The Oslo Manifesto: Design and Architecture for the SDGs

April 27, 2016
Editor @17Goals


When the 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals they also, by extension, created the world’s most demanding design brief.

Since the SDGs are universal, they apply to all sectors and professions. That means designers, architects, and creative professionals around the globe are now tasked with imagining and bringing to life the design elements of a new, sustainable world — and quickly.

That’s why 17 Goals partnered up with the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture – DOGA to introduce the Oslo Manifesto. [Photo:  Alan AtKisson and Jannicke Hølen of DOGA signing the Oslo Manifesto at DOGA’s national conference, “Transform,” April 26, 2016]

The Manifesto helps designers and architects get involved and focus their thinking by posing 17 questions that can help them reflect on their projects in the context of the SDGs. This will help drive innovation, while also bringing this centrally important group of professionals into the spotlight, encouraging them as the designers of a sustainable future.

The Oslo Manifesto also invites making a commitment. At DOGA Norway’s annual conference for designers and architects, on April 27, many people made that commitment by signing the document, which has also been formally endorsed by Norway’s leading design and architecture school, AHO.

“The introduction of the manifesto in Oslo was actually a ‘soft launch'”, says AtKisson. “It’s a step toward what we expect to build into a global campaign, with the intent of building awareness and commitment among designers and architects around the world. DOGA, and Oslo, is really the perfect base for this effort.” A real website and campaign structure are to come later, but the document can already be read and signed online, at


Click image to read and sign the manifesto

Are you a designer, architect, or creative professional who’s ready to make a commitment to helping realize the global vision of the SDGs in your own work? You can read and sign the Oslo Manifesto at the link below. Here is an excerpt from the document:

The Oslo Manifesto

Designers and architects are challenged to consider the following /17 questions, whenever they initiate a new project, design a new product, or accept a new commission:
How can this design contribute to the goal of ending poverty in all its forms, everywhere?
How can this design contribute to ending hunger and encouraging the transition to sustainable agriculture?
How can this design help ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages?
How can this design support quality education and lifelong learning?
How can this design advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls?
How can this design help ensure the sustainable management of water and universal access to sanitation?
How can this design contribute to a sustainable energy transition?
How can this design promote decent work for all?
How can this design advance sustainable industrialization and innovation, especially in those places that do not have access to modern industry?
How can this design help to reduce inequality within and among countries?
How can this design make our cities more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable?
How can this design transform production and consumption patterns, to make them more sustainable?
How can this design be part of the urgent action that is needed to combat climate change and its impacts?
How can this design be part of caring for our oceans and seas?
How can this design help to protect and restore ecosystems and preserve biodiversity?
How can this design contribute to the development peaceful, inclusive, and just societies?
How can this design advance the global partnership needed to achieve all of these goals?

Making the Commitment
By signing this document, we who work as designers and architects, employ designers and/or architects, or in any way use, have connection with or organize the professions of design and architecture, are declaring that we accept this “commission” from the global community. We adopt the 2030 Agenda as a new design brief for the creation of a sustainable world. We commit to considering all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals in every project or review or commission we undertake. We commit to promoting the universal adoption of the SDGs by others in our profession, by our clients — and by the generation of designers and architects coming after us.

Read the whole document and sign here