Why study this course?
Our Environmental, Sustainable and Regeneration Design MA degree will prepare you for employment in this exciting and expanding field of design.
This is a multidisciplinary course that deploys knowledge and practice from a range of fields, including social science, design and technology. You’ll focus on creating sustainable designs based on research, especially for systems, product, interior, environmental, urban and community-based projects.
More about this course
Governments, companies and individuals around the world are realising that instead of being a cost and burden, environmental, regeneration and sustainable design is not only essential to the survival of our civilisations; it is also an opportunity for designers and businesses to use skilful and imaginative design.
It is because of this realisation that many national and local governments, as well as large design practices, now employ staff identified by one or more of these specialisms.
The field of environmental, sustainable and regenerative design is diverse and hybrid, allowing those with a wide range of interests and abilities to contribute. You may design environments or systems, products or behaviours – but all of them will contribute to the safety, wellbeing and sustainability of the world.
You will engage in live projects for real-world clients to ensure that your understanding of the sector, and how your interests and talents match the opportunities available, is accurate and up-to-date. The course team and their industry connections will ensure that you have first-hand experience of the challenges that environmental, sustainability and regeneration designers face, embedded in the vibrant world of London’s creative sectors and businesses.
Alternative core module information
The School maintains a portfolio of alternative core MA (level 7) 20 credit modules, two of which will be core to this course in any particular year. Prior to the start of the course each September, the course team will decide which of the alternative core modules should be the core 20 credit modules for the following academic cycle. This decision is based on the project opportunities arising and the balance of students across the portfolio of MA design courses. Please note, students themselves do not choose which of the alternative core modules to take themselves. See the modular structure section below for more details.
You'll assessed via a portfolio of your project work and essays.
Fees and key informationApply now
You will be required to have:
- a first class or upper second class degree (or equivalent) in a related subject
- a portfolio of relevant work and a statement demonstrating your ambition for the subject area and for studying at postgraduate level
Accreditation of Prior Learning
Any university-level qualifications or relevant experience you gain prior to starting university could count towards your course at London Met. Find out more about applying for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).
English language requirements
To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.
If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.
The modules listed below are for the academic year 2021/22 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.
Year 1 modules include:
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This module, carried out within the context of a design studio, advances discipline-specific design research, development and management skills in the context of a self-directed project development exercise. Students will test in applied practice, research methods considered in the Design Research for Practice module. Its purpose is to facilitate effective planning and development of an appropriate masters design major project under relevant subject-specialist supervision.
Through investigatory practice, students will test, select, assemble and apply design and design research methods through which an individual approach to design process can be constructed, and from which innovation can arise. Opportunities arising from emerging social, economic and technological contexts will be sought, and worthwhile and defensible projects will be identified and framed. Students will be encouraged to engage in both speculative and discursive enquiry and rigorous and valid research programmes. Students will be expected to build a comprehensive knowledge of the current state of the context of their interests and practice and be able to position their concepts and proposals as significant interventions.
Students will refine developmental work into coherent and articulate designs, which are capable of convincing clients, community or peers of the potential success and value of the proposed outcome.
The module aims to:
• develop capacity to plan, undertake, present and evaluate complex professional design projects in response to set and self-set briefs, in preparation for a Master’s major/ thesis project;
• extend students’ ability to position design projects in professional, social, technological, ethical, theoretical and conceptual contexts;
• guide students to a fully integrated synthesis of research and design development in their working processes;
• ensure students equip themselves with a working understanding of the essential requirements of practice and legislation concerning such issues as intellectual property rights, health and safety, product liability, ethical practice and consumer law;
• consolidate students’ ability to work independently as critical professional practitioners, able to accept and address complex and unstable problems and partial solutions;
• use strategies for problem finding, idea generation, inter-disciplinary working, lateral thinking, integrated research methods and process experimentation to drive innovation.
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This module, carried out within the context of a design studio, develops abilities to identify, evaluate for suitability, synthesise and apply design research methods in support of practice. It supports the acquisition of a body of research knowledge and abilities that can be adapted and applied to design challenges (within the course and beyond into professional practice) according to a set brief and future demands. It provides the creative, intellectual and technical vocabulary necessary to validate design experimentation, development and realisation. Students will examine key principles and methods in design research essential for undertaking postgraduate study and advanced research practice.
