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The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention Paperback – October 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195173686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195173680
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"David Orr backs his talk with tactics and deeds that include his own actions. He convinced Oberlin College to construct a science building that 'did not impair human or ecological health somewhere else or at some later time.' That was a big order and not easily done, but he attracted and organized the multi-talented team that did it.... The chapter labeled 'Education, Careers, and Callings' is particularly fine, and presents...solid suggestions for doable changes in education that will be considered radical by many ecologically illiterate educators, but are certainly the way to go. Good stuff, easily read." --J. Baldwin, Whole Earth, Fall 2002

"The creativity of thought displayed is refreshing when compared to the hundreds of texts that criticise current practice without offering substitutes. And Orr's understanding of the role pysical surroundings play in human thinking inspires a vital alternative to the technological fundamentalism constricting so much current thought."--Ecologist

About the Author

David W. Orr is Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College. He is the author of Ecological Literacy and Earth in Mind, as well as more than 100 published articles. Among other awards, he has received a Lyndhurst Prize Fellowship and the National Wildlife Federation's National Achievement Award.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ben Falk on June 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Orr expands on some of the themes brought to the forefront in his last two books (Ecological Literacy and Earth in Mind). However, he highlights aspects critical to a sustaining culture that lie outside the boundaries of convential educational thought, and even outside the previous bounds of Orr's comprehensive vision of education.
He explains and argues for a continually expanded vision of 'education' again, and embeds this process in the larger processes of life; tirelessy showing that there are no boundaries between the two - and what this means for our place in the living world.
Chapters such as "Architecture as Pedagogy" represent some of his past work refined.
It is in the first half dozen chapters, however, that I feel he gets closest to the heart of the matter. In chapters such as "Slow Knowledge" and "Verbicide" he brings forth such elements as time, information, the speed at which we unite (or disjoint) them, and our relationship between such daily elements. I have been on a constant search for commentary on the implications of our relationship with time as it concerns sustainability. (Some of the best writing on it, that I've found is in The Sabbath by A.J Heschel and Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram). There is little written directly about this in the general literature, much of it not embedded in the concept of sustainability. The majority of it is also somewhat hidden in studies of religion, symbolism, and philosophy. Orr brings these relationships into the open and connects our perception and the design of our use of time directly to the ground. He never loses sight of the how such processes impact our prospects for a livable future.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ashwin on October 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
One needn't read the blurb to know that DO is a professor. The writing style, the subject chosen and the way it has been treated, the examples given... all point towards a very advanced mind! The power of this book lies in the relentless power of the ideology and the prose to raise questions in the mind of the reader, and forcing the reader to reconsider some of his/her own beliefs and viewpoints.
The professor makes this journey even more enjoyable through his deliciously witty sarcasms and digs at the capitalistic society of today and its spin-doctors of advertising. Through numerous examples and penetrating questions, the writer clearly supports his point of view that humanity today is rushing headlong into the future, with a blind reliance on science and technology/forms of government/economic theories... and this faith he claims, seems to mirror an almost religious fervor. The writer clearly illustrates how humanity is increasingly trading its unknown future for short term gains of a few in positions of power to exploit those gains.
The book deals with the subject of designing the future with Nature in mind, and speaks of the nature of design. Quite a heavy book in terms of the ideas, though the writing is wonderfully simple and straightforward. But aren't the clearest minds with the most elegant and terse prose, the hardest to comprehend? Simply a brilliant book that is a must read, and replete with a wonderfully diverse reference list at the end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Dinur on September 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Orr's book is a fantastic illustration of the current state of the world in terms of the relationship between technology, ecology, design and economy from a theoretical-philosophical perspective. He does not brush anything "under the carpet" and provides a very broad and deep understanding of our incompetence as a society saturated with consumption to deal with the consequences of our modern way of life. The best thing about this book, in comparison with other books in the subject, is first of all that it provides a highly engaging read, and second of all that it offers a very clear solution to our social and environmental problems - to live within and according to nature's limits. Orr's argument is convincing, not only because it is supported by many beautiful references, but mainly because it provides a very practical and honest pathway to the future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Paulsen on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I didn't think I'd like this book as much as I actually did. It was informative, questioning, and thought provoking. Great for someone who knows little about ecological literacy but wants to know more. A good beginner's book for someone starting to realize the intrinsic value in nature.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Monicawesomeness on June 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book arrived early,had only one mark on one page. It is a convenient size and not to heavy to carry with me to college. I appreciate the low price since the school book store wanted fifty dollars for it.
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