
that is the time of capitalism. A shopping centre
closed on a Sunday represents sheer waste and
idle capital; its very nature is to be productive
and active.
The weakening of collective rhythms
creates the need to negotiate time and
everyday practices again and again. Another
manifestation of the same phenomenon is
the need for allocating time itself. We seek to
keep time for the family, give it to our friends,
or reserve it for intensive work. In the following
I will deal with time politics, private and public
negotiation of calendar rhythms, and busyness.
Time policies and the slow
Our relationship to time has become both
a private concern and a topic of public
conversation. Time management is one of those
basic elements of life management by which our
social aptness is defined. Physical condition and
calendar neatness speak to the same extent
of a self-managed individual within an existing
order. On the one hand, busyness can reach
pathological levels: some are so busy that they
never get anything done. Over-busyness is a
socially acknowledged risk much like idleness,
extreme leisure, or lack of busyness. On the
other hand, we are fascinated by nostalgic
notions of the regular rhythms of past societies,
for in those societies time management
and working at the right pace is organized
collectively and hence do not constitute reason
for individual anxiety.
A number of political struggles focus on
time and rhythm. Most obvious of these are
the efforts of the labour movement to define
working hours, work content, and work
compensation. The labour movement have
indeed played an important role in defining
time policies and in undertaking and achieving
the reorganization of the calendar and the
shortening of work shifts. Nonetheless, it has
been argued that at present the movement’s
goals and demands have more to do with wages
than with work time. For example, Gary Cross,
a historian writing on the labour movement in
the United States, has pointed out that the
campaign for a three-day work week existed as
early as the 1920s. The 1929 recession and
World War II led to the stabilization of workers’
earning capacity and an improvement in wages
as the trade unions’ main objectives. At present,
the current debate surrounding the raising of the
retirement age in Finland has again resulted in
the labour movement becoming actively involved
in policies regarding working time.
A number of new “slow movements” are also
playing a role in the policies and politics of time
and life rhythm. Even though these are quite
modest compared to the labour movement’s
history and standing in society, Slow Food – a
pioneer of the slow movements – is a brand or
principle that many recognize and acknowledge,
for example. Following in the wake of this model
that focuses on food and its production, many
other slow movements also demand good jobs
for workers, a quiet way of life, and sociability,
and they also take a clear stand regarding
leisure time outside of work life. The movements
value quality design, architecture, and
gastronomy as anchors of time and enablers
for slowing down the pace of life. The obvious
subject of these discussions of deceleration
is obviously an educated and sufficiently
prosperous middle class, and it is precisely
for this class that a proper balance between
work and leisure and the meaningfulness or
aesthetics of everyday life experiences are
key issues. The slow movements also pursue
broader social criticism and argue that busyness
and the flattening of the everyday experience
concerns society as a whole. The idea behind
the movements is that a time policy derived from
individual experiences can better succeed in
fostering broader sustainable development and
social equality.
A slower pace of daily life is one way of
understanding the demand for moderate
consumption and a restrained use of natural
resources. The proponents of slow design
maintain that quality design has the power to
steer people toward appreciating the moment
and the multifaceted world of the senses.
It offers an opportunity to break away from
disposable culture, in which the flow of goods
and services is so fast that people do not have
the time to form a relationship with their material
environment. According to the slow movement
criticism, rather than being too materialistic
32 Expert day Mikko Jalas // 2.1. Slow and sustainable: contesting speed and busyness in everyday life
we relate too little, or too indifferently and
instrumentally, toward nature, our material
physical environment, and our own bodies.
Generally speaking, slow movements can be said
to raise the question of where and how we feel at
home, and in what kind of activities are we “placebound” – even for a moment – as opposed to
being in a permanent state of wanting, something,
new. The planners of urban environments thus
take part also in time planning and time policy.
Pace in urban public space is to some extent a
design question.
More radical expressions of the egalitarian aims
of slow movements are local time banks and
time currencies. These have arisen without public
control. In the international time bank consortium
there are already hundreds of individual schemes,
including several dozens in Finland. The guiding
principle of time currency is that everyone’s time
has the same value. In time-bank schemes,
services are exchanged in a way that each
participant can offer his or her own work, skills,
and expertise to the other members in the network
and in return receive suitable services from among
those on offer in the network. Money is not used
as a medium of exchange in time banks.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of time
banking is that it promotes our understanding
of the relationship between time orientation
and the structures of power. In time banks
people exchange their time and labour without
setting qualitative differences in terms of skills,
productivity, or value of work. It thus represents a
system that is similar to workers’ conditions in early
factories, in which the human body was just a part
of the factory’s production machinery and skills per
se did not really matter. The factory worker sold
only his or her physical manpower. In time banks,
interchangeable work contributions implement
the same principle, but the relationships between
people are egalitarian. For this same reason
manpower alone or the placing of one’s body
for another’s use is accepted and valued. Time
banking is based on an exchange relationship,
and contrasts with the time that is shared and
given in close relationships as demonstrations of
attachment and affection.
Who cares about the future?
Our modern sense of time and the multitude
of choices to be made lead us to ponder and
foresee the future. Furthermore, the time banks’
politics of time that seek out deceleration and
notions of everyday aesthetics unavoidably lead
to the question of how these transitory and
localized approaches are able to care for the
future. How, for example, could a prompt global
mitigation of climate change be possible if our
actions are temporally and geographically guided
by much shorter-term objectives?
The direct answer to this is based on the
slow movements’ criticism of continuous
growth of the economy and of consumption:
behaviour that is fixed on experience and the
present moment fosters, by its very nature, a
modest co-existence with nature. The paradigm
of slowing down life’s pace also constitutes
a radical proposition that challenges existing
power structures. Slow movements are
therefore also a viable political choice for those
who doubt the ability of science, technology, and
politics to anticipate and resolve environmental
problems. In this sense, the best opportunity
for solving the problems of the future lies in
focusing on ideas that are reasonable and
meaningful and on finding solidarity in the
present moment, in physical experiences, the
multifaceted sensorial world, and a limited
space. This way of working and thinking is a
radical deviation from that of modern society
and existing conceptions of time.
A more convoluted and modern answer
stems from the idea that institutions do the
planning on our behalf in liberal societies.
Think, for example, of how we commit to
climate change mitigation at the institutional
level, and thus adopt a future-oriented stance,
by which everyday life actions and practices
need to be assessed on the basis of longterm consequences. When climate policy
functions in the same way as imperative or
normative institutions, it simultaneously allows
for individuals to focus on the present and
appreciate the moments in their own everyday
life. Scorned, short-sighted, irrational, and
hedonistic consumerism does not pose a
problem if we can make far-sighted, intelligent
commitments as climate citizens every now and
then. On the contrary. For example, the concept
of “ascetic hedonism” used by the Finnish
environmental association Dodo may refer
to the informed enjoyment and stratification
of temporal orientations as different ways
of being an individual person. According to
this pair of contradictory notions, we should
simultaneously commit to limiting consumption
in light of a threatening image of the future
and nevertheless continue to enjoy our daily
routines – which inescapably also have need
of material conditions. The combination of these
two stances produces a new kind of political
actor who is able to appreciate his or her own
experiences, embodiment, and existence, and
at the same time distance him or herself from
them. Such a life consists of getting by without
a clock, the ability to enjoy, and an awareness of
time orientated to the future.
Everyday time is a multidimensional phenomenon.
Often it is marked by busyness, but the cause
for busyness is not only modern pressure to be
useful and effective. The use of time is indicative
of a powerful collective rhythm which “decides” on
our behalf what we should do in our daily lives. In
this case, busyness is not just an abstract, empty,
yet useful condition. A more plausible explanation
for busyness is our everyday adherence to the
overlapping of rhythms and the resulting need to
continuously reconcile and negotiate everyday life.
Busyness thus results from both the need and the
opportunity to participate in such rhythms which do
not give in to our own desires.
The resistance against busyness and the politics
of time have been matters of the labour movement
for over a hundred years. The new politics of
time are based on the observation that busyness
cannot be combated merely by shortening working
hours, for the imperatives to consume and to
participate also drive free time, for instance. The
new slow movements are by nature “middle-class,”
as they stress the moderation of both work and
consumption. Rhythm, busyness, and slowness
are themes which continue to lead to a radical
criticism of society and renewed calls for equality.
What can individuals do to tame busyness and
to support the management of their own time and
life? One of the main claims of this contribution is
that busyness and the imperative to make oneself
useful are ideological notions that permeate
society as a whole. Can these be opposed? In my
opinion it is clear that busyness has to be resisted
in many different simultaneous ways. We should
be able to modify our lifestyles in such a way
that we can function with and simply live on less.
At the same time we should collectively be able
to ensure our flexible participation in the labour
34 Expert day Mikko Jalas // 2.1. Slow and sustainable: contesting speed and busyness in everyday life
market and individually learn to live by working
part-time and irregularly. However, we should also
understand and deconstruct the ways in which
we are coerced by the market economy into (the
imperatives of) participating and being useful. This
requires the ability to examine needs and also a
form of social environment in which the present
moment is sufficiently valued. In this manner,
agency is returned to the individual, and we need
not be the mere recipients of services produced
by the market. The round table of the Slow Food
movement, where food is prepared, eaten, and
conversation about food and politics happens, is
a fitting image. The setting, and the sitting, last
all night, of course.
Jalas, M. (2011). Kiireestä, kellosta ja kalenterista [Of busyness,
the clock and the calendar (P. Cabrera V., Trans., 2013)]. In
L. C. Andersson, I. Hetemäki, R. Mustonen & A. Sihvola (Eds.),
Kaikki irti arjesta, pp. 105-118. Helsinki, Finland: Gaudeamus.
Sources and further reading
Cross, G. (1993). Time and Money: The Making of Consumer
Culture. London, England: Routledge.
Mumford, L. (1963). Technics and Civilization. San Diego,
California, USA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (Originally published
in 1934).
Southerton, D. (2009). “Re-ordering Temporal Rhythms. Coordinating Daily Practices in the UK in 1937 and 2000.” In: E.
Shove, F. Trentmann, and R. Wilk (eds.), Time, Consumption
and Everyday life. Practice, Materiality and Culture (pp. 49–63).
Oxford, England: Berg.
Thompson, E. P. (1974). “Time, Work-discipline, and Industrial
Capitalism.” In M. W. Flinn and T. C. Smout (eds.), Essays
in Social History (pp. 39–77). Oxford, England: Clarendon
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
36 Expert day Satu Lähteenoja // 2.2. From Global Champions to Local Loops
From Global Champions to Local Loops
Satu Lähteenoja // researcher, Demos Helsinki
Imagine your life thirty-seven years from now.
Imagine life in a sustainable world in which we
have achieved One Planet Living. What does
your life look like? What are the things you
can’t live without? What does your surrounding
environment look like? What do people eat and
where are the best places for an ice cream on
a hot day? Do people even eat ice cream any
Difficult to imagine, isn’t it? That’s why we
created four potential future scenarios that
examine what sustainable lifestyles can look like
in 2050 as well as the pathways leading towards
them. Our scenarios are neither predictions
nor forecasts, but they instead seek to explore
the most extreme possibilities in order to help
policy makers and designers, for example, to
think what is now “unthinkable”. Our scenarios
present different options for sustainable living
choices across Europe.
Singular super champions
Governing the commons
In the scenario Singular Super Champions,
Europe has made the leap to a new type of
sustainable, competitive, and equitable economy
as a result of the enactment of numerous
treaties, declarations and official goals beginning
in 2035. Clean technology and upcycling
businesses flourish as sustainability becomes
the business opportunity of the century. The
Europe of Singular Super Champions is a
society that celebrates an ethos based on
learning, achieving, and self-mastery.
Governing the Commons is a scenario primarily
based in digital reality. Ubiquitous computing
enables the smart use of resources and
simultaneously redirects people’s behaviour
and attention from material consumption to
interaction in the digital realm. People abandon
many of the twentieth century’s institutions,
liberate themselves in order to lead more
meaningful lives, and engage in new forms of
Local Loops
Empathetic Communities
Local Loops is a scenario in which a radical
energy crisis forces societies to fundamentally
re-evaluate the foundations of their own
well-being. Energy and resource systems
are increasingly seen though “Local Loops”,
a technical concept that can be applied in
the context of local and regional production
cycles. People build their lifestyle and ways of
belonging around their work. A new ethos of
craftsmanship and professional communities
shape the way people live, organise their work,
and spend their leisure time.
Empathetic Communities is a scenario in
which Western societies face the crisis they
had long dreaded and discover the change
turned out to be easier and more fruitful than
anyone had expected. It is a story in which the
global economy as we know it fails in 2012
and is followed by the paralysis of nation states
and their political decision-making structures.
By 2050 this all leads to lifestyles in which
communities and neighbourhoods have an
important role in everyday life. In Empathetic
Communities, the many fruits of global culture
and the latest technological innovations are
enjoyed, although people in general focus more
on communicating and developing solutions at
the local level.
Find out more at:
Photo: Gwendolyn Kulick
38 Expert day Satu Lähteenoja // 2.2. From Global Champions to Local Loops
40 Expert day Milla Visuri // 2.3. Introduction to liveable city and world design capital HElsinkI
Introduction to liveable city and
world design capital HElsinki
Milla Visuri // By Paola Cabrera Viancha
On Milla Visuri’s presentation “Liveable City and
World Design Capital Helsinki 2012”
By Paola Cabrera Viancha (MA)
(Design, cultural management)
Milla Visuri describes herself as a FinnishSwedish tourism specialist working with food
and experiences of place, with over ten years
of experience in tourism, destination marketing,
communication, and development in the Nordic
region. Her work allows her to share her insight
and provides a position from where she can
share valuable stories with various audiences
using her knowledge and inspiration – including
that gained during her involvement in World
Design Capital (WDC) Helsinki from 2011 to
2012. Milla believes that communications and
marketing today are more about content and
less about campaigns and advertising. Milla is
active in New Nordic Food Culinary Tourism
and Food & Creative Industries, two intergovernmental programs aimed at developing and
promoting the food sector in the Nordic region.
She is also a member of the newly founded
Helsinki Foodism, an online food community
promoting Helsinki as a culinary destination.
Milla was invited to the 4th Sustainable
Summer School to share her views on the
concept of liveable cities as they relate to
urban tourism and the approach taken by
the organizers of the World Design Capital
Helsinki 2012. As a member of the marketing
communications team, her tasks included
coordinating tourism marketing communications
as well as operational marketing planning
together with local tourist and congress offices
in the five WDC member cities of Helsinki,
Vantaa, Espoo, Kauniainen, and Lahti. Here I
review Milla’s main points while expanding upon
other issues.
Milla spoke about the concept of liveability in
relation to urban conglomerates and tourism.
Due to time limitations and the narrower focus
of the presentation, the concepts of liveability,
wellbeing, or quality of life as such were not
discussed during the presentation. Milla touched
upon Andreas Reiter’s views on the evolution
of destination marketing; the ideas of this
self-described future researcher and leisuretrend expert can be explored the English article
titled “Liveable City – Sustainable Quality of
Life as Success Driver for Urban Branding,” in
which he explains how the strategic focus of
urban branding has developed in recent years
beginning with the “festivalization” of the early
2000s with its “theme cities,” “festival cities,”
and, finally “creative cities” before moving
toward the current growing focus on “the
liveable city” (Reiter, 2012, p. 71). Placing the
concepts of “liveable city” and “sustainable life
quality” on equal footing, he claims that as cities
continue to rival one another, sustainable urban
quality of life is increasingly becoming a key
factor of competitiveness. “[T]he significance
of quality of life for place-making and placebranding doesn’t come out of nowhere but from
the slipstream of a shift in values in our western
society,” Reiter explains (p. 73).
