Deep Design Deep Design
Pathways to a Livable Future


David Wann
Format: Hard Cover
Length: 232 pages
Publisher: Island Press
ISBN: 1559634200
Copyright: 1996

In Deep Design, David Wann explores a new way of thinking about design, one that asks "What is our ultimate goal?" before the first step has even been taken. Designs that begin with such a question – whether in products, buildings, technologies, or communities – are sensitive to living systems, and can potentially accomplish their mission without the seemingly unavoidable side effects of pollution, erosion, congestion, and stress.

Such "deep designs" meet the key criteria of renewability, recyclability, and nontoxicity. Often based on natural systems, they are easy to understand and implement, and provide more elegant approaches to getting the services and functions we need. Wann presents information gleaned from interviews with more than fifty innovative designers in a wide variety of fields, and describes numerous case studies that explain the concept and practice of deep design.


“Deep Design is timely, it is necessary and it is wonderful. The ability to design beyond our instincts separates humans from other species and we now realize how much our ‘designs’ separate us from and endanger the natural world we inhabit. Because design is also the first signal of human intention it is time to reconsider our intentions and we must look everywhere and we must look deeply. This is what David Wann has done with this important book.”
-- William McDonough, architect, Dean and Elson Professor of The School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, and author of The Hannover Principles

David Wann shows how an understanding of ‘deep design’ can bring a good sustainable standard of living to all people, without incurring profit loss or environmentally degrading compromises. His message goes beyond an easily said ‘we must’ to ‘we not only can, but here are examples of how we already have.’ The calm presentation and many examples of successful deep design (not just in architecture and planning) make this book credible to decision-makers who need this information. This book provides the basis for a useful college course.”
-- J. Baldwin, Technology Editor, Whole Earth Review

“Deep Design finally provides the content buried beneath the elusive word ‘sustainability,’ and in doing so, opens up new ways of understanding controversies and provides new insights which will contribute to their resolutions. It is required reading for all ages, all backgrounds and professions participating in this dialogue.”
-- Paul Bierman-Lytle, Executive Director, Sustainable Environment Associates

About the Author

David Wann has written four books, more than a hundred articles, and produced twenty videos. He has taught at the college level, worked as a policy analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more than a decade, and helped design and build the cohousing village in which he now lives.

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