2.1
Outline of Topics for Sustainable Design

Scope of SEDE Curriculum

To provide instructors of architecture and landscape architecture related design programs with a comprehensive overview of the content (columns a-d), skills (column e), and requisite knowledge (column f) for sustainable design, we derived a matrix consisting of the ten fundamental concerns that should be addressed in an ideal curriculum model. Each of the concerns are described in terms of: (a) definitions, (b) human systems-natural systems relationships, (c) scales of influence, (d) history and evolution, (e) techniques, and (f) prerequisites. The topics are not arranged in a particular curricular sequence.

 

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(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)

1. Design and natural systems

Planetary systems
and dynamics:

bio-geo-chemical
climatological
ecological
hydrological

Ethical issues and theories:
environmentalism
permaculture
regenerative design
Patterns and scale in nature:
biomes
bioregion
watersheds
bio-communities
landscapes
Natural history:
climate
microclimate
flora + fauna
resources
Techniques:
site analysis, planning + design
landscape ecology
GIS/GPS
Prerequisites:
biology
botany
chemistry
ecology
mathematics

2. Design and cultural systems Human systems
and dynamics:

anthropology
cultural geography
human ecology
history

Socio-cultural issues and the built environment:
accessibility
demographics
human factors
growth impacts
planning/zoning
social justice

Patterns and scale in human communities:
urban
suburban
rural

Cultural history and change in the built environment:
cultural identity
pre-historic and historic buildings
landscapes
settlement patterns

Techniques:
activity analysis
archival research
personal interviews
programming


Prerequisites:
history
planning
social sciences
statistics

3. Design and economic systems Economic systems
and resource flows:

Human, natural, and economic capital
Ecology, ethics and economic theory:
natural step
triple bottom line

Economies of scale:
global, regional, local
small is beautiful
limits to growth

Evolution of
environmental
economics:

ecology of commerce

Techniques:
life-cycle analysis
ecological footprint
Prerequisites:
accounting
economics
mathematics

4. Design and information systems Communication and information systems:
verbal, graphical,
written, symbolic
and pictoral
Information and social impacts
on the built environment:

participatory design
telecommuting

Communication
networks:
global
regional
local
Internet/Intranet

Evolution of Information systems and technology:
computing
GIS/GPS
CAD/CAM

Techniques:
freehand
CAD/CAM
GPS/GIS
virtual reality
smart objects
Prerequisites:
computing
drawing
graphic design
mathematics
speech
technical writing
5. Design and aesthetic systems Human perception of sensory (visual, auditory, thermal, etc.) delight in the environment:
sense of place
Social issues relating aesthetic experience:
age
cultural
income
gender
politics
values

Forms of human aesthetic experience in the environment:
acoustical, aqueous, haptic , kinesthetic, olfactory, phenomenological, spatial, thermal, visual

Evolution of aesthetic systems:
avant-garde
baroque
classical
organic
post-modern
etc.

Techniques:
architecture, dance/drama
drawing, env'l art, furniture design, graphic design, industrial design
interior design, landscape design, painting/sculpture,
textiles

Prerequisites:
basic design
drawing
history (eg., art)
model-making

6. Design and structural
systems

Structural system integration:
economic,
environmental, social, and aesthetic factors of structure

Social and ethical issues of structural systems:
embodied energy
environmental factors
demountability
labor force
structural efficiency
Scale of structural system components:
roofs, walls, floors,
foundations, columns+beams
paving systems

Evolution of structural systems:
idigenous, man-made, hi-tech, high performance, etc., materials
Techniques:
post-and-beam
masonry/concrete
tensile
thin shell concrete

Prerequisites:
chemistry
mathematics
statics
strength of materials
physics


7. Design and
material resources
Materials of the built environment:
economic, environmental, social, and aesthetic issues of building and landscape materials

Social and ethical issues of materials:
human health
environmental impacts
labor issues
local resources
Material properties:
acoustical
dimensional
thermal
" greeness"
cost

Evolution of Materials:
vernacular
man-made
high performance
industrial ecology
biomimicry

Techniques:
recycled/recyclable
compostable
alternatives (materials and methods)
healthy materials

Prerequisites:
business
chemistry
construction
physics
structures

8. Design and
energy resources
Bioclimatic design in the built environment:
solar, wind,
bio-mass, and hydrographic
resources as economic, environmental, social, and aesthetic solutions
Philosophy of energy issues:
" soft path"
centralized
independent
environmental impacts

Building and
land metabolism:

scale
comfort
appropriate tech.(to match natural/climatic resources)
whole systems
Evolution of energy sources and systems:
solar, wind,
bio-mass, hydro, and non-renewable
resources

Techniques:
passive solar heating+cooling
low energy systems
efficient HVAC
anerobic digestion
daylighting
bldg commissioning

Prerequisites:
design with climate
earth science
ecology
engineering
mathematics
physics

9. Design and bio-resources Regeneration in agriculture,
landscapes, water, and built environments:

water cycle
nutrient cycle
land-air-water exchanges
Philosophies of resource conservation:
land ethic
waste=food
habitat restoration
resource recovery
soil regeneration

Land coverage by scale:
regional landscapes
large scale farms
urban agriculture

History and evolution of natural resources:
forests
farmland
water
etc.
Techniques:
anerobic digestion,
constructed wetlands,
holistic resource management,
permaculture,
greywater, rainwater catchment,
organic farming, etc.


Prerequisites:
agriculture
biology
chemistry
ecology
engineering
environmental planning
landscape ecology
resource management
soil science
10. Design and legal systems Professional practice knowledge base for the built environment:
economic, environmental, ethical, legal, social, and
technical
Ethical and legal issues for serving society as a design professional:
codes
contracts
environmental laws
(eg, NEPA/CEQA)
life safety
permitting
public participation
etc.

Types of practices:
architecture
contracting
cost-estimating
design-build
environmental graphics
interiors
landscape
LEED certifying
programming
specification writing

Evolution of the profession and its legal systems:
role of environmental design professions

Operations of professional practice:
accounting
client interactions
contract documents
construction
cost estimating
design
programming
green specifications
site observation

Prerequisites:
accounting
business
law
practice
public speaking
team building