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DSGN 395: Introduction to Circular Design

Quarter Offered

Spring : TBD ;


No Prerequisites. Any formal or informal experience with design is helpful but not necessary. Open only to first- and second-year students from any major.


This is a hands-on, project-based studio course that uses design methods to address challenges defined under the circular economy. The circular economy is synonymous to sustainable and equitable societies and seeks to decouple economic growth and development from the consumption of finite resources. Circular design draws on circular economy principles to promote the elimination of waste and pollution, the reuse of resources, and the enhancement of natural systems, while creating environmental, social, and economic values.

The course introduces students to the opportunities and challenges of circular design through small group discussions, guest lectures and case studies. Students will learn about the core principles and strategies of circular design with particular emphasis on three strategies: product life extension, dematerialization, and use of circular materials. These strategies will be applied in individual and team assignments to help students develop basic insights into the complex interplay of factors that impact balancing environmental, social, and economic values in circular design. Working on multidisciplinary teams, students will employ one circular design strategy on a term project. Outcomes will include prototypes of solution pathways that aim to support environmental resilience, social impact, and economic feasibility. Back to top