Is the Drive for Sustainability Killing Creativity?


UK architecture website BD online asked Austin Williams, author of new book The Enemies of Progress, and Pooran Desai of BioRegional Quintain. We excerpt a bit:

Austin Williams says YES: "The mantra "less is more" has gone from being a defining moment in modernist thought to the unquestioned orthodoxy of our environmental age. Unfortunately, its progressive content has been stripped away.

Efficiency used to encourage us to design creatively in order to, as Buckminster Fuller implied, do more and more. Now, environmental efficiency states that using less is an end in itself. Sustainability is a moral injunction for restraint. Architecture has become a carbon spreadsheet. In that sense, the essence of imagination is lost."

Pooran Desai says NO: "The world has changed in only a couple of years. The days of plentiful, cheap oil have gone for good. For the first time in 40 years, food security is back on the agenda — not only as an international political issue but as a domestic one as well. We now know we must find solutions which enable us to lead high-quality lives within the limits of the planet's finite resources. Creativity is not about ignoring constraints. That is madness, literally a state of dissociation from reality. Creativity is about solutions which overcome constraints." ::BD Online