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Academic & Professional Books  Environmental & Social Studies  Economics, Politics & Policy  Sustainable Development: General

Positive Development From Vicious Circles to Virtuous Cycles Through Built Environment Design

By: Janis Birkeland(Author)
408 pages, b/w illustrations, tables
Publisher: Earthscan
Positive Development
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  • Positive Development ISBN: 9781844075799 Paperback May 2008 Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • Positive Development ISBN: 9781844075782 Hardback May 2008 Usually dispatched within 6 days
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Genuine sustainability will require more than 'ecological restoration'. 'Zero carbon' and 'zero waste', at best, leave things as they are – we need to go beyond zero to development that delivers positive impacts. Achieving truly massive positive gains calls for a new approach to the planning, design and management of our built environment.

Design and planning guru Janis Birkeland presents the innovative new paradigm of Positive Development in which the built environment provides greater life quality, health, amenity and safety for all without sacrificing resources or money. Birkeland makes the case that with a different form of design that focuses on what we can do to achieve positive outcomes, not on what we should not do, development itself can become a 'sustainability solution'. The cornerstone of this new paradigm is nothing less than the eco-retrofitting of the vast urban fabric we already inhabit. The author presents a revolutionary new tool called SmartMode to achieve this end.

This challenging book throws down the gauntlet to anyone working in or studying the areas of sustainable development, planning, architecture or the built environment to rethink their current ideas and practices. Positive Development provides fundamental critique of current best practice in planning, design and development of infrastructure. It presents the new paradigm of Positive Development – development that enhances and restores the environment without sacrificing resources or money – and shows how we can retrofit the built environment to this standard. It also presents professionals with a revolutionary new tool called SmartMode – Systems Mapping And Re-design Thinking – to help reverse the ecological and social impacts of past development.


- Introduction: Sustainability Defined

Part I: Redefining The Problem and Goals
- 'Design For Eco-Services'
- The Case for Eco-Retrofitting
- Sustainable Urban Form

Part II: Building Level - Critique of Methods, Tools, Processes
- Development Standards and Criteria
- Building Assessment and Rating Tools
- Design Methods

Part III: Management Level - Critique of Methods, Tools, Processes
- Sustainability Assessment - Project Level
- Sustainability Audits - Regional Level
- Sustainability Reporting

Part IV: Strategies, Incentives and Planning - Critique of Trends
- Futures Thinking Methods
- Eco-Service Trading Methods
- Bioregional Planning Methods

Part V: Eco-Governance and New Management Methods
- Constitutional Basis and Concepts for SmartMode
- Analyzing Resource Transfers
- The SmartMode Process and Summary


Customer Reviews


Janis Birkeland worked consecutively as artist, advocacy planner, architect, urban designer, city planner and attorney in San Francisco before entering academia in Australia. She has authored about 100 publications on built environment and sustainability and wrote the highly successful and widely adopted Design for Sustainability (Earthscan, 2002). She is now Professor of Architecture at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

By: Janis Birkeland(Author)
408 pages, b/w illustrations, tables
Publisher: Earthscan
Media reviews

"One of the best books on sustainability I've read in a long time [...] clear, compelling, and dead on."
– David Orr, Oberlin College, author of The Nature of Design and Ecological Literacy

"Birkeland's book takes the next step [...] it argues that design for nature, or 'design for eco-services', is long overdue, and explains how we can do it."
– Hunter Lovins, President and Founder of the Natural Capitalism Solutions

"A heralding work of how a positive and innovative design agenda for the built environment, underlined by an uncompromising valuation of ecology and nature's services, can mobilize our efforts in becoming native to the planet."
– Michael Braungart, Professor of Material Flow Management at University Luneburg, Germany and co-author of Cradle to Cradle

"What a great book! Thank you so much and congratulations on its great feat in effortlessly combining erudition with simplicity."
– Senator Bob Brown, Leader of the Australian Greens

"Invaluable not just to designers but to all those whose work impinges on the environment."
– Ken Yeang, Architect, Llewelyn Davies Yeang, UK

"An unusual, and heartening, combination of the radical and the realistic."
– Clive Hamilton, former Executive Director of The Australia Institute, author of Growth Fetish and co-author of Affluenza

"Birkeland is one of the world's leading thinkers on sustainable built environments. In this book she distils her wealth of experience into a very accessible text on how we can achieve net positive development."
– The Natural Edge Project, authors of The Natural Advantage of Nations

"Birkeland convincingly argues that we can 'develop' in a way that replenishes and increases the planet's life-giving services. I urge that this book be read and championed by our infrastructure designers as well as all others."
– David A Hood, Chairman, Australian Green Infrastructure Council

"Birkeland brings a fertile and inventive mind to bear on the critical problem of how to cope with the planet's disappearing carrying capacity."
– David R. Godschalk, University of North Carolina in Urban Land

"This is a wonderful book that should be on the desk of every architect and planner."
– Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe, President, Australian Conservation Foundation

"I highly recommend Professor Birkeland's book [...] a required text for IGP's course on 'Sustainable Architecture' that is a partial prerequisite for the Member (MIGP) or Fellow (FIGP) designations."
– Grant W Austin, President of the Institute for Green Professionals

"This book made me think. It will be a book that I will come back to on many occasions as it questions the conventional approach to sustainable development and goes far beyond, offering advice towards positive development. I will keep it to hand in order to stimulate thinking and to provoke debate."
International Journal of Sustainable Engineering

"The author is a known champion for sustainability in built environment with excellent critique and good solution and best practice examples, the book gives new ideas in 54 boxes. This book can be read again and again."
Built Environment

"As a handbook for architects and planners willing to embrace those ecological principles and wanting to reflect more deeply on what is involved in making the transition, this is a book that can be warmly recommended."
– Frank Stilwell, International Journal of Water

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