Data Visualization for Behavior Change and Sustainable Cultures   

The climate crisis has presented wicked problems around the world.  While some designers attempt to create new eco-products and green designs to minimize impact, the real issue designers need to tackle is human behavior change to create cultures of resiliency, regeneration, and respect. Visualizations of climate data can help us understand numbers and concepts that are otherwise too big to comprehend.  Data visualizations can also help to illuminate patterns to understand behaviors, both by individuals and groups, that can help encourage behavior change and shifting cultures.  This presentation presents a number of examples by artists, designers, and engineers who all try to use data visualizations to encourage behavior change in the context of climate change.  Theories of behavior change, habit, psychology and rhetoric towards sustainability are interwoven with examples of various projects.  Examples show different issues – water levels, carbon emissions, energy consumption, trash tons and others, across individual, community, and collective scales.  In the end, all of these projects show us that data can make us understand, data can make us feel, and data can make us want to change, but we must be the ones to make the choice to change.  

Rachel Beth Egenhoefer is a Professor of Design at the University of San Francisco where she teaches courses in Sustainable Design, Systems Thinking, Design Activism and others.  She is the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design and has written and spoken extensively about sustainability and design education.  As a thought leader and organizer she has produced many events and serves as the moderator for Compostmodern with AIGA SF.

Learn more about World Interaction Design Day (IxDD) 2020 on CULTURE and SUSTAINABILITY here: