Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Industrial Design


Industrial Design

First Advisor

Verena Paepcke-Hjeltness


It is a shared opinion that sustainability designers, regardless of their domain of specialization, need to reframe their traditional modus operandi to adapt practices that are less harmful. This is due to studies that continue to indicate that traditional design practices and outcomes greatly contribute to environmental, social, and economic degradation. Design for sustainability in itself is not a new concept; it has been extensively explored and a plethora of methods, tools, and approaches have emerged from its practice. Even more interesting is its integration in design education. Currently, methods of certifying, refining, and tracking the integration of sustainability in design education are increasing in the western world; however, studies that explore these concerns in other parts of the world are still scarce.

This research sought to explore the implications of sustainability in design education in developing countries with the intention of understanding fundamental dynamics that exist at the intersection of local design perceptions�� and sustainability. Capitalizing on the researcher’s background, the preliminary study was carried out in the Department of Creative Design program at the University of Rwanda. Using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology, design students were invited to take part in a design workshop that focused on using design for sustainability methods to address varying concerns in their surroundings. Data was collected at varying stages of the workshop using mixed methods and tools.

Analysis of the data collected indicated that though the Department of Creative Design in Rwanda did not have systematic integration of aspects of sustainability in its curriculum, both students and instructors expressed positive perceptions and enthusiasm towards incorporating approaches of Design for Sustainability curriculum. Furthermore, direct structures including cultural, political, economic, geographical, and historical contexts were shown to play significant roles in participant’s awareness and definition of sustainability.

Copyright Owner

Aziza Cyamani



File Format


File Size

103 pages