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sustainable definitions..

by on September 1, 2009

there are many, but these seem close to best..

William McDonough, FAIA—whose Hanover Principles, written with Michael Braungart, started the ball rolling on a (lengthy) description of what sustainable design might mean—offered a more terse version at the 2006 AIA National Convention. His firm, he said, strives to create a “delightfully diverse, healthy, and just world, with clean air, water, soil, and power—economically, equitably, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed.”

To get something closer to an “AIA definition,” we turn to Joseph Demkin, AIA, who is currently bringing together the 14th edition ofThe Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice and offers two definitions being considered for that book’s glossary.

Sustainability: the concept of meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable design: design that seeks to avoid depletion of energy, water, and raw material resources; prevent environmental degradation caused by facility and infrastructure development over their life cycle; and create environments that are livable, comfortable, and safe and that promote productivity.

  1. marcbernard permalink

    Sustainability is the capacity of a society to respond to change.

  2. RE: “the capacity to respond to change”

    In addition: the capacity to distinguish between a time for societal adaptation and a time for societal transformation.

  3. John Rainbird permalink

    Sustainability is the capacity of our species to operate within the natural limits of the planet.

  4. People are not speaking out loudly and clearly about the colossal threat that is posed to humanity by the skyrocketing growth of human population numbers on Earth.

    Despite the unfortunate, inhumane ways a “ONE CHILD PER FAMILY” policy was implemented in China, the policy could be vital for the future of humankind and life as we know it in our planetary home. The immediate, free, universal and compassionate implementation of a voluntary “one child per family” policy could decisively limit adverse, human-driven impacts on Earth’s body and its environs, and do so more powerfully than any other conceivable human intervention.

    Given the already visible, converging global threats to human wellbeing and environmental health that are presented to the family of humanity in our time, the humane implementation of one child per family could be an indispensible centerpiece of a set of adequately designed, actionable programs that serve to actually rescue a good enough future for the children and coming generations.

    If a root cause of the global threats on humanity’s horizon now is the unbridled growth of absolute global human population numbers, our willful denial of this primary cause could make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the children to reasonably address and sensibly overcome these threats. Then the children are likely being directed down a “primrose path” to confront some unimaginable kind of ecological wreckage, the likes of which only Ozymandias has seen. The children will not understand why the catastrophe is occurring. Because their elders refused to acknowledge the best available scientific evidence of human population dynamics and, therewith, adequately “diagnose” the distinctly human-induced global predicament all of us face now, the children will not know what hit them, why it is happening, and what is required of them so as not to commit the same mistakes made by the elders.

    This is only a guess but please note the likelihood that history will not be kind to the woefully inadequate leaders in my not-so-great generation of arrogant, extremely foolish and avaricious elders.

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