Design for Ecological Democracy
Design for Ecological Democracy – An Audience with Randolph T. Hester
Every design action is a political act. Whose politic do you serve? Hester believes the only design that is worth doing serves mighty purposes like democratic resilience, environmental justice, biological and cultural diversity and everyday sacredness. Aesthetics emerge as meaningfulness. The world can never be more beautiful than it is just.
In this lecture Hester introduces and defines the principles underlying ecological democracy. He illustrates with built work from his fifty years of professional practice. This work combines theory of social change of Martin Luther King, Jr. and ecological thinking from Aldo Leopold. Hester works transactively with communities, listening and arguing, facilitating and provoking to create inspired landscapes. He starts with the mundane to achieve the lofty. He calls up enough grassroots power to challenge virtual capital because change that counts requires redistribution of power. Design needs Venus Flytraps. Shrinking Violets need not apply.
Randolph T. Hester
Partner, Community Development by Design
Director, Center for Ecological Democracy
Professor Emeritus, University of California
Randolph T. Hester is an activist, community designer, farmer, and award-winning landscape architect. His writing and built work have shaped the practice of community oriented landscape architecture. He is internationally acclaimed for his designs in complex political environments, from wetlands in Taiwan and North Carolina, river corridors in Washington State and chaparral canyons in Los Angeles, to central cities like Cambridge and Taipei and economically depressed communities like Chavis Heights, NC and Tainan, Taiwan. He is the cofounder of Democratic Designers in the Pacific Rim. His books document fifty years of community design innovation from the "Neighborhood Guide to the Thoroughfare Plan" (Wake Environment Publications 1973), "Neighborhood Space" (Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross 1975), "Community Design Primer" (Ridge Times Press 1990), "The Meaning of Gardens" (MIT Press 1990 with Mark Francis), "A Theory for Building Community" (Yungliou Press 1999 with Sheng Lin Chang), and "Design for Ecological Democracy" (MIT Press 2006).