DESIGN 102G : Design for Sustainable Futures

Creative Arts and Industries

2022 Semester One (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

New opportunities are continually emerging in the field of design. This course introduces design as strategy, demonstrating how contemporary design practices have evolved, responded to, and influenced change. By developing a design project that responds to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, students will learn how design thinking complements current practice and expands career prospects.

Course Overview

The emphasis throughout the course is on design as mindset, process and strategy – while students will engage in supplementary visual communication activities, this is not the focus of the course, and no design software skills will be taught in class.

This course has three main themes of 'exploration', 'speculation', and 'application'. The first theme is an opportunity to explore historical design approaches to analyse their formal characteristics, and social and environmental impacts. Students gain insight into what motivates designers, what tools they use, and how they collaborate in diverse contexts. 

This informs the second stage of the course where students will learn how to speculate on the potential conditions, causes and contingencies for future design practices. Students will experiment with developing future scenarios and aspirational career profiles based on current interests, fields of study, predicted trends and potential collaborations. 

For the third theme, students will apply analytical and practical design methods to prototype a solution inspired by their future scenario and profile. This will be an opportunity to experiment with concepts not limited to current circumstances and a chance to demonstrate how an understanding of design can be integrated into industry to enhance career prospects and positively impact society. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: BDES

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify and analyse a selection of critically recognised design solutions using research methods and evaluation techniques introduced. (Capability 1.2, 1.3, 4.1 and 6.1)
  2. Research and present a design solution in response to a given global challenge for a specific social context (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 6.1 and 6.2)
  3. Demonstrate a familiarity with design as a socio-technical phenomenon and formulate a position in relation to this (Capability 1.2, 2.1 and 4.1)
  4. Demonstrate familiarity with iteratively developing a design project while documenting a process and its evolution through successive prototypes (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Design Reviews 30% Individual Coursework
Speculative Design 50% Group Coursework
Design Profile 20% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Design Reviews
Speculative Design
Design Profile

Teaching & Learning Methods

Each week there will be a one-hour lecture and a two-hour design tutorial scheduled to include activities such as project workshops, industry demonstrations, and feedback sessions. 

Teaching and Learning methods are active, experiential, collaborative, and project-based. Lectures introduce key concepts, tools and readings following a one-to-many format with opportunities for wider discussions amongst students, tutors and guest speakers. These lectures are recorded for remote viewing. Students are exposed to design thinking systems through the use of templated tools that break projects down into structured phases using a 'learning-by-doing' model. 

A flipped classroom methodology is employed to allow students to engage in deep discussion with tutors and classmates during tutorial time while they work with tools and concepts introduced in earlier sessions. Templated project phases and analytical tools worked on in class are accessible remotely and can be completed outside of class in an asynchronous, collaborative online environment. Students are able to discover issues, innovate solutions, and bring questions to tutorials for analysis with tutors and classmates.

Students are expected to attend every week, as each session has been designed to equip students with the necessary skills to complete all assessment activities to receive a passing grade. A thoughtful and active engagement in workshops and feedback sessions will contribute to achieving higher than a passing grade. Asynchronous online collaborative tools allow students to catch up on work through communication and co-operation with tutors and teammates.

The major assessment task is a group project, which has been designed using a constructivist  methodology to encourage peer-to-peer learning, cross-pollination, diversity of perspective, robust thinking, and the development of soft skills. Opportunities for assessable peer feedback have been built in to ensure parity,  encourage co-operation and build empathy. Assessments also provide the opportunity for individual reflection on the success of designs and learnings made throughout the course.

A tuakana–teina relationship is fostered between tutors and students through the tutors' roles as advisors and critical friends throughout all phases of design projects. A creative, safe, and convivial atmosphere is encouraged through the integration of karakia into tutorials and an emphasis on manākitanga and fun.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 1 hour of lectures, a 2 hour tutorial, 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 5 hours of work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for all assignment presentations.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

A laptop is highly recommended to bring to lectures and tutorials. This will allow students to individually engage in research, design and development activities.

An A4 sketch pad and drawing materials are essential tools for designers. It is good practice to be able to quickly record ideas through writing and sketching as well as collecting and pasting items found that are relevant or inspiring.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.