Reiter believes that despite the varied
approaches in defining quality of life, research
and surveys in the field often indicate that
both quantitative and qualitative indicators as
well as objective and subjective valuations are
considered. In the context of urban branding,
the author refers to the quality of life of a
location as “the sum of external, objective
conditions subjectively perceived, such as
life satisfaction and one’s own well-being”
(Pechlaner, Innerhofer, and Bachinger [in
German], 2010, cited by Reiter, 2012, p. 72).
In practice, when a city offers a desirable quality
of life to its residents, then it naturally does so
for tourists as well: “visitors will only feel happy
where locals also do” (Reiter, 2012, p. 72).
Regarding happiness in particular, an
increasing number of organizations at the
national and international level that influence
policy-making are catching up: on the first
United Nations International Day of Happiness
in 2013, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released
the OECD "Guidelines on Measuring Subjective
Well-being", which represent a “first step
towards developing a consistent framework
for measuring how people are feeling. . . . We
may be a long way from being able to measure
happiness with the same degree of international
comparability that we have for GDP, but the
new OECD Guidelines are an important step
towards international recognition that how we
feel is an important part of measuring whether
better policies are delivering better lives”
(n.d.). Other organizations, such as the New
Economics Foundation (nef), an independent
think-and-do tank, have taken a leading role
in the discussion. Since 1986 the members
of nef have been working on “economics as if
people and the Planet mattered” and “inspiring
and demonstrating real economic well-being”.
One of their important initiatives is the Happy
Planet Index, “the leading global measure
of sustainable well-being” first released in
2006 (n.d.).
Milla mentioned three of the rankings referred
to by Reiter (2012) for rating quality of life in
cities around the world: Monocle’s Global Quality
of Life Survey (formerly known as the Liveable
Cities Index); the Economist Intelligence Unit’s
(EIU) Global Liveability Ranking and Overview;
and Mercer Quality of Living Survey. “These
rankings are used by cities as an important
marketing tool and also for benchmarking
despite their debatable logic of evaluation,”
Reiter explains (2012, p. 72). Whereas Monocle
publishes its ranking in its lifestyle magazine
among its offerings on international affairs,
business, design, and culture, the other two
rankings are aimed at employers as aid in
establishing hardship allowances, benefits, and
incentives to their mobile workforces. In this
respect, on its website the EIU (n.d.) states that
while this “function is still a central potential use
of the survey, it has also evolved as a broad
means of benchmarking cities. This means that
liveability is increasingly used by city councils,
organizations or corporate entities looking to
test their locations against others to see general
areas where liveability can differ.” Similarly
Mercer (2012) explains how the company “helps
municipalities assess factors that can improve
their quality-of-living rankings”, while describing
how “[t]he information and data obtained
through the Quality of Living reports are for
information purposes only and are intended for
42 Expert day Milla Visuri // 2.3. Introduction to liveable city and world design capital HElsinkI
use by multinational organizations, government
agencies and municipalities. They are not
designed or intended to use as the basis for
foreign investment or tourism.”
To quote the providers on their ranking criteria:
• The elusive alchemy that makes a good city
a great place to live is something we’ve been
dedicated to understanding since Monocle
began. Great cities adapt and change like
their residents. . . . [W]e present our top 25
. . . . cities for living, working, late nights
and fresh starts in our Global Quality of Life
Survey (Monocle’s webpages, several dates).
• The Liveability Ranking and Overview
assesses living conditions in 140 cities around
the world. A rating of relative comfort for
30 indicators is assigned across five broad
categories: stability; healthcare; culture and
environment; education; and infrastructure.
The survey gives an overall rating of 0-100,
where 1 is intolerable and 100 is ideal (EIU,
• Mercer evaluates local living conditions in
more than 460 cities it surveys worldwide.
We analyse living conditions according
to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories
(Political and social environment, Economic
environment, Socio-cultural environment,
Medical and health considerations,
Schools and education, Public services
and transportation, Recreation, Consumer
goods, Housing, Natural environment)
(Mercer, 2012).
According to Monocle, Helsinki was ranked fifth
in 2010, first in 2011, second in 2012, and
third in 2013. Mercer ranked Helsinki thirty-fifth
in 2011 and thirty-second in 2012 showing,
and in 2011 the city was second in the category
Personal Safety and eighteenth in Infrastructure
in 2012. According to the Economist, Helsinki
was sixth in 2011 and eight in both 2012 and
2013. Milla touched upon the fact that these
quality of life assessments refer in particular to
how Helsinki has performed in recent years, and
also to point out how "liveability" and "quality of
life" are increasingly being used in the marketing
of tourism destinations.
Quality of life is – or should be – a
fundamental aspect of design in general as well
as the WDC – an initiative of the International
Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid).
WDC is a biennial “city promotion project”
which “seeks to highlight the accomplishments
of cities that are truly leveraging design as
a tool to improve the social, cultural and
economic life of cities, throughout a yearlong
programme of design-related events” while
seeking “to maximise opportunities arising
from multidisciplinary design collaboration”
(Icsid, n.d.) (Icsid owns the rights to the WDC
trademark). According to Milla, during an
application period open for those interested in
becoming part of the WDC Helsinki program,
the organisation received 2,500 ideas from the
public, in specific Open Helsinki theme days, as
well as 1,400 proposals, some of them aimed
at already existing projects. Eventually these
were crystallized into a program consisting of
nearly 400 projects and around 100 events and
In the context of WDC, Helsinki is described
as an open city for both locals and visitors
alike. Hence the WDC Helsinki 2012 motto
of “Open Helsinki: Embedding Design in Life”
and Helsinki City’s motto “Our City is Your
City”. Reiter (2012) emphasizes: “Visitors only
feel well where locals also do” (p. 73). Milla
brought up Reiter’s 4 As criteria and liveability
criteria, considered in the development of the
content of WDC Helsinki in terms of program
and projects related to tourism; according to
Reiter, “Attractions”, “Amenities”, “Access”,
and “Authenticity”, are the “key components
of the (touristic) urban adventure economy”
and guarantors of the increasing expectation
of diversity and uniqueness for a particular
destination (2012, p. 69).
According to Reiter (2012), there are three
main city-related aspirations for visitors, “Live
like a Local,” “Interaction with [and appropriation
of] Public Space” and “Green City” (pp. 74–76).
These are, or can be, met in multiple ways, but
they always require concrete action, especially
strategic actions, at the governmental level:
“Cities have to hold out enough leeway (mental
and juridical) and especially show good will
politics to urban subcultures. Creating a young
image and attracting young talents, be they
tourists or residents, can only be achieved with
openness towards new trends” (p. 75). “A new
generation of urbanites is searching for the
specific feel-good factor of a city, which mixes
creativity with green lifestyle, local authenticity
with sustainable innovation” (p. 76). Milla
listed Reiter’s characteristics (from an internal
document) of “a new generation of creative
• Living like a local, interaction with locals and
all things local
• City-travellers = experience-junkies
• Trend-spotting
• Lifestyle-markers
• Key values: easy-going attitude, community,
inspiration, sustainability, self-experience
• Social spheres (everyday culture, social life)
• Eco-spheres (green living, green lifestyle)
• Urban spheres (urban storytelling, modern
urbanity interacting with public place,…)
Milla spoke briefly about several projects
selected to be part of the program of WDC
Helsinki 2012 as examples of specific actions
and projects making Helsinki more attractive
and valuable to these “new generations of
urbanites” and “creative travellers” described
above. A list of examples with internet links can
be found in the sources section.
Regarding the seemingly easy entertainment
and pleasures that were called into question
by Bernd Draser (from Ecosign, workshop
leader) at the 4th Sustainable Summer School
Expert Day session, perhaps we can point to
the current shift in values mentioned in the first
paragraphs. It can be said that such a shift is
influenced by increased mainstream discussion
of the various articulations of the notions
of “quality of life”, “well-being”, “liveability”,
and “sustainability” as well as by increased
awareness of the research and initiatives being
done in these fields. To a greater or lesser
extent, citizens, communities, and governments
are interested in improving the (dis)balance
between the economic, ecological, social, and
cultural dimensions of life and aim to revise
the criteria and rationales for decision-making
processes. There are still many questions to
ask “about the relationship between people
and their everyday urban environments: about
how urban environmental quality is understood
and experienced; . . . about the way that policy
engages with people and their behaviours
and practices; about how concepts such
as sustainability, quality and wellbeing are
configured within the idea of urban liveability;
about how movements of people and artefacts
shape and are shaped by urban form and the
effects of this on sustainability and wellbeing;
about the role of urban design in creating
a sense of place and identity and what this
44 Expert day Milla Visuri // 2.3. Introduction to liveable city and world design capital HElsinkI
means for producing liveable places; about how
social practices are configured in urban policy”
(Adams, n.d.). These are the questions currently
being researched at the University of Salford,
Manchester; the study, "Urban liveability:
sustainability, quality of life and wellbeing",
is one example of how new approaches are
needed in order for us to better understand the
ways in which urban liveability is defined and
One fundamental dimension of liveability
that must not be overlooked by designers and
other professionals is its locality and the related
principles of open participation. As
has pointed out, “the foundation of a liveable
place is its people. Therefore each community
will place different levels of importance on the
individual elements that constitute liveability
or may identify other aspect s of importance
to it. Each community needs to develop its
own unique strategy to reflect its own unique
definition of liveability” (n.d.). Time and again,
my work has shown that genuine commitment
and ownership are the result of participatory
approaches that guarantee positive medium
and long-term effects. A legitimate sustainable
dynamic is one that allows all sorts of people,
weather locals or visitors, to take an active role
in shaping their own surrounding realities, and I
have seen how these sorts of approaches also
add to happiness.
Sources and further reading
Mumford, L. (1963). Technics and Civilization. San Diego,
California, USA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (Originally published
in 1934).
Southerton, D. (2009). “Re-ordering Temporal Rhythms. Coordinating Daily Practices in the UK in 1937 and 2000.” In: E.
Shove, F. Trentmann, a nd R. Wilk (eds.), Time, Consu
Alternative Tourist Information, Helsinki
Fiilari Campaign (and Baana “Helsinki Low Line”): attracting
interest in cycling and highlighting both the past and future of
cycling in Helsinki
See also “Helsinki’s Baana Bicycle Corridor”
Helsinki Foodism – The food culture strategy of the City of Helsinki
Fontwalk: How is graphic design in evidence in our city? Napa
Gallery, Helsinki
Helsinki Airport Book Swap
Inspirations Tour, Helsinki
Kamppi Chapel of Silence, Helsinki
Kääntöpöytä / Turntable Urban Garden
See also This is Finland
and Urban Gardens Web
“Mercer Quality of Living Survey,” 2012, summary and press
Monocle’s “Global Quality of Life Survey,” 2013
Monocle’s “Special Global City Ranking”: Helsinki named most
liveable city
Open House Helsinki
Satokartta / The Harvest Map: mapping Helsinki’s publicly available
edible trees and shrubs.
Snow Parks
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) “Global Liveability Ranking
and Overview,” intro and summary 2012
University of Helsinki at the WDC2012: “Designing society through
University of Helsinki, Tiedekulma / Think Corner: Science at
the street level
Think Corner reopens at University of Helsinki in 2013
Up With Kallio [district], Helsinki
World Design Capital Helsinki 2012
WDC Helsinki 2012 for visitors
WDC Helsinki 2012 for visitors: welcome page
Our City is Your City
ZTB Zukunftsbüro – Andreas Reiter’s company website
References, bibliography, and other sources
Adams, M. (n.d.), “Urban liveability: sustainability, quality of life and
wellbeing.” Retrieved from
Happy Planet Index – The leading global measure of sustainable
The Happy Planet Index is a project of the New Economics
Foundation (nef) – Economics as if people and the Planet
About nef: Our history
Happiness Indices, The Guardian
Helsingin Sanomat. (8.1.2012). “New York Times ranks Helsinki
as second-best among 45 travel destinations in 2012” [Newspaper article, H. Tulonen]. Retrieved from
Helsingin Sanomat. (31.10.2006). “Heroes to zeroes: Finland the
eco-list darling joins the rank and vile.” [Newspaper commentary,
W. Moore]. Retrieved from
Icsid. (n. d.), “What is the WDC?” Retrieved from http://www.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) Better Life Initiative
(and well-being research)
OECD countries Better Life Index
“Happiness is…”
Partners for Liveable Communities Australia ( (n.d.),
“Liveability – Liveability is the sum of the aspects that add up to
the quality of life of a place.” Retrieved from http://www.liveable.
Reiter, A. (2012), “Liveable city – Sustainable quality of life as
success driver for urban branding.” In: R. Conrady and M. Buck
(eds.), Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2012, (pp. 69–76).
Sustainable Cities Network – A portal to the future of cities,
Melbourne, Australia.
Pop-Up Placemaking
Sustainable Cities Collective
United Nations International Day of Happiness – First celebrated
on March 20, 2013
WIN/Gallup International Association End of Year Survey: Global
Barometer of Hope and Happiness 2013
“Colombia was ranked Happiest Country In the World by the end
of 2012”
Everyman's spaces – encouraging activity
through design and planning
Hella Hernberg // BY Paola cabrera Viancha
On Hella Hernberg’s presentation“Everyman’s
Urbanism—Encouraging Positive Actions
through (Co-)design?”
By Paola Cabrera Viancha (MA)
(Design, cultural management)
Hella Hernberg describes herself as an architect
by education who in recent years has dealt
less with the design of infrastructure and more
with the architecture of ideas and processes
and, in particular, ponders how regular people
use designed environments. Hella operates at
the intersection of the fields of urban planning,
architecture, design, and urban culture and
manages her own one-person company, Urban
Dream Management, where she develops
projects and shares her insights. Among her
other activities, she writes a blog and has
published a book titled "Helsinki Beyond
Dreams—Actions Towards a Creative and
Sustainable Hometown".
Hella wrote her master’s thesis on the
revitalization of urban residual areas by means
of temporary usages (2008). The book "Helsinki
Beyond Dreams", edited by Hella and published
in 2012, is a compilation of stories about new
urban culture and grassroots initiatives in the
capital of Finland and how they can make a
difference. The publication was selected as a
part of the program for World Design Capital
Helsinki 2012. Hella introduces her book by
alluding to the legal concept of “everyman’s
rights”—a concept deeply ingrained in the
culture of Finland and other countries—
suggesting Helsinki’s citizens have translated
this tradition from rural and natural environments
into an urban context. The varied themes and
cases presented in the book are arranged under
five headings. The first introduces ways of
re-imagining Helsinki, and the second focuses
on everyman’s rights. The following chapters
delve into revealing hidden treasures, actions
for “real” food, and the tensions between “slow”
and “grow.” As common denominators for the
individuals and stories portrayed in the book,
Hella demonstrates that there is a palpable
will to make the city a more enjoyable place
and transform wishful thinking into tangible
action despite all the hindrances. From urban
gardening and berry picking, block parties and
time banking, the book shows ways in which
people are claiming and reclaiming their urban
spaces while realizing—in epiphanies of sorts—
that these spaces are theirs.
As a guest at the 4th Sustainable Summer
School, Hella chose to share her views on
how individuals use their cities and examine
the relationship between urban planning and
all kinds of self-initiated activities in cities. She
selected a couple of inspirational cases from
her book and outlined the required approaches
and roles played by designers and planners from
various fields. Here I review Hella’s main points
while adding further comment.
