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RSD12-Turin: Localising Systemic Change


Systemic design for territorial enhance­ment and industrial innovation

Hosted by Sys_Lab, Politecnico di Torino and Circolo del Design | October 16, 2023 | Location: Circolo del Design | Turin, Italy

Upheavals in geopolitical tensions, climate change, and technology advancements radically affect networks and value chains. In Italy, these macro-trends, and the resulting transformations, are being met with strategic innovation and design-led approaches—with the aim of bringing value back to the territories, preserving their cultures and creating resilient ecosystems. Systemic design, as a framework capable of holding geospatial economic development with locality, can be the key to localising systemic change within the driving context of regional economics.

We ask: How might systemic design initiate and support structural changes by valuing territorial/regional assets, whether historically rooted or yet to be unlocked, to design solutions specifically tailored for these contexts?

Call for Contributions | Deadline for abstracts May 31 | Complete submissions due June 15 | Registration coming soon

RSD12-Turin Setting

The event will be hosted at Circolo del Design, a renovated space enclosed in the ancient courtyard of Palazzo Costa Carrù della Trinita in Turin city centre. The locale is well known within the Turin design community because it hosts talks, exhibitions, and workshops and contributes to spreading the design culture, fostering the connections between design skills and the productive, social, and cultural surroundings.

RSD12-Turin is organised by the scientific coordination of Sys_Lab, a research group within Politecnico di Torino. Sys Lab and Circolo del Design will closely collaborate on making systemic design impacts that resonate within our communities and beyond.


The RSD12 call for contributions is now open and accepting submissions for papers, online workshops, and exhibits related to “localising systemic change.”

Localising systemic change will delve into work that integrates spatial thinking and analysis with systems thinking and design principles. These approaches often employ geospatial data and technologies; however, elements such as location, size, history, and culture can influence systems’ behaviours, interactions, and dynamics, and design brings an integrated and holistic perspective to territorial enhancement and industrial innovation.

  • How are we building resilient local ecosystems together with the local stakeholders?
  • What are the contexts and boundaries for systemic change?
  • What are the initiatives and activities needed to activate a systemic change?

This focus area is inspired and supported by Sys_Lab, a research group within Politecnico di Torino that has been exploring systemic design methods and tools for sustainability and the circular economy for over ten years. Contributors to this focus might consider the Sys_Lab methodological framework in the organisation of their paper (Sys_Lab, n.d.).

  1. The holistic diagnosis of the current scenario, considering both the surrounding context and the flows of energy and matter
  2. The identification of challenges and opportunities of the current scenario and its flows
  3. The design of a new systemic model based on relationships between processes and actors, which optimises information, energy and material flows and gives value to waste as resources
  4. The identification and study of the new outcomes generated by the new systemic model
  5. The validation of the system by demonstrating its feasibility and by implementing the project in the specific context


Sys_Lab. (n.d.). The Methodology.

RSD Examples

Barbero, S., & Pereno, A. (2019). A Systemic District for Sustainable Tourism. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD8) Symposium.

Barbero, S., & Pereno, A. (2022). Designing Open Innovation Ecosystems for Small and Medium Enterprises. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD11) Symposium.

Battistoni, C., & Barbero, S. (2018). Systemic Design for Sustainable Territorial Development. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD7) Symposium.

Boehnert, J. (2017). Designing the Ecocene: Mapping the Political Economy of Design. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD6) Symposium.

Nohra, C. G., & Barbero, S. (2018). Post-industrial areas on the lens of Systemic Design towards flourishing urban resilience. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD7) Symposium.

Pereno, A., Aulisio, A., & Barbero, S. (2021). Design Circular Colours: A cross-sectoral project for the systemic design of regional dyeing value chains. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD10) Symposium.

Sedini, C., D’Ambrosio, S., Pei, X., & Zurlo F. (2022). A Systemic Approach to Proximity Through Design for Relations. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD11) Symposium.


RSD12-Turin is a collaboration between Sys_Lab, Politecnico di Torino and Circolo del Design.

Silvia Barbero |

Eliana Ferrulli |

Mariapaola Puglielli |

Sara Fortunati |


The programme and schedule are in development. In the meantime, you can add this reminder to your calendar.


The budget and fees are in development.

About the organisers

RSD12-Turin Hub is an initiative of the Sys_Systemic Design Lab, in collaboration with Circolo del Design. The group is collaboratively designing and hosting a series of events thanks to the collaboration of design professors, researchers, and practitioners.

Sys Lab (Politecnico di Torino)

Silvia Barbero, Professor of “Open Systems” and Chair, Systemic Design Association

Eliana Ferrulli, PhD researcher in Circular Textiles

Mariapaola Puglielli, Research Fellow

Circolo del Design

Sara Fortunati, CEO of Circolo del Design

circolo del design
Politecnico di Torino crest established 1859
systemic design lab

This is the second RSD symposium hosted by Politecnico di Torino.

RSD7 – Challenging Complexity by Systemic Design towards Sustainability

Editor & Chair: Silvia Barbero, Politecnico di Torino

The RSD7 symposium was held at the Politecnico di Torino, 23rd-28th October 2018, for the first time in Italy, defining an important collaboration among the institutions that founded the Systemic Design Research Network (SDRN) in 2012. Not by chance, this symposium has seen the official establishment of the Systemic Design Association (SDA), with a public announcement during the first day. A new phase of the association of the RSD symposiums started by proposing an inclusive approach to expand the membership and engage different systems- and design-oriented professionals and researchers while looking after a strong identity of systemic design as a discipline.


Copyright Information

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (ISSN 2371-8404) are published annually by the Systemic Design Association, a non-profit scholarly association leading the research and practice of design for complex systems: 3803 Tønsberg, Norway (922 275 696).


Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested citation format (APA)

Author(s). (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD##. Article ##.

Publishing with RSD

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design are published online and include the contributions for each format.

Papers and presentations are entered into a single-blind peer-review process, meaning reviewers see the authors’ names but not vice versa. Reviewers consider the quality of the proposed contribution and whether it addresses topics of interest or raises relevant issues in systemic design. The review process provides feedback and possible suggestions for modifications.

The Organising Committee reviews and assesses workshops and systems maps & exhibits with input from reviewers and the Programme Committee.

Editor: Cheryl May
Peter Jones
Ben Sweeting

The scholar’s spiral

In 2022, the Systemic Design Association adopted the scholar's spiral—a cyclic non-hierarchical approach to advance scholarship—and in 2023, launched Contexts—The Systemic Design Journal. Together, the RSD symposia and Contexts support the vital emergence of supportive opportunities for scholars and practitioners to publish work in the interdisciplinary field of systemic design.

The Systemic Design Association's membership ethos is to co-create the socialization and support for all members to contribute their work, find feedback and collaboration where needed, and pursue their pathways toward research and practice outcomes that naturally build a vital design field for the future.


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