Michiel Schwarz


Social design thinking, doing and sharing. That is what the Open Sustainist Design project is all about.

It sets out to bring together ‘best practices’ and it invites insights and ideas for social design in different contexts— from urban life and architecture, to energy, food, and the environment.


sustainist design symbols - Sustainist Design symbols from the book 'Sustainism is the New Modernism'. Joost Elffers

Design does not happen in a vacuum. Applying design methods and design thinking to societal challenges requires a relevant framework that provides context for the addressing the issues of today.

Designing for a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before, requires an integrative perspective. We view social design from the cultural perspective of “Sustainism”.

Sustainism is the new “ethos for design” (as the New York Times has called it). It has evolved out of the combination of global connectivity, localism, and sustainability.

Although “Sustainist culture” clearly connects to the sustainability movement, it’s much more than “green.” Sustainism is a mindset that is as much concerned with the internet, social media, open-source and global connectivity.

Sustainism is also the culture of sharing and networking, and involves new approaches to community and our sense of the local.

The emerging culture of sustainism has been called the new “operating context” of our time. It reframes the issues and provides new insights and opportunities for social design.

The design challenges we pose are open invitations in “sustainist design thinking” and “sustainist design practice.”

Open Sustainist Design provides a platform for sharing past experiences and for charting the future for social design.

The Open Sustainist Design website is coming up soon (March 2012).