Mitigating the conflict between the built and natural environments
: sustaining the planet, sustaining the discipline of architecture

  • Michael A. Richards

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Given the complexity of environmental challenges our planet faces in the 21st century, the current approach to the built environment is not sustainable. Although the concepts of sustainability, adaptability, and resilience are becoming more prevalent in fields associated with the built environment, infrastructure is still being designed and developed in an insular fashion that results in ecological and community fragmentation. The objectives of the research in the submitted publications have been twofold: firstly, to provide a new paradigm in the approach to the design and development of the built environment that preserves existing natural resources, reduces the existing built footprint on the natural environment, mitigates ecological and social fragmentation, and prevents further irresponsible patterns of development; secondly, to provide the discipline of architecture a new relevancy in response to the complex environmental and social problems our planet faces in the near and distant future. The work advocates a model that expands architecture’s focus from merely focusing on form-making and signature design toward one that examines how design can integrate ecological processes inherent in the site and how such processes are linked to various scales in urban, community, and regional landscapes. The themes also promote a sustainability model where the physical environment is the catalyst for social and economic sustainability. A major objective of the research and publication process was to combine the individual papers into a comprehensive book that could be used to promote the new environmental architecture paradigm. Although the book was primarily intended to be used as a scholastic tool in undergraduate design programs, it was also intended to be accessible for practitioners in the built environment, policy makers, or for the general populace interested in sustaining and repairing the planet.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorTarek Teba (Supervisor) & Alessandro Melis (Supervisor)

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