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Slow Design is a branch of the "Slow Movement, which began with the concept of "Slow Food, a term coined in contrast to fast food. As with every branch of the Slow Movement, the overarching goal of Slow Design is to promote well being for individuals, society, and the natural environment. Slow Design seeks a holistic approach to designing that takes into consideration a wide range of material and social factors as well as the short and long term impacts of the design.
Slow Design refers to the goals and approach of the designer, rather than the object of the design. In this way a Slow Design approach can be used within any "design field. The term was probably first coined by Alistair Fuad-Luke in his 2002 paper "'Slow Design' - a paradigm for living sustainably?", in which Slow Design is seen as the next step in the development of "sustainable design, balancing individual, socio-cultural, and environmental needs.
While Fuad-Luke focused on the design of physical products, the concept can be applied to the design of non-material things such as experiences, processes, services, and organizations. In fact, Slow Design may be seen as a path toward the "dematerialization required for long-term sustainability as it takes into account the non-material nature of human well being and "happiness.
Beth Meredith and Eric Storm attempt to summarize the concept, stating:
Slow Design is a democratic and holistic design approach for creating appropriately tailored solutions for the long-term well being of people and the planet. To this end, Slow Design seeks out positive synergies between the elements in a system, celebrates diversity and regionalism, and cultivates meaningful relationships that add richness to life.
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Common qualities of Slow Design include:
Slow design is still a relatively new concept of design thinking, and its implications are yet to be fully developed and defined. It could evolve in the following ways: