Defining the Role of HCI in the Challenges of Sustainability

Welcome to the web page for the CHI 2009 Workshop, "Defining the Role of HCI in the Challenges of Sustainability." As workshop organization progresses, important information pertaining to the event will be posted here. Please feel free to contact elainemayhuang [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions.

NEW! Important Workshop Information
The workshop will take place on Sunday, April 5th in room 313 in the conference center. The conference center opens at 8:00AM for registration. The workshop schedule is as follows:

In preparation for the workshop, please read the position papers by the other participants to familiarize yourself with their ideas and get you thinking. There will be brief (5-minute) introductions at the start of the workshop, but no individual presentations. Please do not prepare a talk or slide presentation about your position paper; the workshop schedule is tight and time will not permit individual presentations. Plus, we want to get everyone collaborating and coming up with new ideas as soon as possible! Position papers now available for download here

We look forward to seeing you and working with you at CHI 2009!

About the Workshop

Sustainable development has famously been characterized as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs" (Brundtland, 1987). While the CHI community has a wide and effective set of techniques for ensuring that interactive technologies meet the needs of present day users, less is known about how to measure and design for a positive impact on future generations. The goal of this workshop is to leverage and focus the skills and knowledge embodied by the CHI community for furthering Sustainable Interaction Design (SID), an approach to including sustainability as a central focus to interaction design. The high turnout and level of enthusiasm at the CHI 2007 SIG and CHI 2008 Panel on sustainability reflect a growing recognition of the urgent need for the HCI community to take sustainability into account in research and practice, and to make such issues visible to closely related disciplines.

Although sustainability is often discussed in the media in terms of political and engineering challenges, the CHI community embodies knowledge and expertise that will be crucial to addressing the design, interaction, and usage issues surrounding sustainable technologies and practice. Our aim is to apply these skills and expertise to the design of technologies, interactions, and user experiences that minimize the negative impact on future generations and to help find solutions for difficult and complex sustainability issues, such as global climate change. Our community needs a clear agenda in place regarding research and development of sustainable interactive technologies.

Given that sustainability is an emerging topic for CHI, the workshop aims not only to foster community but also to support scientific progress in an area where open questions far outnumber solutions. The workshop participants will work together to identify the issues, challenges, and goals for SID. To achieve this progress, the workshop strives to:


Eli Blevis, Indiana University
Elaine M. Huang, Motorola Research
Jennifer Mankoff, Carnegie Mellon University
Lisa P. Nathan, University of Washington
Bill Tomlinson, University of California, Irvine


This one-day workshop will include brief introductions, breakout sessions, and group discussion surrounding the following focus questions:

We welcome submissions from authors who are interested in and/or currently working in the area of sustainable interaction design. Position papers should describe your work on the topic, ideas for how HCI can inform sustainability, or ideas about HCI challenges to sustainability.

Please email submissions of 1500 words or fewer in PDF format by October 24th to elainemayhuang [at] gmail [dot] com. At least one author of accepted papers must register for the workshop and at least one day of the conference.