Expert day Hella Hernberg // 2.4. Everyman's spaces – encouraging activity through design and planning
In recent years, initiatives that demonstrate
regular people’s interest in creatively and
inventively taking over the city as a common
space are on the rise in Helsinki. Various kinds
of communities are emerging or developing
which wish to spontaneously and actively
organize projects in the city in order to make
it more enjoyable—a testament to a new and
active urban culture.
Positive engagement by design
and the temporary use of
urban space
How can design support positive action and
agency? Two of the important and interesting
questions more and more designers are asking
themselves—and others—these days are
what is worth designing and how can it be
done. Hella reminds us of current approaches
to design which—rather than focusing on the
definition of ready-made artifacts—are aimed
at defining frameworks and platforms that
enable, encourage, and advance positive action.
Many have acknowledged that such process
design often requires viewpoints, methods,
and expertise that differ from those needed
in “traditional” architecture or product design.
In urban planning in particular, such kinds of
open approaches dealing with the planning of
transformation processes are especially relevant,
precisely because cities are in constant mutation
and are never finished. In the spirit of Heraclitus,
Hella states that change is the motor that keeps
any city running. Paradoxically, traditional urban
planning processes have often been about
addressing permanency.
Hella highlights the following opportunities in
the temporary use of urban space:
• The possibility for citizens to directly
participate, which in turn constitutes a space
for collaborative creativity
• A catalyst for change that enables the
emergence of new forms of culture as well as
new business and professional networks
• A positive image for a location in the process
of developing its identity
• Efficient use of underutilized spatial resources
that addresses ecological sustainability
• More dynamic and flexible urban development
when considered as a tool in long-term urban
• Increased property value for the owner
combined with lower maintenance costs
• Increased safety and reduced vandalism in
abandoned/problematic areas
It does indeed make sense to embrace “pop-up”
as an urban planning approach that affords
freedom to trial ideas on a temporary basis with
low costs. LQC or “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper”
is a proven low-cost, high-impact strategy for
development described by the renowned Eric
Reynolds from Urban Space Management
(Project for Public Spaces PPS, n.d.).
Hella discusses a couple of examples of the
design of participatory platforms in Helsinki:
Kalasatama Temporary and Restaurant Day.
Temporary space as a
co-laboratory for new
experiments: the case of
Kalasatama, a former industrial harbor, was a
wide-open asphalt field in need of proposals
for transitional use. Kalasatama Temporary was
a project initiated by the City of Helsinki and
carried out by the design agency Part Oy—
where Hella was working at the time—in order
to make the area under construction more
attractive and entice people to spend time in
this previously unknown area. “It’s the first time
in Helsinki that city authorities have tried to
integrate temporary uses into urban planning,”
explains Hella in an interview with Pop-Up City
(De Boer, 2012). The concept for “Kalasatama
Temporary” was based on a hunch that there
were people that would organize stimulating
interventions in the space were they given the
inspirational push to do so. This was the core
of the designed strategy which embedded low
thresholds for action. The project kicked off in
2009 with an open brunch where ideas for what
could happen in the space were exchanged.
This was done by exploiting the presence of the
audience at the Flow Festival music event taking
place nearby, engaging them in the discussion.
These good instincts accompanied by planned
processes paid off: art exhibitions, film evenings,
urban gardens, a visit by the itinerant Solar
Kitchen Restaurant, coffee-shops, flea-markets,
theatre, music and all kinds of gigs have taken
place in Kalasatama since 2009. Bermuda
Helsinki is a more permanent community that
sprang out of the original hunch that offers
opportunities for organizing “independent,
grassroots cultural events in Konttiaukio”
(English: Container Square), according to its
webpage. Other parties involved in Konttiaukio
are Oranssi Ry, Kalasataman melojat, Viiksipojat,
Dodo Ry, Pyöräpaja, and Stadin pitsauuni (which
translates into English as something like “the
hood’s pizza oven”).
Kalasatama has indeed become a hotspot
for emerging grassroots cultural activities, as
Hella explains. Using a strategy of open design,
the planning team allowed for Kalasatama
to become a communal testing ground for a
wide range of initiatives as well as the open
design strategy itself—a co-laboratory of sorts.
Nevertheless, transitional urban space initiatives
pose challenges as well as questions, and Hella
pointed out some of the ones she experienced
with Kalasatama:
• New methods and tools are needed so to
make the interaction between the city and its
residents run more smoothly
• More willingness to take risks, a clearer
shared vision, and more agility are needed
• Continuity: to what extent will the temporary
activities remain part of permanent structures?
• Replicability: how can similar experiences be
scaled up or spread out to the suburbs or
smaller (or larger) towns?
• A need for policy design: how are we to apply
the tactics of spontaneous, self-organized
projects to the planning process of large,
bureaucratic organizations that are used to
making stable, long-term decisions?
“Kalasatama Temporary” was a two-year project
from 2009—2011 which bore many fruits in
2012. In 2013 the City of Helsinki is now in
charge: Ihana Café is still operating and some
of the activities are continuing while construction
in the area is expanding to restrict open-format
Spontaneity, initiative,
and volunteering triggered
by food: the case of
Restaurant Day
It was Spring 2011, and a group of friends
were talking about their frustration with the
bureaucratic overload involved in running—let
Expert day Hella Hernberg // 2.4. Everyman's spaces – encouraging activity through design and planning
alone opening—an eatery in Finland. Then
they came up with a proactive question:
what if, for one day, anybody could open a
restaurant? A day of pop-up restaurants with
no bureaucracy involved. Restaurant Day was
born and the idea caught on: an inspirational
theme that anybody can relate to coupled with
the opportunity for sharing in the common space
for common fun. At the time it was conceived
as civil disobedience at its best. In this regard
Hella reminded us of how Olli Sirén, one of the
founders of the event, related how they made a
deliberate point of focusing on fun rather than
civil disobedience as a message, for people
generally prefer to take part in and share feelgood experiences.
The first Restaurant Day (Ravintolapäivä in
Finnish) took place on May 21, 2011 with fortyfive participants at thirteen locations in Finland.
The organizers decided that the event would be
held four times a year. The second Restaurant
Day in August 2011 had 190 restaurants
popping up in over thirty cities spread over
four countries. On the sixth Restaurant Day
on August 19, 2012, 784 restaurants in over
one hundred cities in seventeen countries
were registered on the Restaurant Day internet
portal. The open and inclusive nature of this
concentrated initiative is underpinned by the
use of social media and online tools, allowing
for participants to articulate their experiences
and make its informal structure all the more
light and flexible. “This presents something of
a challenge for city officials used to regulating
far more structured organizational contexts,”
said Brian Boyer and Dan Hill in Helsinki Street
Eats (2012). In this publication the authors
address Helsinki’s street food culture from the
perspective of strategic design while focusing
on the interests of the Finnish Innovation Fund
Sitra, which aims at positioning Finland and
Helsinki in the competitive international scene
by means of diverse strategies in various areas.
In Helsinki Street Eats Boyer describes
street food as a vehicle for innovation, while
in his blog Dan Hill refers to food as “a
productive area for understanding systems:
systems of culture, systems of production and
consumption, systems of governance, and
so on.” Hill explains: “Food is something that
everyone has to address several times a day
in both a qualitative and quantitative sense. It
is at the same time cultural, social, economic,
physical, digital, industrial, political, and so on. It
is about what streets can be used for and who
decides it. It’s about our health, our wealth, our
understanding of cultural diversity. It’s about
industries, logistics, and supply chains. It’s
directly about sustainability and climate change,
as well as social innovation and wellbeing,
community formation, individual free will, identity
formation, class, entrepreneurship, and much
more” (2012).
Speaking about food’s important role in
social interaction and experience in Helsinki
Street Eats, Olli Sirén, one of the organizers of
Restaurant Day, explains: “The event genuinely
changes peoples’ social relationships—if
only for a short period of time—as people
don’t just do business and transact with one
another, but they often engage in richer social
encounters thanks to the authenticity and
personality of the situation in which the food is
sold and consumed. And this is one of the main
reasons why Ravintolapäivä is at the very core
of rethinking how food can create new urban
Design integrated into policy
making and the Commons
In her reflections on Helsinki, Hella points out
the need for renovation in the field of urban
planning while asking how the [design of] the
city administration can be upgraded in order to
offer a better foundation upon which citizens’
ideas, initiatives, and creativity can flourish and
prosper while involving all pertinent sectors of
society, and in more horizontal networks, as
opposed to mono directional, top-down, or
even bottom-up modes. According to Hella a
faster rate of innovation is required for Helsinki
to capitalize on current opportunities and
momentum. “We have so many development
projects going on in a grand urban scale,” Hella
told De Boer (2012) from Pop-Up City. “There
are a lot of possibilities for development—and
of course there’s also the threat that we’ll
end up building a boring and dull city. That’s
why it would be important to have more public
discussion about where the city should be
Indeed, various design disciplines,
approaches, and methodologies can have a
positive impact on the planning, implementation,
and assessment of governmental policies. In
order for it to have an impact, design has to
be strategic in character. Strategic design is
genuinely embedded in the nature of any entity
(initiative, project, organization, etc.); strategic
design also considers the definition of problems
and solutions holistically and systemically while
taking into account all aspects and stakeholders.
Participatory methods by which individuals,
groups, and organizations take an active role
in shaping their environments and experiences
are thus a key aspect of strategic design. With
the help of a little common sense, we then
can understand why enabling such forms of
participation is both pertinent and relevant in the
context of public and private decision-making
and regulation. In fostering active participation in
the creation and recreation of thriving, pleasant
urban environments, flexible platforms, flexible
regulation, and flexible attitudes are required.
In her presentation at the 4th Sustainable
Summer School, Hella describes how her
reflections are inspired by the concept of
everyman’s right and rebrands it “everyman’s
urbanism.” This is a part of the broader, more
encompassing concept of “the Commons.” In
a post on the Infrastructuring the Commons
website, one of the Aalto University’s Special
Interest Groups (SIG), Johanna Saad-Sulonen,
researcher, explains the term “urban commons”
(2013). Paraphrasing other authors as well, she
explains how the term urban commons refers
to “collectively shared resources related to the
urban environment, such as streets, public
parks, and shared neighborhood amenities”
and can also “include intangible urban goods,
such as the sense of security or belonging.”
While explaining how issues “associated with
the management of these types of resources,
especially the tangible ones, have been laid at
the heart of urban governance,” she says that
although solutions have so far “mainly favored
either public government-provided regulations
or the transfer of the resources and their
management to the private sector, . . . [l]ately
there has been an increased interest in exploring
and reflecting upon other types of solutions,
which emphasize the collective management
of the urban commons through novel cogovernance strategies and the identification of
possibilities for collaboration between citizenbased, self-organized endeavors and the public
authorities.” Here I should also mention that
Expert day Hella Hernberg // 2.4. Everyman's spaces – encouraging activity through design and planning
Saad-Sulonen has contributed a chapter to
"New Approaches to Urban Planning—Insights
from Participatory Communities", a book
published in 2013 dealing with participation
as self-organization—different from traditional
staged participation—to illustrate ways of
improving and increasing the impact of citizen
participation in urban planning.
In a post on the SIG’s website, Andrea Botero
(2013) —another Aalto University researcher
active in the SIG— highlights four novel
notions regarding the Commons presented
by two researchers at the Economics and the
Commons Conference 2013. I refer here to the
first and the fourth, both of which relate more
closely to what has been discussed here: Point
one, the commons is not a resource, but a
process: as Botero indicates, this suggests that
the commons is not simply about resources,
as it implies a relational quality that is informed
by actions and decisions taken by a group of
people. In turn there is need to focus more
on the processes, the “commoning,” so to
speak, rather than the resource aspect. Point
four discusses how the Commons does not
“scale up” but slowly crystallizes. Instead of
pursuing the “scaling up” of isolated things, “the
challenge lays more in unleashing the potential
of the commons through commons-enabling
infrastructure, laws, platforms and technologies
that support things to extend horizontally and
interconnect”. Here it is worth mentioning
Botero’s recently published doctoral dissertation
"Expanding Design Space(s)—Design in
Communal Endeavours" (2013).
The Infrastructuring the Commons SIG at
Aalto University in Finland, plans to expand
the understanding of emerging considerations
for the design, provision, and maintenance of
“public” services and urban space. The work
done in the SIG constitutes a fine example of
initiatives from the academic context dedicated
to finding a more holistic articulation of some
of the issues raised in this article as well as
the questions Hella posed to the audience at
the 4th Sustainable Summer School 2012 in
Helsinki. At the centre of many of today’s crucial
questions is the question of which rationale is/
has been used for decision-making, whether it is
only the financial rationale that is important, or if
other factors aimed at finding a balance among
the four pillars of sustainability play a role. In the
interview with De Boer (2010), Hella reminds
us how the problem today “is that many projects
are run by short-sighted economical strategies
that override any other visions.”
Sources and further reading
References, bibliography and other sources
shared by Hella Hernberg
Hernberg, H. (2008). Urban Dream Management—Revitalising
Urban Residual Areas through Temporary Uses. Master’s thesis,
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (former
Faculty of Architecture of the Helsinki University of Technology).
Retrieved from
Hernberg, H. (2012). Helsinki Beyond Dreams—Actions towards
a Creative and Sustainable Hometown. Helsinki, Finland: Urban
Dream Management.
Wheatley, M. & Frieze, D. (2008). Using Emergence to Take
Social Innovation to Scale. The Berkana Institute. http://www.
Urban Dream Management.
Bermuda Helsinki.
Solar Kitchen Restaurant.
Restaurant Day
References, bibliography and other sources
by Paola Cabrera
Botero, A. et al. (2010). Infrastructuring the Commons [Website].
Aalto University—Special Interest Group focusing on the Commons
(peer-production, co-production, co-governance, co-creation)
and public services. The SIG addresses the relevance of the
Commons as a framework for expanding our understanding of
emerging considerations for the design, provision, and maintenance of public services and urban space. Helsinki, Finland.
Botero, A. (June 8, 2013). ”Four conceptual notions on the commons” (Helfrich and Bollier) [Post]. Infrastructuring the Commons
[Website]. Aalto University—Special Interest Group focusing on
the Commons (peer-production, co-production, co-governance,
co-creation) and public services. Retrieved from http://co-p2p.
Botero, A. (2013). Expanding Design Space(s)—Design in
Communal Endeavours. Helsinki, Finland: Aalto University publication series: doctoral dissertations 85/2013. Aalto University
School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media.
Retrieved from
Botero, A., Paterson, A. G. and Saad-Sulonen, J. (eds.). (2012).
Towards Peer-production in Public Services: Cases from Finland.
Aalto—Special Interest Group focusing on the Commons (peerproduction, co-production, co-governance, co-creation) and
public services. Helsinki, Finland. Retrieved from https://www.
Boyer, B., Cook, J. and Steinberg, M. Helsinki Design Lab.
(2011). In Studio: Recipes for Systemic Change. Helsinki, Finland: The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Retrieved from http://
Boyer, B. and Hill, D. et al. (2012). Helsinki Street Eats v1.0.
Low2No project. Strategic Design Unit (Helsinki Design Lab
HDL), Finland: Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Retrieved from
Boyer, B. (March 2012). Helsinki Street Eats (and hacking Lulu)
[Blog post]. Helsinki Design Lab. Retrieved from http://www.
Crain, B. (August 3, 2012). Book Review: “Helsinki beyond
dreams.” Project for Public Spaces PPS. Retrieved from http://
De Boer, J. (June 11, 2012). “Design in Helsinki—5 Questions to
Hella Hernberg, Author of Helsinki Beyond Dreams” [Interview].
