Friday, March 25, 2011

Ecological Design

"Ecological design is any form of design that minimizes environmentally destructive impacts by integrating itself with living processes." This definition was coined by Sim Van Der Ryn and Stuart Cowan in the 1970's.

In basic terms Ecological design is an ecologically sound or responsible design practice or discipline. It integrates the natural form of the land and accentuates its features.

Not only does it do this it links sustainable agriculture, ecological engineering, restoration, and green architecture into one great design. It places ecology as being one of the most important factors of the design, minimizing energy, materials used, keeps the natural habitat intact, reduces pollution, and restores the ecosystem (among other things).

This discipline focuses on making "function" fit as closely as possible the "form" of the land. This is one of the most creative new disciplines of the landscape architecture community. It pushes the creative mind to greater heights and beautiful landscape designs. "Ecological design thus can be defined as a careful and deliberate form of human intervention with the natural environment that attempts to improve natural conditions or reverse environmentally destructive impacts."

"In many ways, the environmental crisis is a design crisis," Sim Van Der Ryn and Stuart Cowan say in the book, Ecological Design. "It is a consequence of how things are made, buildings are constructed, and landscapes are used...We have used design cleverly in the service of narrowly defined human interests but have neglected its relationship with our fellow creatures. Such myopic design cannot fail to degrade the living world, and, by extension, our own health."

The reasoning behind this discipline is the desire to bring human needs and activity with the earth's ecosystem, thus minimizing the impact we are making.

Principles Behind Ecological Design:
  • Follow nature’s example
  • Transcend market culture
  • Intervene as little as possible
  • Context is everything
  • Appropriate technology
  • Moderate and efficient resource use
  • Individual thought and action
  • Green living inspiration
  • True comfort
  • Preserving our legacy of ancient wisdom

For more information see also Sustainablity, or read: Ecological Design, Tenth Anniversary Edition by Sim Van der Ryn, and Stuart Cowan.

Sustainability News

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.