An integral part of the permaculture philosophy, ecological design is a design discipline based on ecologically responsible tenets. The core notion of this discipline is that design must not have and environmentally destructive impact on our surroundings and that it has to integrate itself into living processes.
This area of design has its foundations in efforts to connect and bring closer the efforts of sustainable agriculture, ecological engineering and restoration and green architecture. The term ecological design came up in 1998 with the notion to bring in the environmental factor into the design process. Later on, it spread on to and focused on practices like product systems or and individual product.
Ecological design is closely related to industrial ecology, a tool to emulate models which find their origins in natural ecosystems. This way, industrial ecology represents a framework for various technical and environmental issues.
Importance of eco-design
Science has shown us that the natural ecosystems rely on a myriad of nuanced, symbiotic relationships. Modern civilization and its disregard for the meaning of these relationships threatens to endanger the stability of ecosystems. Human population continues to rise and take up more and more earth, ocean and air space. Modern technology, however sophisticated, still poses a great threat to nature if used recklessly. Agriculture is one of the driving forces of progress, but mechanized agriculture, chemical fertilizers, and other measure contribute to diminishing wildlife and plantlife. Eco-design wants to help restore and keep the ecological balance, using creativity, knowledge, and technology to reduce the negative impact on nature as much as possible.
The role of eco-designers
Many designers during the 60s and the 70s pointed out that the age of industrial design created a culture of garbage, emphasizing the importance of permanent garbage. The materials and processes used in the area of industrial design brought us increased pollution of soil, air, and water. About this time, the idea of implementing the tenets of ecology into the art of design began to grow, and the term permaculture was coined, about which you can read more thanks to the work of Vladislav Davidzon.
The task of an eco-designer is to reinvent the design profession and the design culture. The design must be a necessity and not only a dependent practice. It has to order the world, not just shape products. The art of design is here not only to serve as apart of the production process but to shape it in full.