Chapter 9 Touching the earth, touching people: approaches to sustainability design
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While offering a step-by-step approach this chapter notes that design is not a linear and procedural undertaking but deals with contradictions that must be worked through values. Buildings, particularly in nature-based or ecotourism spaces, often lack the ethos of their conservation settings. Vernacular architecture in the area offers clues as to how to mitigate weather and climactic challenges, how to build and make settlement with local resources, and how to engage local communities. Where vernacular architecture does not exist in the area the ethos of ‘touching the earth lightly’ should be pursued. As a counter to this, a strategy of ‘touching the earth heavily’ raises the challenge to developers, practitioners and architects to approach the design as an emergent response to local ecologies - as an evolutionary process. The key move is to have experts map and assist the architect in defining the brief and site before the design work proceeds.

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Editor: Anna Spenceley