Ecological Design: Inventing the Future

Illuminating the emergence of ecological design, from the original vision of independent thinkers in the l920s to its becoming a powerful movement at present, Ecological Design: Inventing the Future, which is narrated by Linda Hunt, is a thematically stimulating if visually conventional documentary. Dealing with an important subject matter still obscure to the lay public, informative docu should air on Public TV and also be used in classrooms as educational material.

The film features the ideas and inventions of pioneering philosophers and designers who have trail-blazed the development of architecture, urban landscape, energy systems, industry and even public transport. Spanning seven decades of revolutionary thought, pic begins with the work of l920s inventors R. Buckminster Fuller and Paul MacCready, “outlaw” thinkers whose visions went beyond the “convention and stupidity of politics.” Regrettably, Fuller's call for a new design had to wait a whole generation to be implemented.

Because ecological design interweaves “Nature, Technology, and Culture,” docu relies on interviews with a diverse group of professionals, such as city planner Edmund Bacon, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, biochemist John Todd, teacher-editor Jay Baldwin. Representing their various disciplines, each pro sheds light on a different angle of ecological design, revealing their theories, methods, goals–and commitment for a more desirable future.

The conviction that guides the movement strives for greater balance and harmony between nature, human beings, and technology. Reflecting its comprehensive scope, Ecological Design illustrates its central concepts through location footage, animation, computer simulation, stills of patents, architectural blueprints, etc.

Chief problem is docu's nature as an illustrated academic lecture, albeit one that holds great fascination for the future, with significant implications for a new radical lifestyle. Docu's last and most applicable segment is a detailed demonstration of how Jamie Lerner, mayor of Curituba, Brazil's “Ecological Capital,” engaged his whole town, including its poor residents, in a collective mobilization that involved new modes for garbage collection and public transportation.

With ideas that are pertinent to the daily lives of average citizens, Ecological Design should benefit such public forums as educational institutions, environmental conferences, and national and regional museums.