Thinking Green: EcoCities and Nature

Ecodesign is the next step of our design thinking. LEED helps us establish and understand the preliminary processes of green design. Creating living buildings is pushing past LEED and developing our thinking to the next level. Ultimately ecodesign should be second nature to our design process. Wikipedia defines Ecodesign as "an approach to design of a product with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the product during its whole life cycle. In a life cycle assessment the life cycle of a product is usually divided into procurement, manufacture, use and disposal." What this means to the built environment is that we need to not only use products that have cradle to cradle philosophy but also consider the Eco system as we build. For example, start incorporating natural or man made rivers into the urban environment. This will develop eco systems from plants, insects and wildlife.

The book by Richard Register "Eco Cities: Rebuilding Cities in Balance with Nature" talks about this subject and how we as designers can help bring about this change. I met the author last week and talked about his contributions to this effort; His work is concentrated in San Francisco, California. He has dedicated his life to educating and fighting for more eco elements to the urban environment. It has not been an easy road but it never is to bring on change to our way of thinking.

Now is the time for all of us to strive for these changes, for our future and the future of our children. Mr. Register believes it will take a hundred years for these changes to happen. I want to prove him wrong!! In my 35 years, I have seen the evolution of computers, the internet, cellphones to 3D television and more. The technology is here, the ability to live side by side with our natural environment is at our fingertips, all we need is the will to find a way.

As designers, architects, engineers, contractors, real estate brokers, property owners and more, we have the power to create these environments. Make the choice to educate others and yourselves on how to achieve these goals, so we can make these changes in our life time.

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