Whole Systems Approach to Ecological Design

Appropriate Technology: Water

Organic Agriculture and Local Food

Appropriate Technology: Energy

Green Building & Retrofitting

1.Whole Systems Approach to Ecological Design
Ecological Designs Master Planning Climate Change & Peak Oil

Restorative Environmental Design

This design philosophy was developed by Professor Stephen Kellert of Yale University.  Human and natural systems are connected, linking ‘quality of life’ and integrity of natural systems.  Ecological and human values are mediated through landscape, providing economic, social and psychological as well as environmental advantages.  The built environment and its operation uses large amounts of resources and so Restorative Environmental Design emphasises:

Ecosystem services Low impact design =   Small ecological footprint
Biophilia   Organic design using natural  materials and ecological engineering.
Spirit of place  Vernacular design with a strong relationship to place.

Ecosystem services – Low impact design

The Ecological Footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's  ecosystem services.  It compares human demand with planet Earth's ecological capacity to regenerate.  It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste.  Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle.  Currently humanity's total ecological footprint has been estimated at 1.3 Planet Earths - in other words, humanity uses ecosystem services 1.3 times faster than the Earth can renew them.

Ecological Footprint is often compared with Carbon Footprint (see Climate Change).  Good examples of reducing both footprints are given in

Biophilia and Vernacular Design

This is largely covered in this Ecology Dimension as “Permaculture”, “Sustainable Farming”, “Ecological Engineering” and “Green Building”.   Ecovillages are very much about designing with sensitivity to the local environment and ecology and building with materials sourced close to the land.  Ecological Engineering uses natural materials and systems as a “kit of parts”, employed to deliver useful outcomes.

Click here to download a document written by Prof. Kellert, with more info about RED


Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, by Stephen R. Kellert
Click on image for more info about the Biophilia Hypothesis

Comparison of Ecological Footprints for UK, Scotland, Findhorn Foundation and Community and Bed Zed.
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In 2001-2002 researchers at the University of Kassel in Germany compared CO2 emissions from Sieben Linden; another German ecovillage, Kommune Niederkaufungen; and the average German household. The study showed that both communities use far less water, electricity, heating fuel, fossil fuel for heating, and fossil fuel for growing and transporting food, than the average German household.
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