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Tool Box Ecological Design

Ecological design is a systems thinking approach to maximize mutually beneficial synergies of human need and ecological services.  In other words, it is a human environment design process that meets its own needs, while also restoring the carrying capacity and integrity of native ecosystems.

For additional information regarding Ecological Design, contact Sustainability Team member:
  • Defining and Measuring Sustainability (PDF)
    The seminal publication from 1995 on the background for defining and measuring "sustainability". It addresses the interface of the economic/social with "biogeophysical" (Pertaining to the composite of biological, geological, and physical processes operating in an area).

  • Interface Sustainability
    Interface's The Natural Step page

  • Banking on Green
    Banking on Green: How Green Infrastructure Saves Municipalities Money and Provides Economic Benefits Community-wide. This report from the American Society of Landscape Architects examines hundreds of case studies that show that green infrastructure practices often offer more cost-effective solutions relative to traditional infrastructure approaches. The report details potential benefits of green infrastructure such as lower energy expenses, reduced flood damage, and improved public health.

  • Tree Hugger
    This website has news from the following categories: Design, Technology, Living, Transportation, Energy, Science, Business and has a slideshow section.

  • Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities
    Sustainable design is the promotion of human systems in balance with the natural environment. The Institute was established to promote an integrated approach to issues of sustainability and to facilitate this process. The Institute provides an opportunity to explore the broad concept of 'sustainable development' and look further at specific applications on a project-by-project basis. JISC brings an architectural design and planning perspective to its projects, ranging in scale from building design to regional planning. These projects have resulted in schematic designs and studies which show how to implement principles of sustainability.

  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
    William McDonough speaks about his view of sustainability and some of his thoughts are in his publication Cradle to Cradle. This book speaks to the flow of materials in a consumer environment. The web site discusses architecture, product design, cradle to cradle, the next industrial revolution and McDonough’s writings on topics of urbanism, sustainability, cradle to cradle case studies, industrial design and sustainable commerce.

  • Ecotecture: The Journal of Ecological Design
    This web site has articles and reviews, conference information, a blog, global warming solutions, environmental economics and renewable energy information.

  • John Todd Ecological Design
    Todd was the 2008 winner of the Buck Minister Fuller Challenge Award. His web site contains information on ecological design, Eco-machines, natural systems design, biomimicry and sustainable waste water management.

  • David W. Orr – Ecological Design Intelligence
    David Orr is a Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College. In this article he discusses ecological design and the promise it holds for a sustainable future.

  • Sim Van der Ryn
    Sim Van der Ryn wrote the book Ecological Design in 1996 with Stuart Cowen. His web site gives insight into his work and being.

  • EcoCity Cleveland – Ecological Design
    This web site’s ecological design information is divided into sections: What Cities Can Do, Cleveland EcoVillage, Green Building, Sustainability, BLUE Project, Energy and Green Landscape Design. The site also includes the Earth Charter, the Big Sur Declaration and the Hannover Principles of Ecological Design.

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