Carnegie Mellon University
tzuchaoc_Masters_Design_2019.pdf (19 MB)

Design for Empowerment: Bolstering Knowledge and Skills to Aid Sustainable Awareness and Actions

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posted on 2019-07-10, 19:30 authored by Tzu-chao ChouTzu-chao Chou
Over time, our lifestyles accrete habits and become rigid. While many behavior change projects focus on the active part of our daily practices, trying to foster incremental, micro-level behavior change, they often fail to facilitate lifestyle change in the broad sense due to the rigidity of our everyday lives.
For example, in aiming to enforce portion control, designers could focus on the size of a plate, but this interaction-driven approach frequently fails to encourage people to adopt a healthier eating style long-term. When looking at a challenge like aiding healthy and sustainable eating, there are many factors that warrant consideration in the process. The health, environmental, economical, and personal preferences of people all affect personal food-related practice. Therefore, how might design be used to empower people to adopt lifestyle change?
This thesis is an exploration of how design can be used to empower people to explore a new and effective lifestyle. It is not about persuading people to live a predetermined sustainable lifestyle, but rather equip people with knowledge and skills so that they can make conscious choices on the topic of sustainability. By drawing on social practice theory, transformational game design, and learning design, I explore how gaming principles can be leveraged to build a learning space for people to engage with knowledge about sustainability. This study culminates in a game prototype that aims to enable a lifestyle shift and further dialogue on what it means to design for everyday practice.




Degree Type

  • Master's Thesis


  • Design

Degree Name

  • Master of Design (MDes)


Stacie Rohrbach

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