94618 - Sustainable Services Design

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: - has the basic knowledge on the methods and techniques for designing an innovative service in the field of sustainability. In particular, it is capable of addressing the issues of sustainability and, more generally, the context of the Circular Economy, providing indications on how to create, organize and develop service projects that have a real impact on the ecosystem, through the adoption of an experiential learning path centered on the one-to-one correspondence between knowledge and know-how. This objective is pursued by correlating the theoretical contents with the practical dimension of knowledge associated with the technical and economic feasibility of specific case studies that are intended to be developed within the initiatives underway or planned by the University of Bologna on the subject of sustainability

Course contents


Course objectives:

The course has a dual objective: on the one hand it is intended to provide basic knowledge on the methods and techniques that guide the choices in the field of eco-sustainable design within a paradigm that links the social, economic-financial dimension and technique of an intervention with its impact in terms of environmental quality and well-being of the inhabitants; on the other hand, to acquire the conceptual tools that oversee the design choices in accordance with a vision that is based on zero land consumption and on the "service" condition that defines a new model of residential building development. At the end of the course, the student has the basic knowledge necessary to address the issues of eco-sustainable design - from the urban scale to the building one - extended to that of services - with a vision that relates the social, economic-financial and technical dimension of an intervention with its impact in terms of environmental quality and well-being of the inhabitants. In particular, he will have acquired the principles of Circular Economy, Human Centered Design and Cognitive Ergonomics, based on a heuristic approach of the operational implementation methods of design choices, following an experiential learning path focused on one-to-one correspondence between knowing and knowing how to do.

Course Program:

The course is divided into a theoretical and an applicative part. The theoretical part is aimed at providing the principles and criteria of sustainable design described above. The application part, carried out in the form of exercises within the laboratory activities, concerns the analysis and development of actions related to selected case studies.

In particular, the theoretical part will address the following issues:

• Human Centered Design and Design Thinking.

• Paradigms and models for construction in the circular economy era.

• The residential building heritage of the second half of the twentieth century in Bologna.

• The Rebuilding to Regenerate model.

• The Digital Twin of urban suburbs.

The laboratory part, carried out in working groups, is divided into two parts: the first concerns the analysis methodologies for the definition of the selection criteria of the urban blocks under study and the methods of use of the related information tools, from the urban scale of the GIS up to the building one of the performance evaluation; the second focuses on the formulation of design solutions related to the scale of the urban block and based on the premise of building replacement with zero land consumption and integration with services.


A. Rizzo, Ergonomia Cognitiva. Dalle origini al Design Thinking, Il Mulino, 2020.

F.M. Butera, Affrontare la complessità. Per governare la transizione ecologica, Edizioni Ambiente, 2021.

Teaching methods

The theoretical part, carried out in the form of lectures, develops in parallel with the activation of the laboratory part following a learning path that combines the acquisition of conceptual tools with that of their translation into design actions. In this phase of learning, the direct relationship of the teacher assumes great importance in the theoretical treatment of the issues as a foundation for the development of critical thinking in identifying solutions.

Upon request, it is also possible to use the results produced as a basis for study aimed at developing the thesis work.

Assessment methods

The final test consists of an oral interview and the production of a paper drawn up in the form of a descriptive report of the investigation path followed and of the activities developed during the course. In particular, the student will have to elaborate a critical judgment of his own experience highlighting the methods and the degree of achievement of the predetermined targets and the reasons for the successes and failures obtained.

Office hours

See the website of Riccardo Gulli