Symbiotic Design Practice
: Designing with-in nature

  • David Sanchez Ruano

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Human culture has recognized the damage being caused to our environment and is in the process of transitioning toward sustainable systems. Design disciplines and environmental studies are engaging in alternative ways to support a sustainable world and, to a large extent, on resolving the disconnection between humans and nature. The conceptualization of Symbiotic Design proposed in this research, facilitates theoretical-practical reflections and recognizes that learning through closer association with the natural world can trigger innate responses and enhance human creativity. Designers need to have an understanding of these concepts to allow them to design in an ecologically conscious way.

    Using biophilia, biomimicry and resilience thinking as core eco-techniques, the research develops a series of teaching/learning practices that aim to enhance the embodiment of design with-in nature. This Symbiotic Design Practice process was developed, tested and evaluated across a sample of undergraduate and postgraduate design students. Text, visuals and workshop activities evolved through a method of action-based cycles. In essence, the research proposes a new eco-pedagogical strategy that facilitates nature-based experiences and behavior change toward an ecologically conscious design culture.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsConsejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia Mexico
    SupervisorFraser Bruce (Supervisor) & Jeanette Paul (Supervisor)


    • Symbiotic Design
    • Biomimicry
    • Biophilia
    • Resilience thinking
    • Ecological design
    • Eco-pedagogy

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