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Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability

A Harvard Design Magazine Reader

2008

William S. Saunders, editor
Introduction by Robert L. Thayer Jr.

Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability

Thought-provoking essays on bridging the destructive divide between humanity and the natural world

A diverse group of essayists considers the concept of sustainability, both philosophically and practically. Some take a broad view of the divisions between nature and humanity, exploring the incomprehensible scale of human intervention in the natural world, and the commodification of the natural world. Other essays focus on sustainable design practices and the necessity of moving beyond demonstration projects into the mainstream.

Design ideas, their scalability, and consequences should be communicated to students. This book opens the conversation.

Choice

The complexity and scale of the environmental problems confronting humanity today provoke a wide range of responses, from indifference to anger to creativity. Among a growing number of architects, landscape architects, and planners, however, these problems have inspired a new vision—sustainability—to guide their practices.

In Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability, a diverse group of contributors considers the concept of sustainability, both philosophically and practically. Some take a broad view of the divisions between nature and humanity, exploring the incomprehensible scale of human intervention in the natural world, the relationship between how we feel about nature and what we do about it, and the commodification of the natural world. Other essays focus on sustainable design practices: sustainability’s roots in the American conservation tradition, its utility as a framework for future design practice, and the necessity of moving beyond demonstration projects into the mainstream.

Together, these essays suggest that the gap between the promise and reality of sustainable design, although significant, can be bridged through diligence and practice.

Contributors: D. Michelle Addington, Yale U;
John Beardsley, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Albert Borgmann, U of Montana, Missoula; Peter Buchanan; Peter Del Tredici, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Robert France, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Susannah Hagan, U of East London; Kristina Hill, U of Virginia; Catherine Howett, U of Georgia; Niall Kirkwood, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Lucy R. Lippard; Bill McKibbin; Michael Pollan; Rossana Vaccarino, Vaccarino Associates, St. Thomas.

Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability

William S. Saunders is editor of Harvard Design Magazine and assistant dean for external relations at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He is editor of five previous Harvard Design Magazine Readers published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Robert L. Thayer Jr. is emeritus professor of landscape architecture and founder of the landscape architecture program at the University of California, Davis. He is author of Gray World, Green Heart: Technology, Nature, and the Sustainable Landscape and LifePlace: Bioregional Thought and Practice. As a professional he works on regenerative systems in landscape architecture, sustainable design, bioregional theory and practice, wind/renewable energy policy, and post oil-peak landscape planning.

Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability

Design ideas, their scalability, and consequences should be communicated to students. This book opens the conversation.

Choice