Chapter 6Implications for Design

Scarcity pushes us to see resources as part of a network of social and temporal relationships, into which the designer intervenes………Design becomes concerned with the temporal life of objects, with what comes before and after the instant of completion… under conditions of scarcity takes on an ethical dimension because the construction of scarcity often leads to an inequitable distribution of resources.

(Jeremy Till1)

In The Science of the Artificial, Herbert Simon describes design as ‘the process by which we devise courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.’2If we wish to create a more ecologically grounded built environment, based on circular approaches, we need not only to design buildings that perform better with regards to resource use, but, more fundamentally, to devise a system and infrastructure that will achieve this. Two aspects need to be addressed:

  1. From the demand side, the building procurement and design community needs to review and adapt conventional practices in order to increase demand for, and effectively integrate, reclaimed materials and components.
  2. From the supply side, the reclaimed material sector needs to revise its processes and marketing to improve security of supply, information, standardization, and communications, so that it finds a broader audience for its products.

Both aspects need different responses and appropriate processes. This chapter explores the characteristics ...

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