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One System Affects All: Uncovering dynamic relationships across SDGs 11, 14 & 15

Format: Maps & Exhibits, Mapping Mondays, RSD12, RSD12 Maps & Exhibits, Topic: Socioecological Design

Mamta Gautam and Sneha Thakur

As we enter the VUCA* world, the complexity is growing exponentially. It is often difficult to comprehend the root cause of unintended consequences one encounters and experiences when working with a complex system.  With the growing nature of complexity, being able to map each component and understand each relation is overwhelming, time-consuming and maybe even counterproductive. This visual presentation demonstrates findings of integrating the basic principle of dynamic modelling into systems maps and modelling. Through this paper, the authors seek to state the case of using the positive (+) and negative relationships (-) in the map and discuss its advantages when applied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and desired behaviours.

Using the concepts of ‘(+)’ and ‘(–)‘ in the mapping, the students could establish the nature of dependency and clearly articulate the challenges the existing systems face. This was found to be effective in understanding the behaviour of the system. This presentation is an outcome of a systemic design course conducted at the National Institute of Design Haryana (NID), consisting of a deep dive into SDG localisation. As a project brief, the SDGs were organised into clusters of three correlated themes. As it is often difficult to address all the SDGs, the clustering of themes was indeed insightful in understanding the larger negative and positive relationships that co-exist and keep the system in play.

*VUCA is volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity

Based on the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021, industrial design students at the National Institute of Design Haryana were given a project brief on localisation of SDGs. The project brief was to identify opportunity areas and propose a systemic design. The current exhibit focuses on the initial phase of understanding sustainable development goals (SDGs) as an interconnected network of systems, their influence, and their impact on each other and arriving at a problem central to the desired behaviour. This paper discusses the mapping process and considers its efficacy as a tool from the point of view of the mentor and the student. The design solution arrived at from the analysis presented through the exhibit is outside the purview of this presentation.

RSD12 Exhibition link to browse and download maps




Citation Data

Author(s): Mamta Gautam and Sneha Thakur
Year: 2023
Title: One System Affects All: Uncovering dynamic relationships across SDGs 11, 14 & 15
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
Host: Georgetown University
Location: ONLINE
Symposium Dates: February 26–May 6, 2024
First published: 30 December 2023
Last update: February 01, 2024
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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