Through research allied to studio practice, students will explore new opportunities emerging in the field of design and production, applied to set and self-set briefs. Students will be introduced to a selection of design research tools and methods through which innovative approaches to design are explored. They will consider contexts and constraints as they affect practice, related to the production, distribution and consumption of designed artefacts and environments, and their ethical, sociological or cultural, environmental and technological aspects, and test and critique existing and developing research skills and methods within a defined discipline- related context.
Lectures on the fundamentals of research methods will help to identify connections to design research interests that will underpin studio practice. As students become more secure and rigorous in their handling of research methods, they will become increasingly self-directed in their modes of practice, consolidating the theoretical and methodological approaches employed in design.
The module aims to:
• equip students for postgraduate level study in design through the development of knowledge, understanding and ability in design research and the application of research to practice;
• raise awareness of the beneficial impact of rigorous design research by demonstrating how the quality of the design process and outcomes can be enhanced through the application of valid research methods;
• strengthen students’ ability to work independently as critical researchers and practitioners;
• enable students to critically select and assemble appropriate research methods into well-constructed design research programmes;
• enable the achievement of original findings and proposals through the application of design research methods to design development and practice.
+Project as Professional Practice: Environmental, Sustainable and Regeneration Design (core, 60 credits)▼Read full details
This module completes students’ Master’s projects, enabling students to balance creative and intellectual ambition with the rigours of professional expectations and academic research requirements. The module moves beyond the context of the collaborative design studio, building upon and extending skills and knowledge developed through design research and project development. Students will complete and deliver an approved self-set design project, applied to and tested against a defined research and professional context.
Comprised of a significant project of independent research practice, produced under supervision, the purpose of the project is to demonstrate applied learning through a sustained, independently devised period of design research, development and production. The project marks the summation of the programme of studies and demonstrates the students’ ambition for their future in their discipline and professional sector.
This module aims to:
• support students in the design, management and delivery of design projects at an advanced, postgraduate creative and professional level;
• encourage and facilitate, through provision of supervisory guidance and structured feedback, evidence of highly developed design research and development capabilities through the completion of the major project;
• prove students’ abilities successfully to negotiate highly complex problems and situations, to engage in both speculative and well-grounded design processes, and to generate valid, applicable and innovative outcomes;
• enable students to communicate their individual approach as a designer, their discipline-specific abilities and their professional attributes in an appropriate and convincing manner, in order to enhance career opportunities.
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This module engages students with fundamental and seemingly contradictory human impulses towards ‘luxury’ and ‘democracy’, as these are expressed in designed artefacts and environments. Hardly any products are marketed or understood as having the characteristics of neither of these properties; their apparent incompatibility is often understood as problematic in the design and production of goods. The concepts have different meanings for varied people and communities; these will be explored as students develop a personal position in relation to the concepts of luxury and democracy.
Progress in knowledge and technology has the capacity to advance and improve the human condition, including health and wellbeing, happiness and equality. Students will investigate how designers can harness knowledge and technology to make artefacts and products that enrich peoples’ lives by making those products more widely accessible, and in doing so, discover if they can provide themselves with opportunities as designers. Market relevance is crucial: no benefit to designer, consumer or society can come from a design that nobody wants.
There are rich opportunities for designers in this field - the demographic of the luxury consumer is broadening. In developing economies, young consumers demand ‘luxury’ products (often not the same products sold to the traditional luxury goods buyer); in some cases, factors such as superior ethical and environmental values have become luxury signifiers. Corporate ethical policies and environmental targets have begun to address this; however, more democratic access to luxury products would deny the fundamentally aspirational nature and image of luxury brands. Luxury brands cannot be ‘democratic’, but perhaps luxury itself can be.
