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Ecological Design

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 4 months ago

Ecological Design



David Orr describes ecological design and what he sees as a proper education for designers:


“The old curriculum is shaped around the goal of extending human dominion over the earth to its fullest extent. The new curriculum must be organized around what can be called the “ecological design arts,” around developing the analytic abilities, ecological wisdom, and practical wherewithal essential to making things fit in a world of microbes, plants, animals, and entropy. Ecological problems are in many ways Design Problems: our cities, cars, houses, and technologies often do not fit in the biosphere. Ecological design requires the ability to comprehend patterns that connect, which means looking beyond the boxes we call disciplines to see things in their larger context. Ecological design is the careful meshing of human purposes with the larger patterns and flows of the natural world; it is the careful study of those patterns and flows to inform human purposes. Competence in ecological design requires spreading ecological intelligence—knowledge about how nature works—throughout the curriculum. It means teaching students the basics of what they will need to know in order to stretch their horizons, to create a civilization that runs on sunlight; uses energy and materials with great efficiency; preserves biotic diversity, soils, and forests; develops sustainable local and regional economies; and restores the damage inflicted on the earth throughout the industrial era.


Ecological design, then, is “the careful meshing of human purposes with the larger patterns and flows of the natural world.” cited in American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment. (2006). Ecological Literacy in Architecture Education Report and Proposal, http://www.aia.org/SiteObjects/files/AIA_Ecology_and%20Design_Chapter_2.pdf


Todd (2000) comments "Is it possible for us to chart a new course and reverse the current apocalyptic trend? Is there an alternative technological and cultural foundation for society that can bring humanity into harmony with the Earth and its support systems? There is a positive answer to these questions. It lies in a fundamental design revolution, a revolution more profound in its own way than the industrial revolution. The infrastructures of the modern world must be fundamentally redesigned to alter the means by which the human family supports and sustains itself. The big question is: where will the design revolution come from? The answer will be found in Nature -- the great living complexities that have evolved over the past three and one half billion plus years."


design for a "living machine" that is a contained ecosystem powered by sunlight, whose working parts consist of living organisms. Todd, J. (2000) Ecological Design in the 21st Century, Schumacher 2000 Lecture online Nov. 2006 at http://www.oceanarks.org/education/resources/revolution/


F. Capra comments, “In terms of creating sustainable human communities, our aim has to be to redesign them so that they don’t interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life. Our first step is to understand how Nature sustains life. The second step is then to introduce these principles into design, … to redesign our technologies, social institutions, commerce ….” from http://transitionculture.org/2006/05/09/exclusive-to-transition-culture-fritjof-capra-on-relocalisation-an-interview/

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