Educating Automotive Designers to Incorporate Sustainability in Their Designs

Beth Walker


Abstract:  This Pecha-Kucha will present an overview of the College for Creative Studies’ Color & Materials Library and its ongoing efforts to educate transportation design majors in the promotion, understanding, and uses of sustainable materials in automotive vehicle and other forms of transportation designs. Located in Detroit, Michigan, home to the “big three” of the automotive industry, (General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation), CCS is a private institution that offers world-class instruction in automotive vehicles, and is one of the few institutions in the world to grant both BFA and MFA degrees in transportation design.  The urban proximity  lends itself to a shared interest for research and knowledge, resulting in a long history of excellence and innovation that continues to this day.

Recently, the automotive has re-invented itself in order to respond to consumer demands, and now has a focus on using sustainable materials in design and manufacturing.  Thus, CCS is well poised to encourage and promote the use of sustainable materials in its students’ designs.  This presentation will outline the collaborative work of the College and industry in these efforts, and present CCS librarians’ specific strategies for using these resources in the pursuit of responsible design.

Research questions: How can librarians educate students to choose sustainable materials in their designs, and encourage a climate of thinking that lends itself to responsible design?  How can librarians promote use of sustainable materials in the execution of design?  How can responsible design lead to the increased manufacture of sustainable products?

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Tom Roney, Department Chair, Transportation Design, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI. (personal communication, 2013).


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