This module aims to:
• examine historic and emergent notions of ‘luxury’ and the design of artefacts in relation to these factors;
• formulate the student’s personal position on definitions, relevance and concepts of ‘luxury’ and ‘democracy’ as applied to designed artefacts;
• scope and analyse current and emerging technology and products, market conditions and drivers; and the ethical, social and economic factors informing them;
• enable students to design and fabricate proposals and/or otherwise present ideas that represent, challenge or synthesise these issues.
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Design for Change focuses on the interaction of people with the designed environment and material culture, and the design characteristics that create meaningful relationships and affect thinking and behaviour. The title of the module recognises that a working definition of what a designer does is, fundamentally, to effect change.
People, objects and environments mutually influence each other, the purpose of this module is to create scenarios through which strategies for understanding these dynamics, and testing and refining design that enhances these experiential relationships can be developed.
When change is deliberately intended or accidentally effected on people in any way, the responsibility to act with care, sensitivity and secure knowledge and information and within an ethical framework is clear. Therefore, the projects undertaken in this module will be founded in deep and rich research into the impact of design on users. Students will research the numerous ways, obvious, subtle and covert, in which designed artefacts and environments affect human thinking, behaviour, emotions, relationships and wellbeing. Students will adopt well-established research methods, and where appropriate, construct or synthesise their own. Data will be evaluated and analysed before becoming the foundation for a design process that will be collaborative and consultative at its core. People, whether they are clients, consumers or members of society in general, do not necessarily have the means to express, understand, safely and ethically design or construct the answer to their needs. The role of the designer is to expertly mediate between all the parties, conflicting objectives, needs and desires at play in any given project and ensure the best possible outcome through all the constraints imposed on the project.
Different projects might seek to allow, enhance or transform thinking, behaviour or experience. Whatever the brief, students will be expected to research, model and test their design development, always seeking to design while holding the interests of the various parties involved in an ethical balance. Innovation is expected, as is the creation of an individual approach to design. This will arise through a personalised application of sector-specific industry standard research methods to the briefs set. The challenge will be to fulfil the task set while expressing creative identity in solutions for complex and sometimes ambiguous situations.
The module aims to:
• enable students to identify and understand the cognitive, sensory, psychological, ethical and social factors that are entailed in relationships with objects and environments;
• engage students with theories about human/ environmental relationships;
• equip students to research and analyse the impact of existing or proposed designs on people and communities;
• provide students with the opportunity to design a collaborative, human-centred design research process;
• test understanding of the issues and abilities in design research in practice and present process and outcomes convincingly.
This module currently runs:
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- spring semester - Monday morning
This module asks students to investigate and analyse exterior environments and their specific contexts, (social, cultural, community, economic, political or other) and the particular histories that have led to their present state. Students will research, record and communicate their findings through imaginative written and diagrammatic forms. They will use sound research methods and selected sources to arrive at thoughtful and evidence-based interpretations and reflections, understanding and conveying the many layers of interconnections and relationships that exist between the people, factors and elements that together constitute an ‘environment’.
In response to researched material from direct observation, historical and theoretical reading, archival sources, sound recordings and film, interviews, relevant cultural productions, community customs, memories, folklore and stories, students will develop a contextual awareness and situational viewpoint. To represent these outcomes, students will use an appropriate and wide range of methods of textual and visual communication, (orthographic and sketched, assembled and filmed/ photographed), to create interpretive annotated visuals that present their analysis of the environment.
Students will investigate precedents of design in exterior environmental contexts, and specifically the methods designers have used to engage with communities and users to understand the full context of that environment and how the interlinking factors create an ‘ecostructure’ that supports itself. They will be asked to evaluate the relative success or failure these precedents and consider how the designers’ methods of and commitment to engagement with communities contributed to that success or failure.
This module aims to create a multi-layered understanding of the environment, through a process of collaborative research and a dialogue between the stakeholders and the researcher/ designer. The resulting thorough, holistic knowledge of the environment and its systems and context, will enable valid and applicable potential future responses to the needs of the environment and its users.
The module aims to:
• enable students to identify and understand the complex, interlinked and multi-layered factors that are the context of exterior environments and the people who inhabit them;
• engage students with relevant theories about how humans interact with their environments;
• equip students to research and predict the impact of existing or proposed designs on people and communities;
• provide students with the opportunity to design a collaborative, human-centred design research process and test proposals in practice;
• present the analysis of the environment and its context, the research and design process and outcomes convincingly.
