The Green Imperative: Ecology and Ethics in Design and Architecture

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9780500278468: The Green Imperative: Ecology and Ethics in Design and Architecture
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This work asserts the belief that the power of design can influence a more responsible approach to our threatened environment. It shows how everyone, from those at the forefront of design to the consumers, can contribute to the well-being of the planet through an awareness of design and technology. The book explores a more spiritually-satisfying approach to design - designing for need, not greed. It also includes examples from all areas of design, from packaging and product design to large-scale architecture. Practical advice and checklists for the consumer on selecting and buying, using and re-using is also featured.

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From Publishers Weekly:

When designer Papanek lays down precepts for design in the 21st century or questions a professional code of ethics, he is clearly addressing other designers and architects. But when he explains Le Corbusier's "visual accoustics" or the Wiener Werstatte, it seems safe to assume he envisions a broader audience of consumers who, if made aware of the possibilities, can demand better, more responsible design. As in his Design for the Real World, Papanek derides conspicuous consumption and rapid obsolescence. Using examples drawn from various cultures and other research to bolster his case, he urges designers and architects to incorporate ethics (Does an object help the needy? Does it use scarce resources?) and humanity (Do the light, acoustics and scale foster a sense of well-being?). While Papanek is all for fun in design, he dismisses such senseless elements as add-ons that don't really improve performance (the annoying car voice intoning "your door is ajar") or miniaturization that ignores the limits of the human body. He urges consumers to break the cycle of consumption and be aware of the difference between eye-catching marketing and good design. The Green Imperative itself lacks something in design: it covers so much that the argument is occasionally diffused. Still, Papanek is committed to his subject and becomes almost poetic when discussing Inuit and Balinese design or the necessity of integrating the ephemeral and the permanent. 152 illustrations; 46 in color.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

In his groundbreaking work, Design for the Real World (1971) (still in print and available in 23 languages), Papanek introduced the idea of an ethics of design. Now, 25 environmentally irresponsible years later, he reiterates his plea for ecologically sound design of everything from food packaging to buildings. Designers and architects possess a remarkable ability to blend the demands of aesthetics with those of technology; why not add to that the pursuit of innovative ideas for avoiding pollution and other forms of environmental degradation. And the burden doesn't rest solely on designers: we should all demand products and buildings that are created in harmony with nature. Papanek offers many instructive ways of assessing the environmental impact of various materials and manufacturing processes. He also, in perhaps the book's most intriguing section, discusses how one "senses" a building and how vernacular architecture maintains its close connection to the land it occupies. Much as Papanek expresses concern over environmental problems, he does have hope. We are a species, after all, that seeks challenges and loves novelty. Let's harness those urges and clean up our act. Donna Seaman

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