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Ecological Consciousness as Place: Exploring Ecovillage Design in the Valley of Manoa

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Title: Ecological Consciousness as Place: Exploring Ecovillage Design in the Valley of Manoa
Authors: Tyson, Amy
Advisor: Leineweber, Spencer
Issue Date: May 2009
Abstract: The goal of researching the Ecovillage as a model for human development is to better define sustainability on both the physical and metaphysical planes in order to understand what interdisciplinary approaches to sustainable design would bring us closer to healing the environment. It is important that our current efforts to protect the natural environment are not stolen, like much of our culture, by commercial entities and trivialized beyond recognition. Already this can be seen in “Green” consumerism which enables people to continue their current patterns of consumption as long as they purchase the “appropriate” products. The same is being seen in the design and construction industry. New industrial standards are encouraging “Green” building techniques that feature everything from water catchment to composting toilets. But is changing our design and construction techniques enough to save us from the further degradation of the Environment? Many believe that answer is no. It is becoming clearer to those of us working to protect the environment, that our culture, social institutions, and personal philosophies play a far greater role in this movement towards sustainability than previously given credit. It is true that in order to heal the Environment we must heal our built environment, but to truly heal our built environment we must heal its source, the human soul. E.F. Schumacher warned us decades ago that this revolution of sustainability must be a metaphysical one, not one based on the current dominant paradigm of consumerism and unlimited growth. This is a call for an ecological consciousness to sweep the globe. What is this ecological consciousness and how does it apply to our personal belief systems, our cultures and our built environment? What would it mean to apply the concept of ecological consciousness, or deep ecology, to a design problem? Is it possible to create a place that allows for the learning and teaching of this ecological consciousness? Part 1 takes a historical look at worldviews and how they continue to shape our built environment and our personal philosophies in regard to the natural environment. Modernism has proven to be enemy number one to the natural world, therefore moving xii away from this worldview towards an ecological worldview could offer many benefits to the sustainability movement. Part 2 explores in-depth what ecological consciousness means at the spiritual level, the social level and the physical/ecological level. This section summarizes the various concepts that apply to ecological consciousness and examines how these concepts are currently and historically played out in our daily lives, particularly in the daily life of an ecovillage. Ecovillage case studies are presented throughout this section to better demonstrate ecological consciousness in action. Part 3 takes the concepts gathered in the previous sections and applies them to a physical design project in the back of Mānoa Valley on the island of Oahu, Hawai`i. The design concept is to create a place that allows for the learning and teaching of an ecological consciousness. The physical design is based on passive design strategies, local/recycled materials, and renewable energy opportunities while the educational program and the layout offer multiple opportunities to develop a culture of sustainability at the personal and social levels. The theories of ecological design, cultural ecology, education, and self-realization were applied to the design of Ecovillage Mānoa, resulting in a place to learn and teach an ecological consciousness. Due to its location in the much loved and world renowned ahupua`a of Waikīkī, Ecovillage Mānoa has the potential to demonstrate and spread ecological consciousness throughout the globe.
Pages/Duration: 146 pages
Appears in Collections:2009

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