Selected Readings on Sustainable Design

See also Topics matrix for a complete outline of the major headings.
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1. Design and natural systems

Planetary systems and dynamics:

Capra, Fritjof. The Hidden Connections: A Science Of Sustainable Living. New York, NY: Random House Inc., 2004.
Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1996.
Lovelock, James. Gaia, A New Look At Life On Earth. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1979.
Wilson, Edward O. The Diversity Of Life. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.
Wright, Richard T.; Bernard J. Nebel. Environmental Science: toward a sustainable future, 8th Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Ethical issues and theories:

Hough, Michael. Out of Place-Restoring Identity to the Regional Landscape. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.
Kellert, Stephen R.; Edward O. Wilson. The Biophilia Hypothesis. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1993.
Merchant, Carolyn. The Death Of Nature: women, ecology, and the scientific revolution. San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1980.
Nash, Roderick. The Rights of Nature: A History Of Environmental Ethics. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

Patterns and scale in nature:

Bailey, Robert G. Ecoregion-Based Design For Sustainability. New York, NY: Springer, 2002.
Odum, Eugene Pleasants. Ecology: A Bridge Between Science And Society. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 1997.

Natural history (in California and on the Central Coast):

Bakker, Elna S. An Island Called California: an ecological introduction to its natural communities. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Barbour, Michael. California’s Changing Landscapes: diversity and conservation of California vegetation. Sacramento, Calif.: California Native Plant Society, 1993.
Marx, Steve, ed. Cal Poly Land: A Field Guide. Santa Maria, CA: Accurate Color Printing, 2002.


LaGro, James A. Jr. Site Analysis Linking Program and Concept in Land Planning and Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001.
Landphair, Harlow C., John L. Motloch. Site reconnaissance and engineering: an introduction for architects, landscape architects, and planners. New York: Elsevier, 1985.
Lynch, Kevin. Site Planning. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1971.
Marsh, William M. Landscape Planning- Environmental Applications, 2nd Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1991.
Thompson, George F., ed.; Frederick R. Steiner, ed. Ecological Design and Planning. New York: John Wiley & Sons, January 1997.


      none listed.


2. Design and cultural systems

Human systems and dynamics:

Bateson, Gregory. Mind and Nature. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1979.
Brand, Stewart. The Clock Of The Long Now: Time And Responsibility. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1999.
Fuller, R. Buckminster. Cosmography: a posthumous scenario for the future of humanity. New York: Macmillan, 1992.
Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
Orr, David. Earth in Mind: on education, environment, and the human prospect. Covelo, Calif.: Island Press, 1994.
Orr, David. Ecological Literacy: Education And The Transition To A Postmodern World. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992.
Orr, David. The Campus and Environmental Responsibility. San Francisco, CA.: Jossey-Bass, 1992.
Orr, David. The Nature of Design: ecology, culture, and human intention. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Socio-cultural issues and the built environment:

Hall, Edward T. The Hidden Dimension. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1966.
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York, NY: Random House, 1992.
Lym, Glenn Robert. A Psychology of Building: how we shape and experience our structured spaces. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1980.
Newman, Oscar. Defensible Space: crime prevention through urban design. New York, Macmillan, 1972.

Patterns and scale in human communities:

Benedict, Ruth. Patterns of Culture. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, [1989], 1934.

Cultural history and change in the built environment:

Brand, Stewart. How Buildings Learn: what happens after they're built. New York, NY: Viking, 1994.
Rapoport, Amos. House Form and Culture. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969.


Marcus, Clare Cooper; Wendy Sarkissian. Housing as if people mattered: site design guidelines for medium-density family housing. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.
McCamant, Kathryn;Charles Durrett. Cohousing: a contemporary approach to housing ourselves. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, 1994.


       none listed.


3. Design and economic systems

Economic systems and resource flows:

Kibert, Charles J. Reshaping The Built Environment: Ecology, Ethics, And Economics. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999.
Rosenzweig, Michael L. Win-win Ecology: how the earth's species can survive in the midst of human enterprise. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Ecology, ethics and economic theory:

Elkington, John. Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line Of 21st Century Business. Stony Creek, CT: New Society Publishers, c1998.
Hardin, Garrett. Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.
Hawken, Paul; Amory Lovins; L. Hunter Lovins. Natural Capitalism: Creating The Next Industrial Revolution. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co., 1999.

Economies of scale:

Meadows, Dennis L.; Donella Meadows; Jrgen Randers. Beyond the Limits: confronting global collapse, envisioning a sustainable future. Mills, Vt.: Chelsea Green Pub., 1992.
Schumacher, E.F. Small is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered. London, Blond and Briggs, 1973.

Evolution of environmental economics:

Brown, Lester R. Eco-economy: building an economy for the earth. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001.
Hawken, Paul. Ecology Of Commerce. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1993.
Henderson, Hazel. Building a Win-Win World: life beyond global economic warfare. San Francisco, CA: Berrett Koehler Publisher's, 1996.


Wackernagel, Mathis; William Rees. Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. New Haven, CT: New Society Publishers, 1996.


none listed.


