Evolving a design driven ‘hybrid’ research approach to inform and advance sustainable outcomes in the built environment sector
Wilson, Kimberley J., Desha, Cheryl, & Miller, Evonne (2014) Evolving a design driven ‘hybrid’ research approach to inform and advance sustainable outcomes in the built environment sector. In Proceedings of the DRS 2014 Conference in Umeå, Design Research Society, Umeå, Sweden.
A significant reduction in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a priority, and the preservation of existing building stock presents a significant opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of our built environment. Within this ‘wicked’ problem context, and moving beyond the ad hoc and incremental performance improvements that have been made to date, collaborative and multidisciplinary efforts are required to find rapid and transformational solutions. Design has emerged as a strategic and redirective practice, and lessons can therefore be learned about transformation and potentially applied in the built environment. The purpose of this paper is to discuss a pragmatic and novel research approach for undertaking such applied design driven research. This paper begins with a discussion of key contributions from design science (rational) and action research (reflective) philosophies in creating an emerging methodological ‘hybrid design approach’. This research approach is then discussed in relation to its application to specific research exploring the processes, methods and lessons from design in heritage building retrofit projects. Drawing on both industry and academic knowledge to ensure relevance and rigour, it is anticipated that the hybrid design approach will be useful for others tackling such complex wicked problems that require context-specific solutions.
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