Pop-up city [Website]. Retrieved from
Economics and the Commons Conference. From seed form to
core paradigm. Exploring New Ideas, Practices and Alliances.
Berlin, Germany, May 22–24, 2013.
The P2P Foundation
Grynbaum, M. M. (2011, March 4). “For City’s Transportation
Chief, Kudos and Criticism” In: The New York Times. Retrieved
Hill, D. (May 2012). Journal: “Ravintolapäivä, Restaurant Day,
edible urbanism and civic opportunism.” City of Sound blog.
Retrieved from
Hill, D. (August 2012). “Helsinki Street Eats” [Essay/Blog post].
City of Sound blog. Helsinki, Finland. Retrieved from http://
Nelimarkka, M. (n.d.). “Restaurant Day is a Carnival of Food.” Visit
Helsinki. Retrieved from
Project for Public Spaces PPS. (n.d.). “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper:
Transform Your Public Spaces Now.” Retrieved from http://www.
“Pop-Up Placemaking.” Sustainable Cities Network—A
Portal to the Future of Cities. Melbourne, Australia. http://www.
Saad-Sulonen, J. (2013, June 27). “Digital Urban Commons”
[Post]. Infrastructuring the Commons [Website]. Aalto
University—Special Interest Group focusing on the Commons
(peer-production, co-production, co-governance, co-creation)
and public services. Retrieved from http://co-p2p.mlog.taik.
Saad-Sulonen, J. (2013). “Multiple Participations.” In: L. Horelli
(ed.), New Approaches to Urban Planning—Insights from
Participatory Communities (pp. 111—130). Helsinki, Finland:
Aalto University publication series Aalto-ST 10/2013. Aalto
University School of Engineering, Department of Real Estate,
Planning and Geoinformatics, YTK—Land Use Planning
and Urban Studies Group. Retrieved from
See also the Participatory Local Community Palco Project
Spontaneous Interventions.
Strategic Design Unit (Helsinki Design Lab HDL). “What is strategic design?” [Webpage at the HDL website]. Finland: Finnish
Innovation Fund Sitra. Retrieved from
Strategic Design Unit (Helsinki Design Lab HDL). “Why strategic
design?” [Webpage at the HDL website]. Finland: Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Retrieved from http://www.helsinkidesignlab.
Sustainable Cities Collective.
Ympäristö.fi []. (n.d.). “Everyman’s rights” [Site
subpage]. Retrieved from
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
52 Expert day Hella Hernberg // 2.4. Everyman's spaces – encouraging activity through design and planning
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
56 Workshops Najine Ameli, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedtke // 3.1. Designguide and Methodology for Sustainable Design
Designguide and Methodology
for Sustainable Design
Najine Ameli, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedtke
The Wuppertal Institute conducted a workshop
during the Sustainable Summer School 2012
in which the MIPS concept – Material Input per
Service Unit – (Schmidt-Bleek 1994, 1998,
Lettenmeier et al. 2009) and the DesignGuide
(Liedtke et al. 2013b) were presented.
The aim was to provide designers with useful
knowledge and tools that can empower them
to incorporate aspects of sustainability into their
design concepts.
By now everyone should be aware of the fact
that lifestyles in the industrialised countries
are changing the ecosphere. If we wish to
guarantee the same quality of life for all of
the Earth’s inhabitants, we must dematerialise
our economy (Pauli 2012, Stahel 2010,
Braungart/McDonough 2009). The use of
natural resources by industrialised countries
therefore needs to be reduced on average to
approximately one-tenth of its present level
(Schmidt-Bleek 1994; Schmidt-Bleek 2009).
In order to implement this “Factor 10“ goal,
it is important to benchmark the eco-efficiency
(Reid/Medzinski 2008, Schaltegger 1990,
Weizsäcker 1997, 2009, Seiler-Hausmann
et al. 2004), or resource productivity, of
technologies, products, and services to
determine resource efficiency potentials
(Rohn et al. 2009; Bringezu/Liedtke 1997;
Weizsäcker 1997; efa NRW 2001). Friedrich
Schmidt-Bleek developed the concepts of the
“ecological backpack” and MIPS, which visualise
the invisible material burden posed by products
or services in order to compare their potential
environmental impacts.
The ecological backpack, also known as the
material footprint, represents the invisible
material burden of a product or service. It makes
the total input of natural resources (material
input, mi) required by a given product and is
measured in mass units such as kilograms or
tonnes. The ecological backpack provides a
summary of resource use in the production
of goods (Schmidt-Bleek 2009, 1994;
Schmidt-Bleek et al. 1998) and is an important
measurement for comparing functionally
equivalent goods from competing producers at
the point of sale (Lettenmeier et al. 2009).
Most products would provide no benefit if
additional materials, energy, and/or water are
not added to the equation. This additional input
is what is needed to create a unit of service or
benefit. MIPS can thus be seen as a means
or measuring the “ecological backpack of a
service” – as an integrated result of possible
sustainability strategies such as efficiency,
sufficiency and consistency, (Liedtke et al.
2013a) or deceleration and simplifying (Sachs
1993). MIPS stands for “material input per unit
of service” over the entire life cycle of a product
or service (e.g. wearing clean and modern
clothing, travelling from A to B, or enjoying a
warm domestic environment with controlled
temperatures). All of these services could be
fulfilled using different socio-technical systems
(Schmidt-Bleek et al. 1997, Ritthoff et al.
2002). It allows us to estimate a service’s and/
or product’s input-oriented environmental impact
potential (Lettenmeier et al. 2009).
MI is provided in terms of tonnes, kilograms,
or grams. In contrast, the service (s) is case
specific and must be defined as the specific
performance offered by a product (such as
wearing clean and modern clothing), longest
possible shelf life for food, or a 10-km journey
(Schmidt-Bleek 2009). The service must be
rigorously defined in each individual case.
Focussing on a product’s benefits instead of
the actual ownership of a product opens up a
whole new dimension of development options.
This shift corresponds to growing market
trends of renting, sharing, and leasing goods
instead of merely owning them (Schmidt-Bleek
1994, 2009; Schmidt-Bleek/Tischner 1997,
Lettenmeier et al. 2009, Liedtke et al. 2013a).
The following categories of resources are
counted separately:
• Biotic (or renewable) raw materials
• Abiotic (or non-renewable) raw materials
• Earth movements in agriculture and forestry
(or erosion)
• Air (mainly the oxygen used in
combustion processes)
• Water
The MI factors are expressed in kg/kg (kg of
resources per kg of the material used), kg/kwh
(kg of resources per kilowatt-hour of energy
consumed), or kg/tkm (kg of resources to
transport one tonne over one kilometre).
By turning around the MIPS formula (mi/s), one
can derive the amount of benefit provided by a
given cradle-to-cradle quantity of material. S/
MI thus becomes an expression for resource
productivity. This means we can compare
the degree of service that can be created
by “investing” a certain amount of natural
Resource productivity can be improved by
technical decisions as well as by the consumer’s
personal decisions.
MIPS can be applied at different levels, such
as at the company, urban-quarter, or household
levels, as well as to the economy as a whole
(local, regional, national, or international levels,
see for example
By interlocking the processes at all of
these levels, the optimisation of all material
inputs contributes to an increase in resource
productivity over the entire life cycle or in terms
of the overall economy (see for example Bringezu/
Bleischwitz 2010, Schmidt-Bleek 2009, SchmidtBleek et al. 1998).
Finally, MIPS is a robust and reliable indicator
for the comparison and estimation of functionally
Workshops Najine Ameli, Michael Lettenmeier, Christa Liedtke // 3.1. Designguide and Methodology for Sustainable Design
comparable products and services in terms of
their material and energy requirements over their
entire life cycles (Lettenmeier et al. 2009).
MIPS combines the sustainability strategies
of efficiency (Baumol/Oates 1971, SchmidtBleek 1994, Radermacher 2002), consistency
(Schmidt-Bleek 1994, Stahel 2010, Braungart/
McDonough 2009), and sufficiency (SchmidtBleek 1993, Sachs 1999, Stengel 2011).
• Efficiency: reducing the use of resources
(material input) in value chains while
sustaining a constant level of service.
• Consistency: MIPS takes into account the
concept of environmental consistency aimed
at closed-loop recycling management.
• Sufficiency: choosing the service unit
carefully. Can the service satisfy the needs?
The DesignGuide is a tool that provides
designers background information and practical
strategies for incorporating sustainability aspects
into design. It consists of two main parts:
The first part offers theoretical background
information that draws a bigger picture of the
connections between design and sustainability.
The second part introduces the following
five tools that provide designers with practical
methods to be applied during the design
process without restricting creativity.
1. Taking Stock – Assessing the
Purpose and Life Cycle of the Product
or Service
What is the product’s fundamental service? Are
there new ways to provide this service? In order
to answer these questions, designers are asked
to first provide a detailed description of the
product’s service or utility in order to understand
the purpose of design. Second, the complete
product life cycle is sketched out.
2. National Sustainability Indicators
Depending on the circumstances, countries
prioritise different aspects of sustainability. For
example, developing nations focus on economic
growth, which often is measured in GDP per
capita, whereas industrialised countries tend to
prioritise ecological aspects in their sustainability
strategies and thus use indicators such as those
pertaining to emissions or material requirements.
Sustainable design has to consider the
appropriate indicators and strategies in order
to successfully implement the service and/or
product in the targeted area.
3. Strategy Wheel/Strategy Bar
Both the Eco Design Strategy Wheel and the
Strategy Bar show whether the goals (described
by the chosen indicator set) are addressed
during the design process which is intended
to focus on these indicators. They show the
improvements and downturns as they relate to
the specific indicator set chosen by the designer
(Brezet/ven Hemel 1995).
4. Hot Spot Analysis – An Instrument for
Determining the Most Important Criteria
Hot Spots are aspects of a specific phase
in a life cycle that assume a high degree of
relevance within the entire chain. One can use
several different indicators or focus on a great
number of aspects related to the target or
strategy. In order to simplify the approach, one
can focus on a manageable number of different
indicators in the designing process.
Once identified, Hot Spots can be the
leverage points that can allow designers to
make a product more sustainable in terms of
eco-design. Additional aspects can be added to
the evaluation if necessary (Bienge et al. 2010;
Liedtke et al. 2010).
5. Evaluation Sheets
Evaluation sheets allow you systematically
compare the solutions you have developed by
evaluating a range of ecological and socioeconomic design criteria. They help you to
become aware of what and how you already
evaluate automatically and make unconscious
decisions conscious. The sheets also show you
what you have not yet thought of and do not yet
know how to evaluate.
For further information please visit: • •
Baumol, W.J. and Oates, W.E. (1971): “Use of Standards and
Prices for Protection of the Environment”. In: Swedish Journal
of Economics, 1, pp. 42–54
Bienge, K. et al. (2010): “Sustainability Hot Spot Analysis: A streamlined life cycle assessment towards sustainable food chains”. Proceedings of the 9th European IFSA Symposium, 4–7 July, Vienna,
Austria, pp. 1822–1832.
Braungart, M. and McDonough, W. (2009) Cradle to Cradle. London.
Brezet, H. and van Hemel, C. (1997) EcoDesign: A Promising Approach to
Sustainable Production and Consumption, France: UNEP.
Bringezu, S. and Bleischwitz, R. (2009): Sustainable Resource Management: Global Trends, Visions and Policies. London.
Bringezu, S. and Liedtke, C. (1997): “Technisch-stoffliche Faktoren:
Stoffstromanalyse der industriellen Produktion”. In: Globale Umweltveränderungen: symposium held on 17/18 June in Münster. pp.
Effizienz Agentur NRW (efa)/Wuppertal Institute (eds.) (2001): 4 Elemente, 10 Faktoren, 1 Ziel: Ökoeffizienz. Aus weniger mehr gewinnen. Duisburg/Wuppertal.
Lettenmeier, M. and Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and
Energy (2009): Resource productivity in 7 steps how to develop ecoinnovative products and services and improve their material footprint.
Wuppertal: Wuppertal Inst. for Climate, Environment and Energy,
Wuppertal Spezial (41).
Liedtke, C.; Buhl, J; Ameli, N. (2013a): “Designing value through less
by integrating sustainability strategies into lifestyles”. In: International
Journal for Sustainable Design, unpublished.
Liedtke, C. et al. (2013b): DesignGuide. Wuppertal: Wuppertal Inst. for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal Spezial (##).
Liedtke, C. et al. (2010): Resource intensity in global food chains: the
Hot Spot Analysis. British Food Journal 112 (10), pp. 1138–1159
Pauli, G. (2012): The Blue Economy. Berlin.
Radermacher, F.J. (2002): Balance oder Zerstörung. Vienna.
Reid, A. and Miedzinski (2008): Eco-Innovation. (
Ritthoff, M., Rohn, H. and Liedtke, C. (2002): Calculating MIPS : Resource productivity of products and services. Wuppertal: Wuppertal
Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal Spezial
Rohn. H. et al. (2009): Identification of technologies, products and strategies with high resource efficiency potential. Wuppertal.
Sachs, W. (1999): Planet Dialectics: Exploration in Environment and
Development. London
Sachs, W. (1993): “Die vier E’s: Merkposten für einen maßvollen
Wirtschaftsstil”. In: Politische Ökologie. no. 33, pp. 69–72.
Schaltegger, S. and Sturm, A. (1990). Ökologische Rationalität:
Ansatzpunkte zur Ausgestaltung von ökologieorientierten
Managementinstrumenten. Die Unternehmung, 44(4), 273–290.
Seiler-Hausmann, J.-D., Liedtke, C. and Weizsäcker, E.U. (eds.)
(2004): Eco-Efficiency and Beyond – Towards the Sustainable Enterprise. Sheffield.
Systematic Eco-Innovation Report (2008): Final Report for Sectoral Innovation Watch.
Schmidt-Bleek, F. et al. (1998): MAIA, Einführung in die Material-Intensitäts-Analyse nach dem MIPS-Konzept. Basel.
Schmidt-Bleek, F. (2009): The Earth: Natural Resources and Human
Intervention. London.
Schmidt-Bleek, F., Tischner, U. and Merten, T. (1997): Öko-intelligentes
Produzieren und Konsumieren. Berlin.
Schmidt-Bleek, F. (1994): Wieviel Umwelt braucht der Mensch? MIPS
– das Maß für ökologisches Wirtschaften. Basel.
Stahel, W.R. (2010): The Performance Economy. New York.
Stengel, O. (2011): Suffizienz: Die Konsumgesellschaft in der ökologischen Krise. Munich.
Weizsäcker, E.U. (2009): Factor Five: Transforming the global Economy. London.
Weizsäcker, E.U. (1997): Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use. London.
Workshops Bernd Draser // 3.2. Sustainable Tourism: Travel, Trouble, Transitions
Sustainable Tourism:
Travel, Trouble, Transitions
Bernd Draser
Workshop held by Bernd Draser (ecosign/Academy for Sustainable Design)
and Alastair Fuad-Luke (Aalto University)
The main challenge for sustainable development
today is not the definition of goals, but
overcoming the mental and physical immobility
of societies in a complex crisis scenario. The
globalised world proves to be extremely agile
when it comes to developing new products
or trading in stocks and bonds. But when it
comes to implementing significant and urgent
measures to combat climate change, the global
community seems to be paralysed. Proof is
offered by recently recorded levels of CO2
emissions reaching all-new highs. The need for
environmentally-oriented mobility is becoming
more and more urgent.
