Environmental Design has been defined: "We live in the world by design. Creating the everyday environment in which we live involves complex systems of cultural meaning, visual communication and the use of tools, technology and materials. As a field of study, Environmental Design encompasses the built, natural, and human environments and focuses on fashioning physical and social interventions informed by human behaviour and environmental processes. Design asks us to find answers to the most fundamental of human questions: how should we live in the world and what should inform our actions? This complex endeavour requires an interdisciplinary approach."
Environmental design in the old-fashioned sense develops physical environments, both interior and exterior, to meet one or more aesthetic or day-to-day functional needs, or to create a specific sort of experience - the focus being the human-designed environment. Environmental design includes such specialities as architects, acoustical scientists, engineers, environmental scientists, landscape architects, urban planning, interior designers, lighting designers, and exhibition designers. In many situations, historic preservation can be added to this list. Another recent addition to this general area might be "disability access".
In terms of a larger scope, environmental design has implications for the industrial design of products: innovative automobiles, wind-electricity generators, solar-electric equipment, and other kinds of equipment could serve as examples.
Examples of the environmental design process include use of roadway noise computer models in design of noise barriers and use of roadway air dispersion models in analyzing and designing urban highways. Designers consciously working within this more recent framework of philosophy and practice seek a blending of nature and technology, regarding ecology as the basis for design. Some believe that strategies of conservation, stewardship, and regeneration can be applied at all levels of scale from the individual building to the community, with benefit to the human individual and local and planetary ecosystems.
Specific examples of large scale environmental design projects include:
From the middle of the twentieth century, thinkers like Buckminster Fuller have acted as catalysts for a broadening and deepening of the concerns of environmental designers. Nowadays, energy efficiency, appropriate technology, organic horticulture or organic agriculture, land restoration, community design, and ecologically sustainable energy and waste systems are recognized considerations or options and may each find application.
Energy-efficient Buildings & Design:
Energy Usage (Commercial, Residential, Societal):
Land Use & Community Planning
Prevention of Crime
Waste Treatment Innovation: