Architect and author Lance Hosey, in his book The Shape of Green, argues that beauty is inherent to sustainability, for how things look and feel is as important as how they’re made. He went further and wrote 'If it’s not beautiful, it’s not sustainable'!
Long-term value is impossible without sensory appeal, because if design doesn't inspire, it’s destined to be discarded. “In the end,” writes Senegalese poet Baba Dioum, “we conserve only what we love.” We don’t love something because it’s nontoxic and biodegradable - we love it because it moves the head and the heart. If people don’t want something, it will not last, no matter how thrifty it is. And when our designs end up as litter or landfill, how prudent have we been? “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us,” wrote Rachel Carson half a century ago, “the less taste we shall have for destruction.” When we treasure something, we’re less prone to kill it, so desire fuels preservation. Love it or lose it. In this sense, the old mantra could be replaced by a new one: If it’s not beautiful, it’s not sustainable. Aesthetic attraction is not a superficial concern - it’s an environmental imperative. Beauty could save the planet.
© Shape of Green