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Using systems thinking to investigate the sustainability of digital fabrication projects in the humanitarian and development sector

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

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Type

Conference Object

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Authors

Corsini, L 

Abstract

Recently, designers have started using digital fabrication to create new solutions to meet global challenges. However, many technology projects in the humanitarian and development sector have been criticised for failing to deliver sustainable solutions. This study responds to these concerns by investigating the sustainability of digital fabrication projects in the humanitarian and development sector. A systems approach is used to synthesise knowledge from 14 digital fabrication projects in healthcare, education and water and sanitation. Causal loop diagrams are created to investigate the relationships between the drivers and barriers to sustainability. Several systems archetypes are also identified revealing potential leverage points for driving more sustainable solutions. The paper contextualises these findings by drawing on theories from participatory development and cosmopolitan localism. It concludes that digital fabrication presents an opportunity for more local and participatory design; however, sustainability is being undermined by a tendency to seek short-term solutions.

Description

Keywords

3503 Business Systems In Context, 35 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services, 3507 Strategy, Management and Organisational Behaviour

Journal Title

International Journal of Business and Systems Research

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1751-200X
1751-2018

Volume Title

16

Publisher

Inderscience Publishers