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Creativity, Adaptability, Transition: Advancing Sustainable Development in the Built Environment through Transdisciplinary Architectural Design


Creativity, Adaptability, Transition: Advancing Sustainable Development in the Built Environment through Transdisciplinary Architectural Design

Geith, Rana and Goubran, Sherif ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2365-0351 (2022) Creativity, Adaptability, Transition: Advancing Sustainable Development in the Built Environment through Transdisciplinary Architectural Design. In: The fourth edition of the Artem international conference on Organizational Creativity and Sustainability (ARTEM OCC), March 2022, Nancy, France. (Submitted)

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Official URL: https://artemocc2022.sciencesconf.org/


The link between creativity, design thinking, and interdisciplinarity has been explored by Darbellay
et al. (2017). They proposed that the three dimensions are not contradictory, but instead, they form triadicfeedback loops that cannot be resolved in a unified synthesis. This triadic model underscores that, in fact,
the creative, interdisciplinary (or transdisciplinary) design thinking is an outcome of dialectic, or even
dialogical (Lybeck, 2010), processes among disciplines, stakeholders, the problem at hand, and the variety
of possible design solutions. Harvey (2014) proposes that this type of creative synthesis can only generate
breakthrough ideas if it integrates multiple understandings for the same problem. Specifically, in Harvey’s
(2014) model, breakthrough ideas require a context where ideas are enacted, similarities are built upon, and
collective attention is secured – and it is only through a sort of reflection in action (Schön, 1984) that
creative synthesis can generate exemplars that are iteratively improved until breakthrough.
With global population growth and urbanization trends rising (Department of Economic and Social Affairs
(Population Division), 2017; United Nations - Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population
Division, 2018), it is now imperative that we move towards a state of creative sustainability in the built
environment. The publication of the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) (United
Nations, 2015) has signalled a new course for practitioners, scholars, and designers by institutionalizing a
more comprehensive understanding of sustainable development, which is supported by clear targets and
indicators (Pedersen, 2018). While the SDGs are global in scope, their application requires action to be
taken on individual project levels, including building projects, on the local scale (T. Walker & Goubran,
2020). Most importantly, the SDGs enabled sustainability action to remain reliant on the interpretation of
the problems, along with the framing of the design problem (Goubran & Cucuzzella, 2019). Thus, it can be
argued that the SDGs have reframed the sustainable built environment challenge as a complex design
problem, open for interpretation, judgment, and theorization and leading to multiple solutions and
innovations (Nelson & Stolterman, 2012), that requires the synthesis of knowledge between a multitude of
disciplines (Kroes et al., 2008).
In this paper, we argue that architecture, as a field of research and practice, is both inductive and inclusive
of the creative transdisciplinary approaches needed to tackle sustainable development challenges in the
built environment (Goubran, 2018). The paper presents a theoretical development, followed by a synthesis
supported by published case studies. In essence, the paper capitalizes on the value of architecture as a transdisciplinary field that allows for transformative sustainable practices within the building and
construction industries. Thus, it establishes a scheme where architectural design, as a transdisciplinary field,
is an inclusive thinking process that has the potential to push boundaries of “just building” to “building

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors:Geith, Rana and Goubran, Sherif
ID Code:990428
Deposited On:31 May 2022 21:06
Last Modified:31 May 2022 21:06
Related URLs:
Additional Information:This is an extended abstract which was accepted to the conference and has been invited to be featured in a journal.


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