Anders HAUG and Jacob BUSCH
Since Victor Papanek in 1991 addressed the social responsibility of (industrial)
designers, a plethora of books and papers on aspects of socially responsible
design has emerged. However, this literature is far from having solved the
environmental and social problems faced by the world today. In this vein, this
paper focuses on a major problem for many socially responsible design
initiatives, namely that, although they may be the result of the best of
intentions, many of these involve a danger of doing unintentional harm. On
this basis, the paper raises the question ‘how to avoid that socially
responsible designs end up doing more harm than good?’ The question is
addressed by defining the different levels of uncertainties associated with
such projects, and by arguing for a consequentialist ethics to govern socially
responsible design in the future.
PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014
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