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systemic design

About RSD and Systemic Design

by | Systemic Design

This website brings together RSD and systemic design in a continuously updated repository. Articles are updated with the proceedings of the annual Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium, RSDx sessions, and other Systemic Design Association (SDA) events. It serves as a searchable repository of peer-reviewed work in systemic design. SDA also publishes Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal.

If you are looking for a specific article and need help finding it, please contact Cheryl May, RSD Editor.

Through the initiatives of the Systemic Design Association’s (SDA) board of directors, host organisations, systemic designers and researchers, the RSD archives represent a repository for hundreds of independently produced contributions within the development of the systemic design field. RSD symposia have been hosted by organisations in Canada, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Getting started

The collection’s genesis goes back to the first RSD, organised by Birger Sevaldson as a graduate seminar at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). Since then, the annual call for contributions has received many submissions representing leading research and cases in systemic design and related design and systems disciplines. The discourse community was formalised when a small group connected AHO and OCAD University to form the Systemic Design Research Network to advance systemic design as an integrated design discipline. Then, in 2018, in conjunction with RSD7, the Systemic Design Association was formed, and its first general assembly at Politecnico di Torino and announced at the symposium. Today, the SDA is a democratic, non-profit scholarly association based on academic and industry relationships and invites faculty and students worldwide to become members, participate in events, and share research.

Each year, the RSD symposium acts as a capstone event in the systemic design community. A scientific review committee for each RSD symposium provides the capacity and expertise required to review and comment on submissions. The contributors present their work, introducing new studies, theoretical work, and practices from various disciplines. The presentations represent complex design issues, social systems and complex policy, socioecological sustainability, critical cultural and development perspectives, and emerging techniques and methodology. Finally, the SDA produces annual RSD proceedings as a unique collection of contributions and editorials by the chair(s).

As a next step, SDA editors collaborated with She Ji, Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, FormAkademisk, Research Journal of Design and Design Education, and interdisciplinary journals such as the Strategic Design Research Journal. In 2022, SDA launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal, an open-access, peer-reviewed research journal supported by members of the Systemic Design Association. It is the first journal dedicated to scholarly reporting and research studies in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design. The journal is dedicated to systemic design and innovation, design process, and design thinking in today’s complex sociotechnical environment.

Committing to a systemic design resource

In 2021, Cheryl May and Peter Jones collaborated on a project to move the archive to the searchable format you are now experiencing as This move toward a robust, searchable repository signals the SDA’s commitment to maintaining an authoritative source for hundreds of systemic design presentations, papers, and systems maps. Furthermore, SDA licenses all work under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Systemic designers—academics, practitioners, and researchers—collectively contribute to furthering systemic design as an interdiscipline that joins systems thinking to design methodology. The aims of the RSD collection include supporting an international knowledge-sharing network of systemic designers. Through the RSD symposia, the SDA advances design practice to lead programs of strategic scale and higher complexity (e.g., social policy, healthcare, education, urbanisation), adapt systems thinking methods, and creatively push the boundaries beyond the popular modes of systems dynamics and soft systems.

Updated October 22, 2023 | CM

Systemic Design Association

SDA is a membership organization registered with the Brønnøysund Register Centre in Norway.

The first RSD symposium was held in 2012 at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Mieke on-campus and online

RSD10 Hybrid Event hosted by TU Delft, The Netherlands.

RSD5 guest

The systemic design community gathering at RSD5.

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