Mass tourism is mobility, a form of mobility
indeed that is ecologically, economically,
culturally, and socially quite dubious. It produces
massive CO2 emissions and waste. It destroys
natural and cultural landscapes, it wastes water
where it is in short supply, it impairs biodiversity,
damages cultural diversity and regional
identities, and addicts whole regions to a single
volatile business model. And mass tourism does
nothing to educate the travelling masses as the
travel cultures of earlier centuries once did.
In our workshop, co-taught by design activist
and eco-travel author Alastair Fuad-Luke and
philosopher and cultural scientist Bernd Draser,
we combined theoretic, conceptual, and creative
approaches with the unique and intensive genius
loci of Suomenlinna Island. The theoretical
approach is aimed at locating sustainability as
mobility within complexity, ascertaining travel
and transitions as cultural patterns, such as
rites of passage, for example, as an archaic
method of handling complexity, and as a potent
pattern of cognition and action. It examines
the cultural history of travel from our nomadic
roots to the grand tour as well as the narrative
and heroic structure and liminal character of
travel (Gilgamesh, Ulysses, James Bond) and
the colonial dimension of travel as forms of
aggression and exploitation.
This conceptual approach helped analyse the
best as well as the worst practices of tourism
and prescind their mechanisms providing
an overview of eco-tourism, eco-travel and
sustainable tourism, and the diversity of
definitions, for example, or determining the
local and global issues embraced by sustainable
travel and tourism. Finally, the workshop looked
into how these issues are addressed as well
as the role of design and designers in these
Using this creative approach, we explored
opportunities and perspectives for designing
transitions and models of sustainable tourism.
This multi-step process was primarily structured
around Alastair Fuad-Luke’s sophisticated
co-design loop of sharing experiences,
understanding problems, and designing
solutions. Two of the several approaches we
62 Workshops Bernd Draser // 3.2. Sustainable Tourism: Travel, Trouble, Transitions
that helped enhance our competences of
complexity. Workshop participants therefore
decided to split up into two teams that focused
on two complementary perspectives: the RejaVu Team decided to deal with travel as a specific
state of mind and cultural practise, whereas
the Pop-Up Suomenlinna Team developed
scenarios for the prominent tourist destination of
Suomenlinna Island.
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
examined were the compilation of a detailed
timeline of the development of the World
Cultural Heritage site of Suomenlinna Island,
which helped us develop an understanding of
the temporal dimension, and the exploration and
experiencing of the island’s spatial dimension’s
with an approach suggested by the German
poet and traveller Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The methodical diversity of theory, concept,
creativity, and dialogue-focused teamwork
proved to be a didactic model of sustainability
64 Workshops // 3.2. Sustainable Tourism: Travel, Trouble, Transitions
Team members: Yee Leng Chooi, Martina Dahm, Ronja Hasselbach
Vacationing is a state of mind, and this was the
conviction that guided the Reja-Vu team throughout
the project. Team members asked themselves if
tourism is necessarily unsustainable. During the
expert day, we determined that it was necessary
to reduce individual transportation to 10,000 km
per year in order to achieve a sustainable balance.
Once this had been determined, our design task
was clear: we have to change travel attitudes from
destination-oriented approaches to a holiday based
on real individual needs.
This applies to everyone, for it guarantees low
levels of resource consumption and increased
happiness and health, it activates us as individuals
on a long-term basis, and is always available
when needed. The place a person lives will be
the starting point. Little aesthetic objects in
our everyday environments serve as triggers
of curiosity: little treasures, origami, artefacts,
provoking questions, surprising text elements
in unexpected places, etc. These all lead to the
website, a name derived from
French déjà-vu (“already seen”) which actually
means the opposite: “Someday I will be here
again.” The welcome text on the start page
explains the concept of the project:
“Reja-vu is about discovering things you seem to
know already. It’s about realising that holiday is
‘a state of mind’ and about the fun stuff hidden
in your backyard. It’s about listening to your real
own private needs [...]. It’s about learning to care
again about experiencing unpredictable moments,
and it’s a far cry from boring, all-inclusive offers.
It will prevent jetlag and help you to slow down
whenever needed and for as long as you can afford
it. It is about you, your friends and family, and
whoever you want to travel with. It’s about your
neighbourhood, neighbouring city, our neighbouring
country. It’s about sharing experiences and
inspiration voluntarily. It’s about adventure, wellbeing, nature, walking, reflexion, or feel-good
holidays – it’s up to you! Finally, it’s about nothing
more than having a good time…”
The next page provides us with a deeper look
at the concept: “Its about the journey, not the
destination. People always want and need to
travel as a way of experiencing and discovering
something different from what they have at home.
A journey begins when you leave home, but where
are the boundaries of home and somewhere else?
Could it be closer than what we think? We are
convinced that there is as much to experience
nearby as on the other side of the world.” Rejavu’s new approach: “This community is here to
encourage, inspire, and share different ways of
travelling in your neighbourhood. By exploring
things nearby, it is possible to make short-term
trips and spend little money.”
The stories users tell on the webpage describe
intensive travel experiences focused on
mindfulness rather than transportation to touristic
destinations. Reja-vu communicates a concept of
a conscientious travel that cherishes the intense
experience of being “on the way” of “betwixt
and between”, as opposed to a consumerist
understanding of travel. The inspirations presented
by Reja-vu are not intended as trip advisors
or tour guides, but as a source of inspiration
for comparable, highly individualised ways of
travel that provide more value and meaning at
significantly lower levels of resource consumption
and environmental and cultural impact than mass
tourism. The project demonstrates a complex
understanding of the meaning and possibilities of
the 4th Sustainable Summer School’s meta-topic
of “Transition”.
Workshops // 3.2. Sustainable Tourism: Travel, Trouble, Transitions
66 Workshops // 3.2. Sustainable Tourism: Travel, Trouble, Transitions
Workshops // 3.2. Sustainable Tourism: Travel, Trouble, Transitions
Pop-up Suomenlinna
Team members: Amanda Österlin La Mont, Anna Harmava,
Kim Lim Lau, Nícholas Torretta, Dipti Sonawane, Tiffany Liew
The team was inspired by the genius loci of
Suomenlinna Island. As a UNESCO World
Cultural Heritage site, Suomenlinna is a major
tourist attraction of great historical and cultural
interest. A picturesque island right in front of
Helsinki’s harbour, it is also a popular nearby
picnic and party destination for Helsinki students.
Finally, Suomenlinna is home to more than 800
permanent residents. It is easy to imagine that
there are several conflicting interests on the
island, particularly during the summertime. This
is point from which the team began to develop
A first step was, of course, to determine the three
groups’ different expectations and experiences by
interviewing numerous people on Suomenlinna.
This in turn shaped the group’s task. Their aim
was to improve the relationship between locals
and visitors by encouraging social interaction and
cultural exchange. Target groups were identified,
including residents of Suomenlinna and different
types of visitors, such as people from Helsinki
or Finland or foreign visitors. Four of the most
striking topics mentioned, particularly by the
island’s residents, were the behaviour of student
groups from Helsinki, especially their levels of
alcohol consumption, their lack of respect for the
residents’ privacy, the separation of touristic zones
from protected zones (particularly separation that
would help protect environmentally and culturally
sensitive zones), and the disentanglement of
infrastructure use by tourists and residents during
the high season (ferry, supermarket, etc.).
A solution strategy in the form of a service
system was identified that would foster interaction
between locals and visitors by providing personal
contact and a theme-based get-together that can
people from different places according to their
interests. People with the same interests can meet
and exchange knowledge. A community-based
website and physical information service desk help
individuals identify common interests depending on
season and weather. A website, a mobile app, and
physical objects on site provide information and
communication regarding events at local houses
and public spaces on Suomenlinna.
From here the team developed four scenarios that
accommodate different concerns and needs.
Scenario 1: Visitors from abroad with an interest
in culture can find out about Pop-up before
going to Suomenlinna, communicate with others,
and register for events with limited numbers
of participants. Once there, they can orientate
Scenario 1
using the physical information service and an
interactive map.
Scenario 2: Visitors can find out about Pop-up
when they arrive on Suomenlinna and attend
one of the day’s events. The interactive map
helps guide them, while the web-based platform
makes it possible to give feedback and stay in
Scenario 3: Residents of Suomenlinna can post
an event on Pop-up Suomenlinna’s web page
and attract participants.
Scenario 4: Residents without internet contact
on Suomenlinna can post an event on the
interactive map, thus making it accessible for
The selected scenarios represent a great
number of communication opportunities both
online and on the island that can establish
dialogues between the different Suomenlinna
interest groups and stakeholders. The project
does not provide definite answers, but opens
a wide range of opportunities and measures
that can take into account the different needs
of travellers, tourists, residents, and those
responsible for the cultural and natural sites on
Suomenlinna Island.
Workshops Brigitte Wolf, Eero Miettinen // 3.3. Sustainable transition by mobile services
Sustainable transition
BY mobile services
Prof. Dr. Brigitte wolf, Prof. Eero miettinen
The “Sustainable Transition by Mobile Services”
workshop focused on how information can
now travel with the speed of light. This is made
possible by the “net” that covers the earth,
which, although invisible, is omnipresent. It
connects everyone to any other person at any
time anywhere in the world and immediately
delivers any available information. Mobile
services have enabled communication to
become borderless.
The possibility of the rapid exchange of
data has changed our lives in recent years and
affected social, cultural, political, economical,
and environmental behavior. Both the net and
mobile services are neutral tools in and of
themselves that can be used for both good and
bad. There is no CEO in charge who can control
global streams of data. Control of content is a
very difficult challenge—who might decide what
is good or bad? We all very much enjoy the
advantages of mobile services, but we realize
that there are also disadvantages. Many users
rely on self-regulation by mobile services that is
based on fairness and trust. Usually it seems to
The 4th Sustainable Summer School took
place on Suomenlinna Island near the city of
Helsinki. The island played an important role
in Finnish history and was a strategic location
in the defense of Finland during the RussoSwedish War in the eighteenth century. Today
the island is under the protection of UNESCO
and is a designated World Heritage Site.
Finnish schools frequently take students to this
important Finnish historical place.
Recently the Finnish government decided that
Finnish schoolchildren should begin working with
new media and mobile services from a very early
age. A pilot project will soon be initiated that
will hand out iPad’s to first-grade pupils in order
to determine how this media can support and
update the learning process from the earliest
stages. A cooperative project with a Finnish
design studio that has developed the appropriate
software for these purposes is in the works.
Taken together, these local conditions form a
perfect basis for our summer school project.
The students’ task was determined in
cooperation with the city of Helsinki: to design
a project which encourages school children to
explore the island and playfully learn to handle
the iPad device.
70 Workshops Brigitte Wolf, Eero Miettinen // 3.3. Sustainable transition by mobile services
Janina Funck, Janne Salovaara, Katie McClure, Seungho Lee, and Tihana Sare
The students decided to develop an “adventure
rally” that combines the virtual and the real world
by inviting the children for supper:
The Suomenlinna Sustainability Society is hosting
a secret supper tonight. It's for all the children
from [insert school name here]. We're going to
talk about sustainability and how we can convince
the rest of the world to take part! The problem is
we're missing a few things for supper—if we give
you a shopping list, can you collect these items
now and bring them to the party?
The students received a map showing all of
Suomenlinna Island. Places where the students
could find the ingredients were marked by a QR
Dinner will be served when the children return
to the hostel after their explorative adventure
on Suomenlinna Island. The “real” dinner is
prepared using the ingredients the children
collected “virtually” over the course of the day.
During and after the meal, the teacher talks with
the children about the real value of food as well
as the processes of cultivation, production, and
transportation that are necessary so that they can
enjoy the meal.
In summary, the spider diagram seeks to evaluate
how this project will contribute to the children
learning about sustainability.
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
Using the iPad, students are able to find places
where they can obtain the different ingredients
and find detailed information about the
ingredients as well as where they are cultivated;
for example, where cacao grows, how the plants
are cultivated, and how the fruits are harvested,
processed, and transported. Furthermore, they
find information about farmers and the specialties
from the region.
72 Workshops // 3.3. Sustainable transition by mobile services
Workshops // 3.3. Sustainable transition by mobile services
Seungho Lee
Janne Salovaara
Forage—Go Pick, Come Cook
After talking all day long about the value of food,
Seungho was inspired to discuss a recent local
phenomenon. A number of mushrooms, in particular
chanterelles, grow in Finland’s forests, but most
of these mushrooms go bad as there is no one
to pick them. As a result, fewer mushrooms will
grow the next year, for the more they are picked,
the more they grow. Chanterelle mushrooms can
be picked in the season from July to October.
They are healthy, organic, free of charge, and in
Finland they are available in a number of places.
Nevertheless, people do not make sufficient use
of wild mushrooms. They do not know where they
grow, they are afraid of mistaking edible ones for
poisonous ones, and they might not know about
the variety of dishes that can be prepared using
To solve this problem the app “forage” was
developed. The app shows the user where to find
mushrooms, determine what kind of mushroom they
have found, and find information about its quality
and whether or not it is edible. A variety of recipes
are also available. Furthermore, users can share
information with friends about “mushroom hot spots”
by means of social networks.
The advantages of the app’s sustainability are
demonstrated in the spider diagram.
Story of our Stuff
Another topic that was highlighted
during our discussions was the
lifecycle of products and, in
particular, all the people involved
in the long process of creating
product value. These people
busy in the entire value chain
are anonymous, unknown, and
invisible and their work is neither
appreciated nor valued. What
counts and what is seen is solely
the final product.
This focus in perception
diminishes the value of a product
and ignores the engagement of
all the different people involved
in enabling us to buy and/or use
it. Janne wanted to make the
unknown known and the hidden
seen by providing information
about the people responsible
for all the different activities in
preparing a product for sale and
The idea is that our awareness of
the people and manpower involved
in producing the goods we
consume will create awareness of
the true value of consumer goods
and products.
Workshops Nina Gellersen, Luzius Schnellmann // 3.4. The aesthetics of simple living
The aesthetics of simple living
Workshop held by Prof. Nina Gellersen / HSLU Lucerne and Luzius Schnellmann / HSLU Lucerne
The term “restriction” has a negative ring to
it – but at the same time it’s most liberating
when we can dedicate ourselves to the
essential and avoid dealing with unnecessary
ballast. Deliberately deciding against owning
or doing something means being aware of
our alternatives and ascribing more value to
the things that already exist. It means giving
ourselves space and taking time for things that
are truly significant. It means wealth without
possessions – or being rich precisely because
one does not need to possess. Things, after all,
are ephemeral. Sentimental values, however,
last longer. Once we achieve a particular level of
income, happiness no longer grows in step with
the increase in material wealth, for increased
happiness depends on other factors.
The focus of this workshop was on the
positive aspects of restriction. What lifestyles
are appropriate? What do they look like? Which
(sometimes) insignificant differences make an
actual difference? What can we as designers do
to protect and promote them?
The course started off with a visit to the
people living on Suomenlinna. We went to have
a look at a wooden boat and learned how much
dedication and how much effort the owners have
put into its preservation since 1950. The interior
of the yacht includes numerous functional
details. These small, simple, yet clever solutions
helped users get the most out of the limited
space in the four-person sailboat. Even though it
is small, we appreciated its high quality. We then
visited the former bakery of Fort Suomenlinna, a
prime example for the administrative work being
done by Suomenlinna’s governing body: 80%
of all buildings on the island are rented out in
order to ensure a the greatest variation within
the population and avoid the island turning into
a haven for “the wealthy”. Furthermore, the
existing architecture has been largely preserved,
and we can still recognise their historical
functions thanks to their outward appearance.
