Abstract

Food and our relationship with it is important to our very survival. To understand the different natures of various food systems it is critical to understand some of their general characteristics. We must know the components of the system and how they work together. Currently, there are several conceptual models of food systems available to facilitate the understanding of such: the linear, radial and loop models, none of which seem suitable for a design application. Natural food systems are complex adaptive systems that operate in a closed loop, with all inputs emanating from and all residuals returning to the source. However, rather than resembling these closed-loop ecosystems, modern food systems have much more in common with 19th century factories designed around a strong input/ output efficiency model. Food Orbits is a novel graphical tool for plotting the relative industrial intensity of a food as it moves through the system from soil to dinner plate. This paper will introduce the concept of food orbits through a brief discussion of their context in the modern food system, their composition and construction, and an overview of a brief study done to assess their graphical intuitiveness. The focus of the paper will be the application of food orbits as a design tool and a device for understanding complex adaptive systems.

Keywords:

Sustainable Design, Systemic, Eco-Design, Life Cycle Analysis

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COinS
 
Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Food Orbits: A Novel Design Tool for Complex Systems

Food and our relationship with it is important to our very survival. To understand the different natures of various food systems it is critical to understand some of their general characteristics. We must know the components of the system and how they work together. Currently, there are several conceptual models of food systems available to facilitate the understanding of such: the linear, radial and loop models, none of which seem suitable for a design application. Natural food systems are complex adaptive systems that operate in a closed loop, with all inputs emanating from and all residuals returning to the source. However, rather than resembling these closed-loop ecosystems, modern food systems have much more in common with 19th century factories designed around a strong input/ output efficiency model. Food Orbits is a novel graphical tool for plotting the relative industrial intensity of a food as it moves through the system from soil to dinner plate. This paper will introduce the concept of food orbits through a brief discussion of their context in the modern food system, their composition and construction, and an overview of a brief study done to assess their graphical intuitiveness. The focus of the paper will be the application of food orbits as a design tool and a device for understanding complex adaptive systems.

 

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