Aldo Leopold’s ‘Land Ethic’ deﬁnes the relationship between people and nature, and simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soil, water, plants and animals, or collectively: the land. Instead of regarding it as a commodity belonging to us, we need to see land as a community to which we belong.
This paper tells us how we can integrate these 'land ethic' principles into planning and construction of green buildings.
This dissertation - ‘Recommending a set of guidelines for a green community development following the roadmap of The Land Ethic’, by Jatina Thakkar and Vinit Mirkar, deals with the following 3 main ideas:
Understanding the principles of “The Land Ethic”, using the book ‘A sand county almanac ‘ by Aldo Leopold
The three biotic elements – soil, water and plants and animals, need man to extend ethical behaviour to them. The ecosystem provides us with numerous services like :
Analysing the 3 existing green rating systems for community development, in relation to Land Ethic principles and ecosystem services
Green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources, namely energy, water and materials — thereby reducing a building’s impact on human health and the environment. Thus green building rating systems, are one of the tools used to show or evaluate concern for the environment including land.
Key aspects for green rating system for buildings giving weightage to various factors ( Source: srilankagbc.org)
The green rating systems have over time scaled up from building level to community level and 3 main systems are discussed:
Finally a comparison of the three rating systems on basis of their respective issues and credit points is detailed. This analysis helps derive an understanding about the issues, sub-issues and significance given to each issue in terms of credit points dealt within each system. Comparing the three systems above, it is observed that:
Recommending a set of green guidelines for community development on basis of Land Ethic principles
The author chooses certain keywords like community, land health, land organism, ecological conscience etc, based on which a land ethic model has been proposed, where man is the key member. A comparison between the three rating systems is carried out. For example for the Land Ethic keyword ‘water’, BREAM scores the highest in effort percentage, and PEARL the highest in credit points percentage.
Conceptual design of a green building (Source: Ecomena)
After a comparison of three varied types of rating systems for community development, guidelines are formulated underpinning the principles of the Land Ethic in terms of soil, water and plants. Some of these in random order are:
An illustration of Community Development Guidelines recommended on basis of Land Ethic keywords are:
Collecting rooftop water and grey water (from households) to be diverted to a central reed bed system. The treated water to be used:
Considering the treatment of waste and production of food in the following ways:
Creating intermediate community green belts within each community on the basis of the following calculations:
An understanding and use of Land Ethic keywords such as – land health, land organism and so on, will enable development to be more sensitive and vigilant to the modifications that it causes to the land. All development needs to be associated with the ecosystem services that are either hampered, terminated and enhanced at every stage of development process so that the ‘Land Ethic’ becomes a part of all green development.
To read the full dissertation, please download the attached PDF.
About the authors
Jatina R Thakkar is an architect from L. S. Raheja School of Architecture, Mumbai, working for the last 11 years, primarily in the residential sector. This research report is a dissertation she did as part of a course in Environmental Architecture, from IES College of Architecture, Mumbai.
Vinit Mirkar is a core faculty and technical head for the B Arch, and the HoD for M Arch in Environmental Architecture courses at at IES College of Architecture, Mumbai. He has done his PGD in Environmental Architecture from Rachana Sansad, Mumbai. He is currently pursuing his PhD in reinterpreting sustainable architectural strategies, theories and practices for upcoming urban settlements in coastal Maharashtra.