The Seeds of Sustainability: An Interactive CD Rom Exploring the Role of Architects, Planners and Designers in Achieving a Sustainable Future

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Virginia Tech

The generally accepted definition of the term sustainability is: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs. While that definition helps to provide a general framework within which to understand the term, it does not begin to explain the more specific initiatives, ideas, strategies and design concepts necessary for an architect, designer or planner to contribute to the process of achieving a sustainable future. As a result, the term sustainability is often misunderstood or even mistrusted within the design professions. The goal of this thesis is to begin the process of generating a comprehensive understanding of the term sustainability within the design community. It asks the question: what does it mean, specifically, and in terms of concrete design strategies for architects, designers and planners to design for sustainability? In that sense the final product is intended to be educational and is designed to communicate information in a visual format that the design community can not only relate to, but be engaged by. The information is presented in a non-linear structure to allow dynamic connections between related pieces of information and between design strategies that solve problems within seemingly different areas. Ultimately, the final product is intended to become a CD rom with dynamic links between information within the presentation and to the Internet.

Sustainability, Architecture, Planning, Design, Environment