July 2005: Sustainability in Design: Have we heard enough?

Author: Peter Crawford

Peter describes both the aesthetic and functional aspects of design, then provides a definition of sustainable design as "... meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sometimes, taking into account how the end product is created and disposed can demonstrate how ugly and even toxic the product is.

Designers do not choose to create bad products. Many things can contribute to poor designs, include lax legal standards, time pressure and lack of information. Peter includes a number of examples from Biomimicry that show designers can create products that are truly beautiful, because they "cause no harm or ugliness, human or ecological, in any place or at any time."

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