This paper considers the twin forces of an ageing population and climate change effects in the context of global warming. Inclusive and sustainable design approaches respectively attempt to respond to one but not both of these phenomena, producing ‘unsustainable inclusivity’ and ‘deterministic sustainability’ outcomes. Both produce counterfactual, even perverse, social and environmental effects, including the failure of design and other standards and guidance to produce the desired benefits. By drawing on the author's empirical research on sustainable urban environment and transport projects, a science-technology-design conceptual approach is explored in order to bridge these design and society-nature divides by integrating inclusive/human-centred and environmental/sustainable design fields. The paper suggests science technology society (sts) studies rather than fragmented design specialisms as an alternative perspective to address these wicked problems.