The bakery, for instance, can be recognised as
such from a distance due to its unusually high
number of chimneys. Inside, the residents have
sensitively accentuated the alcoves and ovens
to great atmospheric effect. After seeing the
bakery, we paid a visit to a glass blower who
keeps up this age-old craft together with other
artists and creates contemporary interpretations
of various items that keep the old tradition alive.
After our multifaceted introduction
to Suomenlinna, we spoke about our
understanding of simplicity, including its meaning
in our lives as well as other meanings it might
have. The group’s international mix helped us
come up with a great number of possibilities and
restrictions which were then clustered in order to
identify different fields of interest. This process
was accompanied by short book presentations
and reading recommendations. An overview of
nearly overwhelming variety was produced. How
were we then to continue? How could this large
group decide how to continue working?
At this point, we received a visit from
a “Mindfulness Coach”. Attentiveness or
mindfulness exercises enable us to find peace
in the present and to bring body and mind into
harmony. The method is based on the teachings
of Buddhism, but it has been uncoupled from
its religious and cultural aspects and is found
in a variety of psychotherapeutic methods. We
practiced various relaxation and meditation
76 Workshops Nina Gellersen, Luzius Schnellmann // 3.4. The aesthetics of simple living
During the second half of the week workshop
participants formed small subgroups and went
on to develop a variety of concepts designed
to encourage people to reflect on their life’s
speed, to direct their attention inwardly, and to
find fulfilment in ordinary things and everyday
moments that may seem unspectacular at first.
Next, participants created a web-based platform
for sharing knowledge, an online application for
sharing, taking stock, and re-evaluating one’s
own possessions, a draft for a book about
“mindfulness”, and two projects which were
immediately implemented within Summer School
that contributed to increased communication
among participants and between different
cultures. The participants showed how focused
and purposeful cooperation makes it possible to
design challenging projects in only three-and-ahalf days.
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
techniques and found that some methods
worked better for some participants, while
other techniques were more useful to others.
However, after some time all the participants
achieved an active state of “being in the now”.
We then took a long break.
As workshop leaders, it was both intriguing
and enlightening to discover that an active
break in which no work was done on the project
helped the participants to see things from other
perspectives, recombine and find new links, and
thus gain fresh insights. After our meditation –
which had acted as an initiating spark – all of
the students’ work immediately became more
concrete. The meditation sequences clearly
demonstrated how useful a short-term release
of work-based ideas can be for encouraging
unconventional ideas.
The lectures held mid-week on the
“Expert Day” offered further enrichment and
impressively demonstrated the quality of life that
can be achieved by linking small initiatives and
combining tradition with modern achievements.
In 2011, the British magazine Monocle selected
Helsinki as the world’s “most livable city” based
on the Finnish capital’s “fundamental courage to
rethink its urban ambitions, and for possessing
the talent, ideas and guts to pull it off.” Taking
the Expert Day presentations into consideration,
this choice seems hardly surprising, for we were
given insight into the amazing diversity of local
grassroots movements and urban development
projects that will leave a lasting impression on
Helsinki’s cityscape.
78 Workshops // 3.4. The aesthetics of simple living
by Anna Totska, Anna Varnai, Julinna Nevari & Riikka Manninen
After multiple group discussions and brainstorming
sessions, the group came up with a community-based
online platform called CO-SLOW. The platform is a
service connecting like-minded people within a local
community that enables them to organise events and
happenings and share and exchange knowledge.
Learning is taken from the classrooms and introduced
to streets and city spaces. The group created
a manifesto for a social movement that aims to
reconnect people and find exciting ways to experience
new things and places. For example, community
members are able to take part in a shopping tour
in a local supermarket, during which they can learn
about sustainable food, food consumption, and
cooking methods from a passionate food enthusiast.
Furthermore, they are able to exchange knowledge.
The group produced the following manifesto:
“This manifesto is an open conversation – it is not
permanent. Please join in as it is about you. These are
just a handful of our thoughts and perhaps a first light
‘kick’ -- a kick aimed at slowing down and re-focusing
on the things that matter. You matter.
We think the things that really matter lie beyond
objects. People matter. Trust. Experiences.
Interactions. Active learning. The immaterial.
For us it’s also about sharing. Share knowledge! Your
local urban community is full of living knowledge, and
we would like to make it visible, accessible, and real
for you. We would like to open up the city spaces
around you and bring together like-minded people –
locally and authentically.
We want to create a world that is [again] directly
experienced, And we think it is possible to do so
through the immaterial exchange of living knowledge
in your community with [old] new ways of bringing
people together. our approach is co-slow: So start
co-creating and co-llaborating in your co-mmunity
with the support of this open, changeable platform.
We hope this will help you to go slow and realize the
simple things are what really matter. Co-slow.”
80 Workshops // 3.4. The aesthetics of simple living
Workshops // 3.4. The aesthetics of simple living
by yi jiang
by Izabella Rudics & Tristam Pears
Livable city
Participants at the 4th Sustainable Summer School
came from all around the world, and Yi Jiang
seized the opportunity to implement a researchbased project directly within the workshop.
She drew up a survey with the aim of gaining
information regarding how participants’ cultural
and geographical backgrounds affect sustainability
indicators. Yi Jiang asked students and faculty to
describe concepts such as “livable city” and “simple
living” and define keywords to go with these
Next, she clustered the collected data and
prepared it for final presentation. For a more robust
assessment, Yi Jiang argues, the survey would
have to be conducted with a variety of peer groups.
For the Summer School, however, the survey was
a useful tool to help better define certain concepts
of sustainability, locate different ways of thinking,
and, in doing so, provide a common basis for
The project also helped to reduce cross-cultural
prejudices in a humorous manner. Yi Jiang invited
the participants to formulate questions directed
at people from a continent other than their own.
During the final presentation, she read out the
collected questions and had students from the
respective continent answer them.
An example: “Europe to China: We have heard
that, according to your perceptions, Europeans
smell bad as a result of their high levels of milk
consumption. Is that so?” The Chinese students’
response was that this was in fact a rumour, but
they did describe how European perfumes take
getting used to and that they are often too strong.
This question-and-answer game provoked hearty,
shared laughter, but also served as a basis for
further cross-continental discussions.
Sometimes the seemingly ordinary holds the
biggest surprise. Izabella Rudics and Tristam
Pears provoked a discussion among participants
about a very old form of communication which
has decreased in importance in this day and
age and all but disappeared from the world of
business: handwritten letters. Well, they have
not disappeared completely, for participants in
other workshops were surprised to be added
as addressees – encouraging them to recall
the beauty of receiving a letter. The initiators
themselves also rediscovered the added value of
the handwritten letter: the act of writing a letter
enforces slowness and thoroughness and helps
focus concentration. It might even be described as
a meditative exercise. It encourages the authors
to devote themselves exclusively to the addressee
and might even involve silent conversation.
Something that was common for our parents’
generation now represents both a challenge and
an opportunity for us. Izabella’s and Tristam’s text
forces us to pause for a moment, for it contains a
list of questions that encourage self-reflection and
invites the recipient to continue thinking, to pick
up the initiators’ train of thought. Perhaps it is not
just a letter, but also the beginning of a genuine
grassroots movement. Older generations may have
to suppress a smile and indulge us, for they have
always known.
The participants of the 5th Sustainable Summer
School will receive a handwritten copy of the
following letter:
Dear ...,
Neither of us has written a letter in a long time, and
it has never been a habit of either of ours. We thought
now would be a good time to start, thanks to our
experiences at the Sustainable Summer School.
Zufriedenheit is a German word. It is made up of two
parts: “zu”, meaning to[wards] and “frieden[heit]”,
meaning peace. It can be translated as “satisfaction”
or “contentedness”, but for us it means to be at peace.
What makes you content? What makes you happy?
What brings you peace? Self-reflection was large part
of our course, and both of us realised that neither of us
has taken time to reflect on ourselves, our lifestyles, or
on our relationships for quite some time.
There are many questions to ask when reflecting
on your life. Self-reflection isn’t an exact recipe for
Zufriedenheit, but we have found it is an important
We would like to offer a few “kicks” that we found
helpful in our self-reflection.
Have you ever chewed a mouthful of food twenty
times just to see what happens? Have you ever cooked
for a stranger? Are there things in your life you could
do without? Could others enjoy them? What means so
much to you that you wish to preserve it for the next
generation? Do you ever take time to be alone? How
often do you compliment other people? When was the
last time you asked a QUESTION?
Take the time to think about the questions that
interest you. We have also created a blog, where you
can share your experiences as well as new “kicks”.
The address is:
If you like that what we are saying and if you
think it could help others, we invite you to tell our
– and your – story to others. Tell your friends about
We hope you are zufrieden.
Bella & Tristam
82 Workshops // 3.4. The aesthetics of simple living
Workshops // 3.4. The aesthetics of simple living
by Johannes Kunz & Philip Oettershagen
by Alisa Ceh & Irina Krez
the universe of things
After beginning with the general topic of
simple living, we decided to concentrate on the
relationships we have with countless material
items, items which surround us and which stick
to our lives in the form of possessions. We have
come to realise that these material things can
become a burden – especially if you lose track of
them. We ourselves have realised that there is in
fact only a small number of items that we feel truly
attached to. These are mainly objects we use in
our daily lives or things of personal emotional value
due to the stories linked to them.
On the other hand, many our possessions are used
but once a year – and then there are the things
we have completely forgotten about. Wouldn’t
it be better if such items could find their way to
people who actually have a use for them instead of
remaining in our closets and basements until they
have even outlived us?
This train of thought has led us to develop to a
new concept for such items. Could they not be
free characters that can travel from one owner to
another, each with its own life and own story?
There are already numerous platforms, concepts,
and possibilities which allow you to sell, swap,
awareness colouring book
share, or give away used products such as flea
markets, sharing concepts, or reselling platforms
like eBay. We have thus decided to concentrate on
finding a way to organise, catalogue, categorise,
and visualise your belongings.
Our idea is to create a dynamic online inventory
that can allow you to keep track of your belongings
in an easy, aesthetic, and graphical fashion. We
tried to come up with an appropriate metaphor for
our relationships to material objects, and finally
we came up with the image of a whole universe
consisting of countless galaxies each representing
one personal household. Items can come into your
galaxy and leave again. Your galaxy can be either
void of or overflowing with personal items…
The Universe of Things is a system which helps
organise your material possessions, your things.
It helps you keep track of almost everything you
already own – and even things you don’t even have
yet. Imagine the Universe of Things as a personal
inventory, your galaxy which you can share.
An overview:
• Practical overview/inventory of your stuff
• Awareness of all the things you own
• Increase your belongings’ lifespan by re-using
and sharing
• Social interaction is important (you can trade
or just give away things that are needed by
someone else or get in touch with people who
share an interest in certain items)
• A hedonistic, feel-good approach to things
rather than restrictions
Inspired by colouring books, Alisa Ceh and Irina
Krez designed a brochure which explains the
meditation method “Mindfulness” in a playful
manner. The reader completes Minimalist
illustrations and brief questions with his or her
own drawings and words. The illustrations and
questions serve as a starting point for selfreflection and contemplation and help the reader
to momentarily disengage from world affairs.
Use of the book itself thus becomes a meditation
The authors had the following ideas:
• Various visualisations of calmness, openmindedness, and awareness
• Contemplation while drawing/doodling,
paying full attention to what you are doing
• What protects me/you?
• What makes me happy or content?
• What is the core of my personal well-being?
• Paying attention to one’s thoughts and
feelings, noticing the environment or
• Another kind of meditation
• No guide, no rules, just a fun way to take
some time off
• Being in the present, lost in thought, not
thinking about the past or the future
• Slowing down and being in silence
• Being able to spend some time on your own,
time for yourself
• No need to analyse or interpret one’s flow of
thoughts and emotions
• Little booklet, colouring book, feel free
to add something – continue drawings,
illustrations, provide some inspiration –
trigger the reader’s imagination
• Possibility of sharing pictures on social
networks like Tumblr, Facebook, etc.
Workshops Anke Bernotat, Gwendolyn Kulick // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
rediscovering happiness
Anke bernotat, Folkwang University of the Arts
gwendolyn kulick, Beaconhouse National University
Striving for well-being is one of the basic
motivations directing all our actions, and
everyone tries to achieve his or her own
personal idea of happiness. However, individual
interpretations of what such happiness may
entail is the result of the imprinting of values
we receive from our social and cultural
Luxuries evoke intense feelings of privilege
and or well-being and answer our human
longing to “treating oneself” to something out
of the ordinary. In the majority of cases, this
feeling of happiness based on luxuries is a result
of materialism. The worldwide improvement in
quality of life thanks to continuing modernisation
results in tangible increases in standards of
living. A broader interpretation of the quality
of happiness may be the result of a variety of
different stimuli.
What makes human beings happy? How
do they approach their quest for happiness?
Answers to these rather simple-sounding
questions are as complex and manifold as
mankind itself, and sometimes it seems
impossible to find any answers at all.
An urge to explore a variety of answers and
ideas brought together a group of students that
could hardly have been more diverse. It turned
out that each participant currently lives and
works in a different cultural environment than
his or her own. Luiza, originally from a Brazilian
island, now lives in Paris, Gaspar from La Plata
is now in Cologne, Min-Chu from Taiwan is in
Lund, Sweden, Roman from Estonia in Helsinki,
Carolina from Bogota in Helsinki, Bernard and
Muse from Hong Kong are now in Adelaide,
Gege and Ivy from China is in Sydney, Ville
from Tuurku is now in Helsinki, Gwen from
Germany’s Lower Saxony lives in Lahore, and
Anke from Essen, Germany, is in Amsterdam.
Furthermore, not all of the students study
design related subjects, but they also came
from backgrounds such as pharmaceutics and
sustainable development.
After meeting together at the 4th Sustainable
Summer School on the small Finnish island of
Suomenlinna, the group began the workshop
with an inspiring discussion that covered
a number of aspects and ideas, including
experiences of individual ideas and moments
of happiness. Stereotypical approaches were
questioned, such as the idea of achieving
happiness through luxury and material wealth.
Proverbs and superstitions provided insights
into different cultural thought patterns. Some
aspects turned out to be opposites, yet they
constituted a path to happiness for different
individuals. Interesting points included:
HAPPINESS is about
Preserving cultures, social awareness and well
being, equity, human rights, fairness, spiritbody-mind, freedom, empowerment, admiration,
hope, community, care, belongings, peace of
mind, feeling alive, confidence, pleasure in the
moment, sustainability, symbiosis with nature,
valuing difference, ecology and nature, saving
the earth, giving and receiving.
Workshops Anke Bernotat, Gwendolyn Kulick // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
PROVERBS from different
cultures Included
• If your basic needs are fulfilled, go and find
your dream(s) (China)
• Broken pieces bring you luck (Germany)
Three special moments of happiness (China)
• Rain after a long drought
• Meeting an old friend far away from home
• The moment of getting married
• “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (Song by Bobby
PhILOsopherS view –
we learned that
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
• „No medicine cures what happiness cannot“
(Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
• “We are the creators of our own happiness”
(Paul Watzlavik)
• Bhutan has a “Gross National Happiness”
• “If happiness is not the aim of politics, then
what is?” (Foucault)
Thinkers and philosophers of earlier civilisations
provided further food for thought. Alain de
Botton, a contemporary philosopher and author
follows in their footsteps. In his documentary
series A Guide to Happiness he revisits the
ideas of six selected philosophers from different
While roaming around their original
environments and tracing their socio-economic
and political roles within their societies, he
makes their thoughts easier for us to grasp.
