Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Reshaping the Built Environment; Ecology, Ethics, and Economics

Academic journal article Electronic Green Journal

Review: Reshaping the Built Environment; Ecology, Ethics, and Economics

Article excerpt

Review: Reshaping the Built Environment; Ecology, Ethics, and Economics By Charles J. Kibert (Ed.) Charles J. Kibert (Ed.). Reshaping the Built Environment: Ecology, Ethics, and Economics. Washington DC: Island Press, 1999. 362 pp. ISBN: 1- 55963-701-3 (cloth); ISBN: 1-55963-702-1 (paper). US$45.00 cloth; US$27.50 paper. Recycled, acid-free paper.

Now is the right moment for us to reshape our built environment for sustainable development, as time is not on our side. Under the pro-growth development paradigm, in the name of economic progress and development, people have been colonizing nature and turning it into building structures of all kinds, which house people for various purposes. Yet the built environment is the source of environmental problems, hence leading us to an unsustainable future. For outlining an alternative vision for sustainable development, this edited volume is a timely, welcome contribution. It articulates ecologically sound thinking upon the broad range of complex issues connected to reshaping the built environment, and also offers concrete, feasible solutions.

Derived from the University of Florida's Rinker Eminent Scholar Series on Sustainability in the Built Environment (1998), the volume is arranged, after a succinct introduction, around three sets of ecological relations, synergies, and praxis. The "foundations" part (chapters 2-5) discusses the underlying frameworks/approaches for thinking about how the built environment should be reshaped, with specific reference to ecological, ethical, and economic considerations. It is followed by the "content" part (chapters 6-10) which addresses the key resource implications of the built environment: the shift towards a renewable and sustainable (solar) energy supply and conservation, building materials, the alternative processing of clean (waste) water, learning from the natural system for greening of land forms and regenerative landscapes, and the case for green building production processes. The "process" part (chapters 11-18) advocates the ecologically sound role model for various agencies involved in the built environment life cycle: architects, planners, and the government. Despite their different roles, the design and the process, as well as the product of building, should mimic natural processes and complement rather than destroy natural systems. …

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