Sustainable Technologies: Paradigms and Practices

Sustainable Technologies: Paradigms and Practices


If I was a determinist I would want to know that which often forbids us to talk about what we cannot know.

>Jordan Parker Williams


Society, Nature and Technology

Position Paper II

16 November 2006


Are we a product of technology or is technology a product of humans? The very question itself is based on a false dichotomy.  It is based on a false paradigm or “map of human nature”, that of determinism.  We are a product of neither nature nor nurture; we are a product of choice, because there is always a space between stimulus and response, as we exercise our power to choose based on principles not reactions, the space will become larger.[i] The idea of determinism is deeply embedded into present day culture and has reinforced a culture of victimization because of the terrifying sense that if I do have choice, then I am also responsible for my present situation.  If a person can say I am what I am and I am where I am because I so choose to be there, then that person can realize a statement of:  I choose other wise.  This is an important realization of the human condition, admittedly far too often technologies are marketed with knee jerk responses to their usefulness and seem all too agreeable; but—being human allows  us to choose, even in the most overwhelming politically set trajectories, we have the power to choose.

Commonly in socio-technological studies there are two categories: 1) “technological voluntarist” advocating that social systems shape technologies and humans have a choice, voice, and control over and in technologies and their trajectories and 2) “technological determinist” who believe technology has a set path and inevitable evolution, producing artifacts along the way.

In this position paper I will look at technology through a voluntarist lens to see how sustainable paradigms and practices can evolve and how “reflexive modernization” is best to allow us to evolve to a sustainable future in which our choices in everyday decisions matter.[ii]

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The Ecological Design of Co-housing Power Point


Check out this early Power Point Presentation of my Master of Design Proposal from my research design class ’06 with Dr. Steven A. Moore.

The link above should download a .pdf.

  • Purpose of Research: The aim of this design study is to propose a specific case of co-housing that expands the term to mean cooperative dwellings of human and non-human residents, creating a greater ecological place.This design of co-housing should appropriated to the site as to minimize environmental damage and to enhance what characteristics, qualities and species/beings are present and what could be present (i.e. introducing native speicies, creating architecture that improves the quality of life of future residents).
    • + I see a need to integrate the human environment and nature in development.
    • + Far too often nature is seen as stopping development, how can this be changed?
    • + Concepts of housing like Co-housing are more sustainable and can give residents more control in their built environment. 
What’s the “So What”?
  • Appreciate what we have in terms of “everyday nature”
  • Create more sustainable housing, reflecting and embracing nature can bring inspiration and more livelihood.
  • Benefits of intertwining nature and human development can be better understood.
  • Take ecological design of housing farther than LEED (energy efficiency)
  • Expanding sustainability past the humancondition will create a more sustainable condition