Some episodes provided us with more practical
advice than others.
Socrates firmly believed in logical thinking
and a conscious mind as it helps people to live
less conformist lives. He did not believe in the
democratic method of accepting majority opinion
as the correct path. Instead he offered a way
to gain more self-confidence by continuously
questioning common sense statements by
finding and evaluating exceptions.
Epicurus also had clear ideas about the
ingredients of a happy life: friends, freedom, and
an analysed life. Seneca proposes pessimism
in order to avoid disappointments. Montaigne
sees the root cause unhappiness in the fear of
being judged and discomfort with one’s own
body. He asks people to accept themselves
as human beings with minor mistakes and to
not be embarrassed about everyday issues like
digestion or sexuality.
Additionally, as an outspoken critic of colonial
conquest, which during his lifetime reached
its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries,
he encourages people to travel in order to
overcome prejudices. Nietzsche firmly believed
that without pain there is no gain in life. He
suggests we challenge hardships rather than
escape them by means of alcohol or religion.
Participants discussed aspects such as
luxury, monetary and material wealth, the
88 Workshops Anke Bernotat, Gwendolyn Kulick // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
luxury of time, relationships, and many more.
The peaceful setting on idyllic and quiet
Suomenlinna added to the discussion which
asked us to question our everyday lives in hectic
cities between work, deadlines, and our wish for
satisfactory leisure time.
In the end, there might have been more
questions than answers – perhaps it was the
best possible outcome. It shows that there are
many perspectives for finding happiness and
that attitudes can be re-evaluated, may change,
and thus trigger new approaches for designers
to develop solutions for a happier life.
The participants formed three groups. All
concepts resulted in holistic scenarios that
incorporated ecological, social, and economical
aspects of a sustainable lifestyle on multiple
Workshops // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
Allain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness
Allain de Botton, Status Anxiety
William Morris, Useful Work versus Useless Toil, Pinguin
Otl Aicher: The World as Design
Paul Watzlavik, Eine kurze Anleitung zum Unglücklich sein
Colors Magazine, Editions on:
Froh Magazine
by Carolina & Roman
IDEA: Suomenlinna Winter Island of Happiness
Underlying Ideas
Personality changes during the winter.
Friends, freedom, and self-reflection –
Epicurus’ three keys to happiness
Suomenlinna is empty during the winter.
What do you get there:
Play Time
When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or
creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences,
which helps to make new connections in the brain.
Connecting Time
When we connect with other people, in person, or
take time to appreciate our connection
to the natural world around us.
Reflective Time
When we quietly reflect, focusing on sensations,
images, feelings, and thoughts.
Slow-Down Time
When we are non-focused, without any specific
goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax,
which helps the brain to recharge.
Sleep Time
When we give the brain the rest it needs to recover
from the experiences of the day.
Proper Nutrition Time
Nourishing your body with healthy food will
enhance your physical and mental condition.
Being happy is easier than you think.
Physical Time
When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically
possible, which strengthens the brain in many
90 Workshops // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
Workshops // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
MINISTERY OF HAPPINESS – Embedding happiness in government and public life
by Gaspar, Ivy, Luiza, Minchu & Ville
REdiscovering HAppiness Journey
Target state
Happiness should be perceived as one of the basic
needs of life, just like food, water, and shelter.
We human beings are actually born with both the
ability and the need to be happy. It is just a fact
that most people have experienced happiness
in their lifetimes. Therefore, the target is first to
value happiness as importantly we value education,
economics, health, and the environment, which are
fundamental elements of an individual’s life and
a society as a whole. The second goal is to help
people regain or reinforce their ability to feel happy.
It is hereby decreed that, from now on,
there will be sunflowers on every windowsill,
that sunflowers have the right
to blossom in the shade;
and that windows will be opened all day long
to the green in which hope grows.
From needs to sustainable well-being
Fixed situation
When an individual has fulfilled the seven needs,
he is in a natural state of sustainable well-being.
If he/she does not achieve the spiritual needs by
realising the oneness of nature, he/she can never
be in a sustainable state of well-being; and that
means that if he/she does not consider himself/
herself as a part of nature, he/she will damage
himself/herself by damaging nature, and thus
break the sustainable state of well being.
Humankind must live sustainably in symbiosis with
nature in order to fulfil its part in the natural system
(cycle of life). We must act sustainably in order
to be in a state of well-being. Being sustainable
means preserving life, and this means acting as a
factor in the sustainable natural system (cycle of
life) and fulfilling the purpose of a single organism
in this bigger organism that is the planet Earth.
Then, and only then, will humankind sustain its role
in the cycle of life and at the same time achieve
the sustainable wellbeing of nature as a whole.
This means that the purpose of life is to
live in order to evolve. Evolution itself is caused
by entropy, the fact that everything is moving
towards greater disorder. Entropy is caused by the
expansion of the universe.
Because it is against the fundamental need of self
preservation (self destructive behaviour).
Since other living organisms do not have the ability
to live unsustainably, the sustainable well-being of
an individual will lead to sustainable well-being of
nature, aka: sustainable life on earth.
Thiago de Mello (Brazilian author
and rainforest activist)
Happiness is state of mind
involving well-being which
underlines every other
human emotion. It is a
sense of serenity, fulfilment,
peacefulness, connection with
our surroundings (nature), and
a basic human need. And if
this basic need is not reached,
human life is unsustainable, for
it means that humanity goes
against itself.
– Embedding happiness in
government and public life
Underlying Ideas:
“If happiness is not the aim of politics,
then what is?” – Foucault
Epicurus’ principles of happiness –
the three foundations of a happy life:
• Friends with whom you can share a meal
• Freedom from financial pressure
• Time to think about your life and nature
Small is beautiful
“The maximum amount of well-being with the
minimum amount of consumption” –
E.F. Schumacher
The rediscovering happiness journey
/ stRuctuRe
of HuMan
of HuMan
7 needs of HuMan Beings
7 needs of HuMan Beings
/ stoRYBoaRd
/ stoRYBoaRd //
Happiness is not about the destination but the
Biological Biological
Creatural Creatural
of human of human
Spiritual Spiritual
To not pursue or seek
happiness is to not fulfil a
basic need, and this will
make the human race
unsustainable, causing it to
RediscoveRing Happiness JouRneY //
eventually disappear. /
RediscoveRing Happiness JouRneY //
oR viRtuaL?
oR viRtuaL?
oR viRtuaL?
oR BotH?
RediscoveRing Happiness JouRneY //
RediscoveRing Happiness JouRneY //
RediscoveRing Happiness JouRneY //
oR BotH?
oR BotH?
92 Workshops // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
Workshops // 3.5. rediscovering happiness
by Muse Chui Ling Li, GegeXu, Lok Chung Ho
Who will be involved?
Our instructors can be experts capable of providing
workshops, knowledge, and skills.
Volunteers can come from the local community.
They can join our program and follow the truck to
other cities.
Our concept proposes a mobile truck that
educates people about connecting sustainability
and happiness with green activities, such as a
handicraft and gardening workshops.
Where will it happen?
This is our proposed route for Happy Green in
Helsinki city. When the truck passes through the
park in the city, we can stop and initiate workshops
at various locations.
What are our targets?
The goals to achieve in these workshops are:
1. Increasing public awareness
of natural recourses
When people have their lunch or dinner in the
restaurant, they might not finish their dishes, thus
producing food waste. The gardening workshop
will show them that growing food is not a piece
of cake. They will then begin to respect food and
reduce food waste. The handicraft workshop will
teach people recycling – such as old fabrics and
household goods – as well as new useful ways to
reduce waste.
2. Living in a green environment
Not every city can provide public green space, so
people can learn how to make their own private
gardens at home. They can improve their existing
living space to some extent by having more green.
3. Sharing and exchanging
experience and knowledge
Once the happy green workshop has started,
instructors, volunteers, and other people can
share and exchange their own experiences and
knowledge in our workshop.
4. Teaching these happy green
ideas to the others
We hope that they can share the green
experiences with their friends, family, and
neighbours in order to spread Happy Green ideas
after they finish the workshop.
After joining our workshop, they will live
increasingly sustainable lifestyles and feel happy.
How does it work?
In our system, old fabrics and household goods,
seeds, instructors and volunteers are our input. In
the workshop process, instructors, volunteers, and
participants will communicate with one another.
And Happy Green responds by educating the
public on ways to live more sustainable and happier
lives. Lastly, sharing and exchanging experiences
and knowledge is a key point in this process. The
output is living skills and happiness. Get a green
and sustainable lifestyle from the gardening and
handcrafts workshops!
Once Happy Green finishes its
mission in Helsinki, it can travel by
highway to another state in Finland
or even go to other European
cities. For example, Happy Green
will continue with the Helsinki
experience by learning from the
local people, then go to Paris to
share, exchange, and learn new
We proposed a few more trucks
travel in different cities throughout
the world, such as Cape Town,
Hong Kong, Sydney, New York,
and Rio de Janeiro. Happy
Green will provide non-stop
education, sharing, and exchange
between different places and
cities to promote our connecting
sustainability and happiness
concept around the world in an
unending loop.
94 Expert day Bernd Draser // 3.6. Reflections – The Advantage of Looking Back
Expert day Bernd Draser // 2.5. Reflections – The Advantage of Looking Back
Reflections – The Advantage
of Looking Back
Ever since the 1st Sustainable Summer School,
a typical day during the programme begins with
a morning reflection or ends with an evening
period of reflection lasting some minutes, usually
outside in the beautiful park at the Nikolaus
Monastery or on Suomenlinna Island, reviewing
the topics discussed during the sessions from
a more abstract and philosophical point of view,
thus opening new perspectives for the intensive
conceptual and creative work in the workshops
and teams. These reflections are not prepared
speeches, but touch on questions, remarks, or
suggestions made by participants.
As a philosopher, it is not my aim to
immediately utilise our mutual reflections, but I
instead seek to achieve a calm and distant look
back as a respite from the total immersion into
the topic. I attempt to foster my own individual
faculty of judgement with these reflections
that can contextualise design solutions within
their cultural meshwork. It is not my purpose
to provide irrevocable answers, but preliminary
impetuses to motivate further thought, research,
and dialogue. Here are just a few examples of
what we discussed on Suomenlinna Island.
What is happiness?
From the very beginning of European
philosophy, happiness has been a central issue
of thought and an endless amount of disputed
definitions and contradictory concepts have
been put forth. With few exceptions, there has
been considerable consensus that eudaimonia
(happiness) is one of the ultimate foundations
for all human pursuit that requires no more
justification. Aristotle and Plato completely agree
with Epicure, Montaigne, and Anglo-Saxon
Utilitarianism, but their concepts of happiness
are extremely different. Happiness is believed
to derive from accordance with the moral or
political or societal order, or it is believed to
result from unlimited individual freedom and
political independence. Other concepts link
happiness to the loss of fear and trust in a divine
The most antagonistic concepts are certainly
those of mitigation versus culmination. Mitigation
can be described as techniques of accumulating
only temperate pleasures and avoiding pain
or intemperate extremes – a low-key form of
happiness, as Epicure, the Stoics, Aristotle, and
the Utilitarianists represent in some variations.
On the other hand we have are concepts of
culminating intensities and ecstatic experiences,
which Nietzsche in particular supports, which
state that that suffering and happiness are
inseparably bound together.
During our reflections we agreed that none of
these concepts can claim absolute validity, for
happiness obliges each individual to experiment
with diverse strategies, doing justice not only
to his or her own character, but current and
ever-changing needs as well. And finally, it
seems that we are all designers of our own lives
when we strive for our individual techniques of
sustained happiness.
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
Bernd Draser
96 Expert day Bernd Draser // 3.6. Reflections – The Advantage of Looking Back
What do art and design
have in common?
Designers are currently overwhelmed with
complex responsibilities and are required to
assess the effects of their designs on complex
value creation chains. They are expected to
account for the impacts of their designs, be they
economic or cultural, environmental or social
in nature. The notion of design is obviously
expanding, and designers need to come to
terms with this expansion. But there is a striking
tendency to overfreight what was once a rather
harmless discourse: in the second half of the
18th century, continental philosophy discovered
arts and aesthetics as a subject. Art before
1750 can be described according to three
1. Plato proclaimed art as mimesis, as an
imitation of reality, thus implying art’s false
nature: artists are liars. Artists have struggled
with this verdict ever since – just think of
figurative versus abstract art. Aristotle tried
to ease the verdict by saying that art can also
imitate the potential of reality.
2. Prodesse et delectare: Roman poet
Horace wanted arts not only to be educative,
but also entertaining. Here I see parallels
to design: prodesse (“usefulness”) is the
function, delectare (“to entertain”) is the
aesthetic form.
3. Aesthetic judgements are only matters
of taste, not of rational arguments, and hence
irrelevant for philosophy.
But then, between 1750 and 1800, a
number of important books on aesthetics were
published, a major consequence of which was
the a rationalisation of aesthetic judgement;
suddenly art moved into the focus of philosophy.
Hegel, for example, argued that art had the
same function as religion in some historic
periods: provision of a complete explanation
and justification of the entire world, art meant
anything, and anything meant art. German
Romanticism took a strong position as well:
only art was believed capable of salvation, and
religion and art were no longer separable. And
only art can redeem a world of instrumentalised
rationalism, of science and industry, of the
technological subjugation of the world. The
similarities to designers’ current situation are
Of course art has not yet accomplished all of
these expectations, but it certainly has become
extremely sophisticated. In our discussions we
agreed that with this precedence in mind, it will
be much easier for current and future designers
to tackle the expanding notion of design.
How are design and
sustainability connected?
Sustainable development has become the
leading discourse of our time, and for good
reason: industrialised lifestyles developed by the
western world are hardly bearable in terms of
their input (resources) and output (emissions),
as well as their exploitive character in terms of
economics, ecology, society, and culture. In
order to sustain nature’s resources for future
generations, some significant shifts in our
lifestyles are unavoidable.
Design has been intimately ensnared in
lifestyles of industry and monoculture. In the
1920s, the German Bauhaus represented the
avant-garde of mass production, producing
in mass and for the masses. Despite of
all its aesthetic and technical innovations,
Bauhaus culture is one source of 20thcentury monoculture. During the Cold War,
consumerism endorsed western identity.
Design aided this purpose by “tarting up”
product surfaces and palliating commercial
messages in order to enforce consumption.
Designers saw themselves as the flippant
auxiliaries of marketing departments.
From the 1970s onward, the concept of
linear growth and consumerism developed a
shady reputation, and the idea of sustainable
development began to grow and assign
consumers – and especially designers –new
and unprecedented responsibilities.
Designers are required to assess the effects
of their design along complex value creation
chains. Designers are expected to account for
the impacts of their designs, be they economic
or cultural, environmental or social. Designers
are asked to convert products into services, to
change values, and to communicate the allure
of sustainable lifestyles.
Designers are thus rethinking the impact
of their work. What we do when we design?
We designate an object deliberately by
choosing a certain material and form, and by
designating a function. But at the same time
we designate an object unknowingly according
to our normative values, our imaginations and
cultural patterns, our concepts of the world,
and, finally, our position in the world. And there
is also a reverse effect: products do shape our
imaginations, our concepts of the world, and
our position in the world – our products design
us just as we design them.
Good design is able to handle all the
complexities that we face today and in the
future. Hence, sustainable design is more than
just one branch among others: Sustainable
design is good design, and good design is
sustainable design.
