William McDonough: Cradle to cradle design

An old TED video from 2005. Among many highlights, some interesting things to say about growth. McDonough talks about one type of ‘growth as asphalt’ which is ‘destroying the Earth’s underlying operating system’. In McDonough’s vision of a technical metabolism as intricate and resilient as anything biological, “the question becomes not ‘growth or no growth’ but ‘what do you want to grow?’ ”

Yet here we are in 2012, seven years after this video’s impressive proposal for new Chinese cities built on these principles. They seem to have caught the same grand plan disease so many other projects have before it. Is there a way to build McDonough’s principles into the development process itself that might avoid this kind of Seeing like a State morality tale ending? After all, we need to retrofit our existing settlements, not simply build technical-metabolic utopias.

Still, a hugely hopeful vision in a pretty bleak time. h/t James Newton, Native Architects.

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