4. Design and information systems

Communication and information systems:

Minsky, Marvin. The Society of Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986.
Negroponte, Nicholas. Being digital. New York: Knopf, 1995.

Information and social impacts on the built environment:

Mitchell, William. E-topia: "urban life, Jim--but not as we know it”. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.
Negroponte, Nicholas, ed. Reflections on Computer Aids to Design and Architecture. New York: Petrocelli/Charter, 1975.

Communication networks:

Mitchell, William. City of Bits: space, place, and the Infobahn. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995.

Evolution of Information systems and technology:

Eglash, R. African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999.
McHarg, Ian L. Design With Nature. Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Natural History Press, 1971.


Kasprisin, Ron; Pettinari, James. Visual Thinking for Architects and Designers: visualizing context in design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995.
Longley, Paul A.; Michael F. Goodchild; David J. MacGuire; David W. Rhind. Geographic Information Systems and Science. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001.
Tufte, Edward R. Envisioning Information. Cheshire, Conn.: Graphics Press, 1990.


      none listed.


5. Design and aesthetic systems

Human perception of sensory delight in the environment:

Jackson, J.B. A Sense of Place, A Sense of Time. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.
Jackson, Wes. Becoming Native to This Place. Washington D.C.: Counterpoint Press, 1994.
Norberg-Schulz, Christian. Genus Loci: Towards A Phenomenology Of Architecture. New York, NY: Rizzoli, 1980.
Pearson, David. Earth to Spirit: in search of natural architecture. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1995.
Spirn, Anne Whiston. The Granite Garden- Urban Nature and Human Design. Basic Books,1984.
Thayer, Robert L. Gray World, Green Heart: Technology, Nature, And The Sustainable Landscape. New York, NY: Wiley, 1994.

Social issues relating to interpretation and meaning of aesthetic experience:

Thayer, Robert L. LifePlace: Bioregional Thought And Practice. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003.

Forms of human aesthetic experience in the environment:

Heschong, Lisa. Thermal Delight in Architecture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1979.
Reynolds, John S. Courtyards-Aesthetic, Social and Thermal Delight. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
Rudolfsky, Bernard. Architecture without Architects: a short introduction to non-pedigreed architecture. London: Academy Editions, 1965.

Evolution of aesthetic systems:

Eglash, R. African Fractals: modern computing and indigenous design. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999.


Sullivan, Chip and Marc Treib. Garden and Climate: old world techniques for landscape design. London, McGraw-Hill, 2002.


       none listed.


6. Design and structural systems

Structural system integration:

Engel, Heinrich. Structure Systems. New York: Praeger, 1968.

Social and ethical issues of structural systems:

none listed.

Scale of structural system components:

none listed.

Evolution of Structural Systems:

none listed.


none listed.


      none listed.


7. Design and material resources

Materials of the built environment:

Graedel, T. E.; B.R. Allenby. Industrial Ecology. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1995.
Guy, G. Bradley; Charles J. Kibert; Jan Sendzimir. Construction Ecology: Nature As The Basis For Green Buildings. New York, NY: Spon Press, 2002.

Social and ethical issues of materials:

McDonough, William. Cradle To Cradle: Remaking The Way We Make Things. New York, NY: North Point Press, 2002.
Roodman, David Malin; Nicholas Lenssen. A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns are Transforming Construction. Worldwatch Institute paper 124, Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, March 1995.

Material properties:

Malin, Nadav; Alex Wilson. GreenSpec Directory: Product Directory With Guideline Specifications. Brattleboro, VT: Building Green, 2003.
Rousseau, David; W.J. Rea; Jean Enwright. Your home, your health, and well-being. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, 1988.

Evolution of Materials:

Benyus, Janine. Biomimicry: innovation inspired by nature. New York: Morrow, 1997.
Perlin, John. A Forest Journey: the role of wood in the development of civilization. New York: W.W. Norton, 1989.


Adams, Cassandra; Lynne Elizabeth. Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods. New York, NY: Wiley, 2000.
Bergeron, Michael; Paul Lacinski. Serious Straw Bale: A Home Construction Guide For All Climates. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Pub. Co., 2000.
Easton, David. The Rammed Earth House. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, April 1996.
Steen, Athena. The Strawbale House. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Pub. Co.,1994.


      none listed.


8. Design and energy resources

Bioclimatic design in the built environment:

Cowan, Stuart; Sim Van der Ryn. Ecological Design. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1996.
Papanek, Victor. The Green Imperative: natural design for the real world. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1995.
Smith, Peter F. Architecture in a Climate of Change: A guide to sustainable design. Boston: Architectural Press, 2001.
Smith, Peter F. Sustainability at the Cutting Edge: emerging technologies for low energy buildings. Boston: Architectural Press, 2003.

Philosophy of energy issues:

Lovins, Amory. Soft Energy Paths: toward a durable peace. San Francisco: Friends of the Earth International, 1977.

