Ecological Design as an Ecology of Love: Epistemological and Ethical Implications

  • Gonzalo SalazarEmail author
  • Seaton Baxter
Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)


Based on the argument that the complex environmental crisis is essentially an epistemological and ethical crisis, the intention in this chapter is double: first, to synthesise a new epistemology of design—one that we call an ecology of design by attending to the problem of how are we to understand the systemic relationship between individuals and their environment and comprehend the praxis of design as an integral part of it. And second, to synthesise the essential element for design to become ecological, which it is argued that only occurs when its praxis is mainly commanded by the emotion and ecology of love. Love is described as the biological and ecological foundation of what makes us human beings and therefore as the main human disposition from which a truly ecological ethics and ecological consciousness in design praxis may emerge. First, the chapter examines how design is part of an ecology of living which is epistemologically constructed as a reaction to modern rationale. Then, based on Maturana’s notion of human existence in conversation, the chapter suggests that design is a human form of conversing and synthesises four implications that are constitutive of this condition. After dealing with an epistemological dimension of design as conversation, the chapter synthesises the notion of an ecology of love. Based on the exploration of several philosophical and scientific accounts, the article examines some essential aspects of an ecology of love that informs an ethical and collaborative form of designing.


Ecological design Ecology of love Emotion Sustainability 



This research was supported by Fondecyt Iniciación Project N° 11130519; by Project CONICYT/FONDAP N°15110020 (CEDEUS); and by Project CONICYT/FONDAP N° 15110006 (CIIR).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UC Centre for Local DevelopmentPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileVillarricaChile
  2. 2.Ecological Design Thinking Schumacher CollegeFifeUK

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