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The Green Imperative: Ecology and Ethics in Design and Architecture

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Asserts the belief that the power of design can influence a more responsible approach to our threatened environment. This book shows how everyone, from those at the forefront of design to the consumers, can contribute to the well-being of the planet through an awareness of design and technology.

256 pages, Paperback

First published October 2, 1995

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Victor Papanek

10 books39 followers

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5 stars
56 (43%)
4 stars
49 (38%)
3 stars
21 (16%)
2 stars
1 (<1%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
December 4, 2022
Some parts are slightly outdated, but the sentiment stands. Lots of great insights in areas, and an even more important topic than it was in 1995.
It's incredible how before his time Papanek was, or it at least feels that way.
Profile Image for mahatmanto.
526 reviews39 followers
April 25, 2008
ini buku sulit dikatakan 'sudah' dibaca. karena buku ini senantiasa saya baca. beberapa kali saya bolak-balik padanya, nyari kutipan darinya atau nyari fakta lain yang diungkapkannya. ini semua karena buku ini memang inspiratif. baru kali ini saya masukkan di goodreads karena justru saking deketnya sehingga terlewat oleh mata.
buku ini menyambung buku papanek sebelumnya "design for the real world". termasuk juga mengulang pendefinisian "fungsi" yang secara baru dia bikin.
di buku ini tindakan disain, dan keputusan-keputusan yang diambil di dalamnya ditimbang secara etik, khususnya etika lingkungan hidup. bahwa semua tindak disain yang mengubah alam 'natural' menjadi alam 'kultural' ini jelas-jelas punya konsekuensi ekologis yang belum dipikirkan mendalam dampaknya. membuat pensil,setip, kertas yang memungkinkan kita mengurai gagasan itu saja sudah punya dampak ekologis. belum lagi membangun rumah, apartemen atau bahkan kota.
so, membantah heroisasi arsitek dan urban planner, buku ini justru memerlihatkan betapa lemahnya mereka... dan betapa kuatnya ide modernitas itu sudah mencederai manusia penggagasnya sendiri.
terdengar romantik?
agaknya demikian! he..he..
Profile Image for Jessika Hepburn.
53 reviews3 followers
May 10, 2018
An important read on the role of design in our remaking of the world and the ethics of designing for ecological impact. This work helped introduce concepts like “design for disassembly” that have heavily influenced product design and led to the development of IKEA type production. He would likely be horrified at how his more radical ideas of designing for sustainability and our ethical obligation to do so have been interpreted as design for disposability instead.
Profile Image for Ilja.
1 review1 follower
November 9, 2015
Not much to say really.. Every single human being on this planet should be familiar with the contents of this incredible book. Period.
Profile Image for Jenina.
80 reviews15 followers
January 4, 2023
Timely and timeless. The cerebral and the material.

A material imagination and intelligence: to understand materials means to be able to tell histories of what they do, why the structure was built, why some materials are preferred over others, what happens to them if they are treated in particular ways, and what meanings are associated with its plan-form.

In Françoise Mouly’s interview for Apartamento, she spoke about the holistic approach of the architecture education. While not everyone should be an (licensed) architect, everyone might benefit from the physical ways of communicating and representing ideas that the training can impart through sketches, plans, elevations, perspective drawings, models, etc. Papanek echoes this idea of a studio training in design and architecture: the hands-on performance, solution-seeking mindset, verbal and non-verbal communication, design crits, and self-criticism. It's a kind of training that prepares you outside the studio — molding you for life.

I’ll always be grateful that the other half of my college education was an architecture and design one. I'm more grateful that the overall education I received at Berkeley was an interdisciplinary education and training that taught me critical thinking, how to develop a perspective, and the iterative process of synthesis.

Papanek ends the book with a simple task for designers: to not aspire for grand spectacles — just great refinement, elegance, subtlety, high level of craftsmanship, and a deep commitment to practice and experience of all the arts. Simple materials and concrete gestures.
Profile Image for Juliet Wilson.
Author 16 books41 followers
March 24, 2019
This is a useful and insightful book for anyone interested in making design more ecofriendly and at the same time more human friendly (ie design that takes people's real needs into account instead of becoming obsessed with aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics). Papanek looks at designs for buildings and machines with an eye to using ecofriendly materials and ways of extending the lifestyle of items. He looks at designs made by various peoples across the world including a fascinating chapter on Inuit design (he spent a lot of time with Inuit people).

It's a book that fits neatly at the point between text book and creative non-fiction, being written in an engaging, accessible style and lavishly illustrated, while being creatively useful and informative. Ideal reading for anyone who designs things from architects to jewellery makers.

It feels like a very timely book.

Depressingly it was actually published in 1995 and this is the second time I've read it. Why are we so slow at doing the obvious? Why are so many new objects destructive of the environment in the way they are made, their short lifespan and the amount of waste that they produce?
March 11, 2019
One of my precious references. Taught me how to be designer for behaviour change, by continually asking: "How can I apply this is my work?".
140 reviews6 followers
January 27, 2009
A good book on the need to change the way we design the entire spectrum of human artifacts, from buildings to automobiles to snackbars. Papanek discusses how product design should go far beyond aesthetics. Products can and should be designed to be energy efficient, environmentally friendly, conducive to human health, and easy to use and repair. He relates his own experiences in the design of a wide range of products and how he used his position as a designer to advocate this agenda. The text is largely engaging and easy to read. This is a good primer for anyone entering a field of product engineering or design.
Profile Image for Chandra .
32 reviews11 followers
July 7, 2017
Directing how to design in Urban and Modern times ... why don't we use organic elements ? Tropical building must have more window or boxes hole to exhaust wind , more oxygen more better .

More woods, leafs, ceramics and recycled paper . Processing reuse trashes to be new material . Anti pollution, illegal lgging, world wildlife fund, balaclava, and traditional design may not been degradated by modern design , but must be renewal .
Profile Image for Dalibor Chrápek.
37 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2022
I gave up 20% in and skimmed through the rest. The book might have been readable the year it was first published (1995), but its supposedly revised edition (2021) was incredibly irrelevant, outdated, boring and laughable, and read EXACTLY as if it were indeed 1995. The style didn’t sit well with me wither. Weird weird weird reading and a bad omen for the rest of the year since it is 1st January 🙂
7 reviews2 followers
August 1, 2008
Oddly, there are quite a large number of typographical errors in this book. Despite this, it is almost as good as Design for the Real World, and it sits right next door on my bookshelf. Another must read for designers and architects.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

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