Design For Human And Planetary Health: A Transdisciplinary Approach To Sustainability
Free (open access)
D. C. Wahl
This paper explores various integrative frameworks that are contributing to an emerging transdisciplinary meta-perspective on sustainable development. It proposes a holistic/integral strategy based on scale-linking design for human and planetary health: First, ‘Integral Theory’, ‘Spiral Dynamics’ and ‘Integral Ecology’ are briefly reviewed as dynamic mapping methodologies to structure, facilitate and mediate between diverse value systems and perspectives of multiple stakeholders and disciplines. Changes in worldview, value system, and intentionality are crucial to the emergence of a sustainable civilization. Second, design is described as a transdisciplinary integrator and facilitator of informed decision making in the face of uncertainty. Design for systemic health can catalyse the sustainability transition. Third, the paper outlines how complexity theory, combined with a holistic conception of health, informs a scale-linking approach to sustainable design. Systemic health is a scale-linking, emergent property of healthy interactions and relationships within complex dynamic systems. The health of human beings, societies, ecosystems and the planetary life support system is fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. Sustainability, as a process of community-based learning, is expressed through design that is informed by ecological principles and adapted to local, regional and global limits and opportunities. In general, sustainable design is synergetic, symbiotic, scale-linking, salutogenic and sacred. There is a need to integrate ecological, social, cultural, economic and psychological (spiritual) considerations into a flexible and responsive strategy to facilitate the sustainability transition. Design for human and planetary health requires a transdisciplinary dialogue aiming for appropriate solutions and community-based visions of sustainability. Keywords: scale-linking design, complexity, integral ecology, salutogenic design, transdisciplinary integration, health, sustainable civilization, vision.
scale-linking design, complexity, integral ecology, salutogenic design, transdisciplinary integration, health, sustainable civilization, vision.