A Pattern Language for Sustainability – Toward a Conservation Economy, by Ecotrust

A Pattern Language for Sustainability - Toward a Conservation Economy by Ecotrust
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“In A Conservation Economy, Economic arrangements of all kinds are gradually redesigned so that they restore, rather than deplete, Natural Capital and Social Capital.”

 

What does a sustainable society look like?

On ConservationEconomy.net, fifty-seven patterns provide a framework for an ecologically restorative, socially just, and reliably prosperous society. They are adaptable to local ecosystems and cultures, yet universal in their applicability. Together they form what we call a Conservation Economy.

Together, the patterns form a visual and conceptual framework that can be used to inspire innovation, focus planning efforts, and document emerging best practices. A conservation economy comprehensively integrates Social, Natural, and Economic Capital to demonstrate that a sustainable society is both desirable and achievable.

 

What is a pattern language?

A pattern language is a structured method of describing good design practices within a field of expertise. It is characterized by

  1. Noticing and naming the common problems in a field of interest,
  2. Describing the key characteristics of effective solutions for meeting some stated goal,
  3. Helping the designer move from problem to problem in a logical way, and
  4. Allowing for many different paths through the design process.

When a designer is designing something (whether it is a house or a computer program or a stapler), they must make many decisions about how to solve problems. A single problem, documented with its best solution, is a single design pattern. Each pattern has a name, a descriptive entry, and some cross-references, much like a dictionary entry. A documented pattern must also explain why that solution is considered the best one for that problem, in the given situation. When design is done by a team, pattern names will form a vocabulary they can share. This makes it necessary for pattern names to be easy to remember and highly descriptive.

 

A Pattern Language for Sustainability – Toward a Conservation Economy

In A Conservation Economy, Economic arrangements of all kinds are gradually redesigned so that they restore, rather than deplete, Natural Capital and Social Capital. While A Conservation Economy functions on a global scale, it can be imagined as a healthy mosaic of Bioregional Economies forged within coherent biological and cultural units. Even in a globalizing economy, diverse Bioregional Economies that are more self-sufficient in meeting their own needs will be more competitive and less vulnerable.

Pattern Index

A Conservation Economy

Social Capital

  • Fundamental Needs: Subsistence Rights, Shelter For All, Health, Access To Knowledge
  • Community: Social Equity, Security, Cultural Diversity, Cultural Preservation, Sense Of Place, Beauty And Play, Just Transitions, Civic Society

Natural Capital

  • Ecological Land-Use: Connected Wildlands (Core Reserves, Wildlife Corridors, Buffer Zones), Productive Rural Areas (Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Forestry, Sustainable Fisheries, Ecotourism), Compact Towns And Cities (Human-Scale Neighborhoods, Green Building, Transit Access, Ecological Infrastructure, Urban Growth Boundaries)
  • Ecosystem Services: Watershed Services, Soil Services, Climate Services, Biodiversity

Economic Capital

  • Household Economies
  • Green Business: Long-Term Profitability, Community Benefit, Green Procurement, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Materials Cycles, Resource Efficiency, Waste As Resource, Product As Service
  • Local Economies: Value-Added Production, Rural-Urban Linkages, Local Assets
  • Bioregional Economies: Fair Trade, True Cost Pricing, Product Labeling

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