Building and land metabolism:

Akbari, Hashem; Susan Davis; Sofia Dorsano; Joe Huang; Steven Winnett, editors. Cooling our Communities: A Guidebook on Tree Planting and Light-Colored Surfacing. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, January 1992.
Bainbridge, David A.; Judy Corbett; John Hofacre. Village Homes' Solar House Designs: A Collection Of 43 Energy-Conscious House Designs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1979.
Calthorpe, Peter. The Next American Metropolis: ecology, community, and the American dream. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993.
Roseland, Mark; Maureen Cureton; Heather Wornell. Towards Sustainable Communities: resources for citizens and their governments. New Haven, CT: New Society Publishers, 1998.
Van der Ryn, Sim; Peter Calthorpe. Sustainable Communities: a new design synthesis for cities, suburbs, and towns. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1986.

Evolution of energy sources and systems:

Behling, Sophia; Behling, Stefan. Sol Power: The Evolution of Solar Architecture. New York: Prestel, 1996.
Deffeyes, Kenneth S. Hubbert's Peak: the impending world oil shortage. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Perlin, John; Ken Butti. A Golden Thread: 2500 years of solar architecture and technology. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1980.


Allard, Francis. Natural Ventilation In Buildings: A Design Handbook. London: James & James Science Publishers, 1998.
Asimakopoulos, D.; M. Santamouris. Passive Cooling Of Buildings. London: James & Joyce, 1996.
Battle McCarthy Consulting Engineers. Wind towers. Chichester, West Sussex: Academy Editions, 1999.
Brown, G.Z.; Mark Dekay. Sun, Wind, And Light: Architectural Design Strategies. New York, NY: Wiley, 2001.
California Energy Commission. Prepared by Ken Haggard and Phil Niles. Passive Solar Handbook. Sacramento: California Energy Resources and Conservation Development Commission, 1980.
Givoni, Baruch. Climate Considerations In Building And Urban Design. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1998.
Guzowski, Mary. Daylighting for Sustainable Design. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Knowles, Ralph. Energy And Form; an Ecological Approach To Urban Growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974.
Knowles, Ralph. Sun Rhythm Form. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981.
Labs, Kenneth; Donald Watson. Climatic Design: Energy-Efficient Building Principles And Practices. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1983.
Lam, Wiliiam M.C., Sunlighting as Formgiver for Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1986.
Mazria, Edward. The Passive Solar Energy Book: a complete guide to passive solar home, greenhouse, and building design. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press, 1979.
Mendler, Sandra F.; William Odell. The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000.
Shaeffer, John; Douglas M. Pratt. Real Goods’ Solar Living Source Book, 11th ed., White River Junction: Chelsea Green Pub. Co., November 2001.
Strong, Steve. The Solar Electric House: Energy for the Environmentally-Responsive, Energy-Independent Home. Chelsea Green Publishing Company; 2nd ed., January 1994.


       Lechner, Norbert. Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Design Methods For Architects. New York, NY: Wiley, 2001.
Reynolds, John S.; Benjamin Stein. Mechanical And Electrical Equipment For Buildings. New York, NY: Wiley, 2000.   


9. Design and bio-resources

Regeneration in agriculture, landscapes, water, and built environments:

Lyle, John Tillman. Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development. New York: John Wiley, 1994.

Philosophies of resource conservation:

Kimbrell, Andrew. Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2002.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Postel, Sara. Conserving Water: the untapped alternative. Washington, D.C., USA: Worldwatch Institute, 1985.
Postel, Sara. Water for agriculture: facing the limits. Washington, D.C.: Worldwatch Institute, 1989.
Reisner, Marc. Cadillac Desert: the American West and its disappearing water. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

Land coverage by scale:

none listed.

History and evolution of natural resources:

Renner, Michael. The Anatomy of Resource Wars. Worldwatch Institute paper 162, Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, October 2002.


Gould, John; Erik Nissen-Petersen. Rainwater Catchment systems for domestic supply: design, construction and implementation. London: Intermediate Technology Publications, 1999.
Mollison, Bill. Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. Publisher. Tyalgum, Australia: Tagari Publications, 1996.
Savory, Allan. Holistic Resource Management. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1988.
Van der Ryn, Sim. The Toilet Papers: Designs To Recycle Human Waste And Water: Dry Toilets, Greywater Systems & Urban Sewage. Santa Barbara: Capra Press, 1978.


none listed.


10. Design and legal systems

Professional practice knowledge base for the built environment:

none listed.

Ethical and legal issues for serving society as a design professional:

none listed.

Types of practices:

none listed.

Evolution of professional practice:

Boyer, Ernest L.; Lee D. Mitgang. Building Community: A New Future For Architecture Education And Practice: A Special Report. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1996.
Cuff, Dana. Architecture: The Story of Practice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.
Stevens, Gary. The Favored Circle: The Social Foundations of Architectural Distinction. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998.

Operations of professional practice:

Barnes, Louis B.; C. Roland Christensen; Abby J. Hansen. Teaching And The Case Method: Text, Cases, And Readings. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1994.
Sullivan, Louis H. Kindergarten Chats and Other Writings. New York: Wittenborn, Schultz, 1947.
Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research: Design And Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003.


      none listed.             

(updated 1 May 2004)