& Partners
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
100 Participants
& Partners Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen // 4.1. The Venue: Suomenlinna
The Venue: Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna maritime fortress, the venue of the
4th Sustainable Summer School, is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most
popular tourist attractions. Located on a group
of islands less than fifteen minutes by ferry from
the centre of Helsinki, the fortress attracts more
than 700,000 visitors each year. The number
of visitors is so high that both the surfaces of
the old fortress and the natural landscape suffer
from erosion caused by the tourist masses.
As most of the people visit the islands in the
summer season, there is a need to encourage
tourists to visit during the winter. The quest
for sustainable tourism, one of the workshop
themes at the 4th Sustainable Summer School,
is a crucial question for Suomenlinna.
Construction of the fortress of Suomenlinna,
an irregular network of bastions, started in the
eighteenth century as a means of defending
the eastern part of the Swedish Empire. The
majority of the buildings on Suomenlinna
date from the end of the Swedish era in the
latter part the eighteenth century. In the early
nineteenth century the fortress fell under
Russian rule, and it became a garrison island
charged with guarding the shipping channels
to St. Petersburg. During this time the fortress
was extended further. After Finland gained
her independence in 1917, Suomenlinna
became home to a coastal artillery regiment,
a submarine base, and a shipyard where ships
were built as a part of Finland’s war reparations
after the Second World War. The Governing
Body of Suomenlinna was set up in 1973 after
the military abandoned the fortress, and in 1991
UNESCO added Suomenlinna to its World
Heritage List.
The history of the islands raises questions
about the cultural dimensions of sustainability.
Over the centuries, Suomenlinna has a cted
as a catalyst for development as well as a hub
for knowledge transmission between different
cultures. As discussed in the Summer School
workshop “Sustainable Transition by Mobile
Services”, we now often expect technologies to
play such a role as transition agents.
Today Suomenlinna is the property of the
Finnish government and is managed as a
World Heritage site by the Governing Body
of Suomenlinna, an agency subordinate
to the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Suomenlinna is also a district of the city of
Helsinki with a permanent population of more
than 800 people – some of the families on
the islands are now raising their fourth or fifth
generations. Life on the Suomenlinna islands
requires inhabitants to adopt a slower pace –
something which was studied in the Summer
School’s ”Aesthetics of Simple Living” and
”Rediscovering Happiness” workshops. The
old buildings are used as apartments, working
spaces, maintenance facilities, and visitor
service facilities. A continuous building-repair
program balances restoration with the modern
use of structures from different eras, many of
which were originally designed for military use.
This restoration work requires considerable
expertise, but it also helps maintain knowledge
of centuries-old skills. For example, the
eighteenth-century dry dock on Susisaari Island
is still used as a repair facility for old wooden
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen, Aalto University
Participants & Partners Nina Gellersen, Luzius Schnellmann // 4.2. LUCERNE UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES AND ARTS
NINA GELLERSEN, Luzius Schnellmann
The School of Art and Design offers a range of
disciplines unmatched anywhere in Switzerland.
It is the country's oldest arts school with a
tradition spanning more than 130 years. The
school draws on an extensive network of
connections with faculty, students and projects
in Switzerland and abroad. Its selected bachelor
and master programmes and its twenty fully
equipped in-house workshops give it a name
in the fields of applied art and design affording
students the kind of skills that will help them
meet the challenges of this industry. This, in
turn, further boosts the school's reputation.
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
In our Masters Degree programme, we offer
students the opportunity to expand and hone
their creative abilities. Furthermore, they will
gain the required competence to position
themselves in the market and manage complex
processes. The programme thus enables them
to fulfil their roles in supporting and adding
value to the worlds of business, culture and
institutions, consciously and self-confidently.
Students are free to choose between seven
areas of specialisation, all of which explore the
creative process in depth. These are: Animation,
Graphic Design, Illustration, Product Design,
Service Design, Short Motion, and Textiles.
The Masters programme in Design is a
consecutive full-time educational programme,
with a standard period of study of three
semesters and accreditation of 90 ECTS
credits. The students conclude their studies with
the internationally recognised Master of Arts in
The specialisations enable the students firstly
to apply a strong focus towards their projects,
while nurturing discourse in small groups
within their own discipline. Secondly, the wide
spectrum created by the students and lecturers
in the Masters programme enables interdisciplinary projects, cross-subject exchange
and new networks to be created.
104 Participants
& Partners Anke Bernotat // 4.3. FOLKWANG UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS
Participants & Partners Bernd Draser // 4.4. Ecosign/Academy for Design
Ecosign/Academy for Design
Bernd Draser
Designers attended the School of Trades and
Applied Arts here even before the Folkwang
School of Music, Dance and Speech was
founded in 1927. Designers were closely
associated with other artistic fields in Folkwang
from the school's very beginning and in 1928
they formed the Folkwang School of Design
(Folkwangschule für Gestaltung). From 1948
to 1972, photographers, carvers, sculptors,
graphic designers, commercial artists, and other
artists shared the same roof with musicians,
dancers, and actors at the Benedictine Abbey
in Werden. However, it was not until 2007
that this school became an official part of
Folkwang University, including its programmes
in photography as well as communication
and industrial design. The school is currently
planning to move into the Zollverein complex.
Design at Folkwang University offers the study
in photography, communication and industrial
design, encourages cross-disciplinary work
with international partners and maintains close
contact with representatives from the areas
of commerce and industry, thus allowing the
'Folkwang idea' to promote realistic concepts
while vibrantly moving forward into the future.
Properly educated designers make
an important contribution to shaping our
environment by virtue of their comprehensive
manner of practical and critical thinking, their
sensibility, their capacity to imagine the future,
and their knowledge of culture, art, technology,
ergonomics, science, and the marketplace.
Folkwang University's design programme
aims to educate precisely these designers and
provide them with the foundation they require
to establish their own individual attitudes and
approaches to design – all within the context
of a unique cross-disciplinary course structure
that fuses theory with practice. Without design,
technological innovations are often of no use to
Through the integration of 'cultural quality',
design can discover applications for new
technical innovations.
Design serves as a link between technological
innovations and a cultural context. As both
catalyst and moderator, the designer oversees
the developmental process from initial
conception to the design of useful and relevant
products. In this fashion, designers combine
inspiration and anticipation to create innovations
oriented towards a specific context. Our working
group deals primarily with the integration of new
technological developments and conventional
techniques combined, most importantly, with the
possibilities and opportunities that these new
discoveries present both for today and in the
Sustainable design integrates ecological,
economic, and social interests in equal measure
in terms of both form and concept. In order to
implement these three competences into real
life solutions, a solid foundation in matters of
aesthetics, theory, and culture is indispensible.
This interdisciplinary foundation enables
complex ways of thinking for a complex world
that can help overcome simple linear ways of
thought. Ecosign/Academy for Design has
been educating professionals about sustainable
design since 1994.
Located in Cologne’s vivid and rapidly
developing Design Quarter Ehrenfeld, ecosign
offers full-time courses which award the student
a diploma in design. Design is presented in its
holistic context, and students receive intensive
training in technical processes, basic theory, and
handicraft skills while simultaneously learning
to transfer these skills to a more ecologically
responsible form of design.
The students learn to position themselves
as ecologically-aware and future-orientated
designers who function in an area at the
intersections of industry, consumers, and the
environment. They learn how to make effective
use of the world’s resources as well as all
possible solutions. Solutions must be found
which pose no threat to the environment yet
can still attract and appeal to consumers, thus
making them both practical and profitable for
Students are trained to think and act
cooperatively, to work in teams, and to
acquire the necessary qualifications needed
in a multinational society and an ever more
globalised world. All of the courses implement
the ecosign concept.
Theoretical courses include philosophy,
psychology, design theory, art history, and
design management. The skills acquired in
these courses are applied in various projects
which help prepare the students to become
successful designers. Design achievements are
made more complex through the added aspects
of ecology and philosophy. The conceptual
method of work increases quality while
opening up a range of new possibilities, and
personal interviews, presentations, and general
discussions of projects open up a variety of new
All in all, students receive a solid practical
education, a comprehensive overview of their
future profession, and all of the tools they need
to develop both responsible behaviour as well as
a keen sense of judgement.
106 Participants
& Partners Brigitte Wolf // 4.5. University of Wuppertal – Industrial Design Programme
University of Wuppertal
– Industrial Design Programme
Brigitte Wolf
The Industrial Design Programme at
Wuppertal University is characterised by
multidisciplinarity, internationality, and
practical relevance. An eight-semester
Bachelor programme, a three- to foursemester Master programme, and a Ph.D.
programme strengthen the academic profile
of the career.
Industrial Design (BA)
Industrial Design is a scientific and artistic
study programme. A scholarly and creative
Bachelor of Arts (BA) programme offers
students the possibility of specialising in:
• Technical products/product systems
• Strategic design
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Industrial
Design is a four-year programme, and
enrolment takes place each year beginning
with the winter semester. It offers a practical
university education in process-driven
product development and the development
of design strategies (focus: technical
products/product systems). The “Wuppertal
Models” offer the chance to enhance the
industrial designer’s core competencies by
introducing skills such as design thinking,
applied research, and strategy development
to his or her repertoire (focus: strategic
New ways of thinking are linked with
technical and design expertise. The design
programme connects future needs with
commercial business strategies as well as
economics. A course of studies in Industrial
Design at the University of Wuppertal – the
only university in Germany to offer a degree
in “strategic design” – means learning how
to develop innovations.
Participants & Partners Tiina Laurila // 4.6. Aalto University / CS programme
Aalto University
– creative sustainability programme
Tiina Laurila
Strategic Innovation in
Products and Services (MA)
In response to the market’s need for professionals
handling complex design strategies, the
interdisciplinary master programme “Strategic
Innovation in Products and Services” was launched in
the winter semester 2012/2013. The MA programme
is targeted at students who wish to add a focus on
strategic design management and integrative design
competences to their professional design skills. The
programme is open to students with an excellent
BA degree in design, engineering, or economics.
Strategic innovation is now a core competence for
successful design development in the interrelationship
between consumer desires, technological producibility,
and economic earning power.
Students work on projects in close cooperation
with global partners from the areas of industry and
design studios focusing on holistic, strategic solutions.
The programme offers the possibility of studying one
semester abroad at one of our partner universities.
Doctorate Study Programme
in Strategic Design
The option of obtaining a Ph.D. in design is one of the
unique offerings of the Wuppertal’s Industrial Design
department. In addition to individual coaching, doctoral
students regularly participate in doctoral seminars and
discuss their achievements. Their research projects
focus on the added value design can deliver to users
by investigating user behaviour, cultural diversity, and
sustainability. Design strategies and design culture
in small- and medium-sized companies are as also
major subjects of research. The Center for Graduate
Studies of Wuppertal University supports doctoral
students with special seminars to help them improve
their scientific research skills.
The master’s degree program in Creative
Sustainability is a multidisciplinary teaching
platform at Aalto University School of Arts,
Design and Architecture, School of Business
and School of Engineering. The CS program
is based on a number of disciplines: business,
design, real estate, urban planning, landscape
planning, and building design. The two-year
master’s degree program is a 120-ECTS
entity and the degree can be completed fully in
English. Approximately seventy students from
twenty-nine different countries have begun their
master’s studies in the CS program since it was
initiated in 2010.
The program’s unique interdisciplinary
structure enhances the understanding of the
working practices of sustainability experts from
various fields as well the skills of communication
involved in sustainability. Systems thinking and
the application of creative processes in problem
solving are regarded as essential for contributing
to sustainability. Both the Aalto University’s and
the program’s international networks encourage
a versatile international learning environment.
Teaching is strongly connected to practical
outcomes. Courses encourage students to solve
problems in developing world communities,
rethink urban sustainability in city planning
offices, promote new sustainable design and
entrepreneurship, and work with NGOs as well
new high-tech business.
Students can both broaden and deepen
their skills by choosing from multidisciplinary
course offerings. Students may mix and match
studies in sustainable product and service
design, business development, corporate social
responsibility, city planning, sustainable building
design, real estate economics, and landscape
planning in an international and interdisciplinary
learning environment. The first semester begins
with a mix of obligatory and optional courses
in sustainable development, of which some
are conducted in ongoing projects. During the
second semester, students can continue with
their optional courses, take part in current
projects, or begin work on their master’s thesis.
This program provides students with an
interdisciplinary approach to their own degree
with an emphasis on sustainable development.
Graduates may be employed by organizations
with strategies for developing their own
sustainability, such as businesses, organizations,
educational associations, and management. For
example, prospective positions are to be found
in design, management, and consulting in both
the public and private sectors.
108 Participants
& Partners Christa Liedke // 4.7. wuppertal institute
Participants & Partners // 4.8. CSCP
wuppertal institute
Christa Liedtke, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and energy
Sustainable development requires an integrated
approach to policy and science, as many of the
issues raised by sustainable development can –
not be addressed within a single department or
by using the tools offered by individual scientific
disciplines. This is where the Wuppertal
Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy's
research programme begins – by adopting
an interdisciplinary approach and working
towards systems research and understanding.
Applied sustainability research is the Wuppertal
Institute's stated mission.
The Wuppertal Institute explores and develops
models, strategies, and instruments that support
sustainable development at the local, national,
and international levels. Sustainability research
at the Wuppertal Institute focuses on ecology
and its relationship to economy and society.
Special emphasis is placed on the technological
and social innovations that decouple economic
growth from the use of nature and wealth and
on launching initiatives that address these
Research group 4 deals with service­oriented
sustainable production and consumption
systems and seeks to develop instruments,
concepts, and strategies that promote the
transition to more sustainable patterns of
production and consumption. Our research
focuses on the development and market launch
of products and services that are deemed
sustainable in terms of their entire life-cycles
as well as optimised production processes
throughout the entire added­value chain. Instead
of containing and supporting of mass flows that
are expensive in terms of cost, time, and nature,
research group 4's focus is directed towards the
needs and wants of clients and consumers and
creating eco­intelligent solution strategies.
The sustainable production and consumption
research group is convinced that making
markets and economies more sustainable
requires the optimisation of both production
and consumption patterns. One possibility of
achieving this goal is to initiate an exchange of
information between different institutions and
businesses which could contribute to integrated
sustainability in terms of both production and
The UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating
Centre on Sustainable Consumption and
Production (CSCP) provides scientific
support to activities undertaken in the field of
sustainable consumption and production. This
support includes the development, testing,
implementation and monitoring of concrete
projects, especially in developing countries.
As part of its activities, the CSCP also
aims to give sustainability a visual face. As
an introduction to the subject, the CSCP and
others organised the two-days conference 'The
Future of Sustainable Products and Services',
which was joined by the Summer School
students. Our researcher Satu Lahteenoja then
participated at the 1st Sustainable Summer
110 Participants
& Partners // Students
Luiza Barroso
Alisa Ceh
Yee Leng Chooi
Janina Clever
Martina Dahm
Anna Harmava
Ronja Hasselbach
Lok Chung Ho
Irina Krez
Johannes Kunz
Kim Lim Lau
Seungho Lee
Chui Ling Li
Tiffany Liew
Roman Lihhavtshuk
Riikka Manninen
Katie McClure
Gaspar Mostafa
Ville Murmann
Julianna Nevari
Carolina Obregon
Philip Oettershagen
Hesam Pakbeen
Tristam Pears
Izabella Rudics
Janne Salovaara
Tihana Sare
Dipti Sonawane
JiaHui Tang
Nicholas Torretta Baroneolli
Min-Chu Tung
Anna Varnai
Gege Xu
Amanda Österlin La Mont
Photo: Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen
Anna Totska