Toilet practices and system change: Lessons from a transdisciplinary research project

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Design Research, 2015, 13 (3), pp. 307 - 322
Issue Date:
2015-01-01
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Copyright © 2015 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd. This paper draws on a pilot project of novel sanitation systems, trialled to learn about the potential for system change. Urine diversion (UD) systems, which capture, store and reuse urine in agriculture as a substitute for chemical fertiliser were trialled within an institutional setting over the last two years in collaboration with government, industry and academic partners. Qualitative social research tools were implemented to capture changing perceptions of users, the domestication process arising in the practical use of UD toilets. Feedback from end-users highlighted the need to modify their own practices, adopt new practices and the need for technology modifications to accommodate established practices, if UD was to be more widely accepted beyond experimental trials. The value of qualitative inquiry was that it provided a way of capturing subjective and speculative knowledge from participants about the social context of the trial and unexpected consequences of trialling innovation in practice.
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