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The module analyses and reflects upon the interaction of people, space and things that is at the root of interior design. This module explores ways to analyse, contextualise and interpret their relationship in relation to a specific interior.
To achieve this there are three aspects to the module; first the drawn analysis of the space; second the reading and responding to texts, films and other media that help establish a contextual perspective; and third through the combination of these approaches, the production of an interpretative narrative that offers a new visual and textual reading of the space.
The module aims to develop students’ ability to synthesize the spatially analytic understanding of an interior space with the contexts in which it was produced and has subsequently developed. Through this, students should extend and refine a range of representational skills to describe the composition of an interior.
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This module explores process-led design development through alternative routes to the traditional linear or iterative design processes, with the materials of designed products as the genesis of investigation, invention and discovery. Taking material and the processes, techniques, and tools or equipment through which it is manipulated as the starting point, students will work to expand the understanding of what is possible with traditional, rediscovered, new and emerging material and process technology.
Students will seek solutions to both defined and flexible briefs, but at all times be open to the unexpected possibilities revealed by the outcomes of experimentation, the realisations of opportunities maximised by collaborative working and pooling of knowledge, skills and expertise. The brief may be for example to find a solution for a particular problem, using a defined material or process – often because for the individual, company or community in question, it is the resource they have available, and no other. Designers may be asked to attempt to develop an entirely new material or process. Alternatively, a designer may be asked to discover and propose an innovative new use for a particular material or process that has no current viable use. There are numerous examples of materials acting as the starting point of a design research process, whether it is Spain and Portugal seeking new uses for cork following the widespread adoption of synthetic corking for wine, or the development of solar powered sintering of sand for desertified countries with very limited resources for conventional manufacture, or livery companies looking for contemporary uses for their ancient materials and processes, as the Worshipful Company of Horners currently are.
In these cases, the need to be addressed is counter to the normal one of market demand or user need; it is of material, processes and clients seeking a new opportunity or vehicle for their resource.
As developed economies continue their rapid maturation beyond what experience allows to be predicted; and as developing countries realise that following in the footsteps of developed economies’ economic trajectories will lead to the very same problems they now experience, the need for intelligent and sustainable exploitation of known and existing materials and processes will be just as important to the future of societies and economies as the invention of completely new ones.
The module aims to:
• enable students to develop and articulate their personal position on the ethical and environmental issues surrounding the exploitation of material resources;
• advance students’ knowledge and understanding of current and emergent material resources in their discipline;
• encourage innovation through cross-disciplinary exchange and working;
• enrich students’ design skills through the critical and intelligent selection and use of materials in a detailed proposal or prototyping of a product;
• establish the commercial, environmental and technical parameters through which a material, process and/ or product can be assessed.
By the end of the module, students will have discovered a personal approach to designing and problem solving through material research, investigation and manipulation. They will have a thorough understanding of the whole range of material and process opportunities in their field, and a highly detailed knowledge of a field of particular personal interest. Students will know how the stay abreast of the very latest developments and be able to exploit collaborative and networking opportunities to help discover both problems and solutions. They will be able to self-initiate material research programmes and propose designs or products to a selected audience as well as responding to externally set briefs. Students will have developed a personal position on the ethical and environmental issues surrounding the exploitation of material resources and be able to state this and represent it in their work convincingly.
Where this course can take you
Following the MA you could seek opportunities as an environmental designer, strategist, urban design specialist or regeneration consultant or planner.
Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.
Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.
How to apply
Use the apply button to begin your application.
If you require a Student visa and wish to study a postgraduate course on a part-time basis, please read our how to apply information for international students to ensure you have all the details you need about the application process.
When to apply
You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.To find out when teaching for this degree will begin, as well as welcome week and any induction activities, view our academic term dates.
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News and success stories
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Meet the team
Dr Lesley Stevenson
Coordinator for Critical and Contextual Studies for 3D at the School of Art, Architecture and Design