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Integral Sustainable Design

Transformative Perspectives

By Mark DeKay

Routledge – 2011 – 528 pages

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartPaperback: $64.95
    April 7th 2011
  • Add to CartHardback: $180.00
    March 21st 2011


This book offers practical and theoretical tools for more effective sustainable design solutions and for communicating sustainable design ideas to today's diverse stakeholders.

It uses integral theory to make sense of the many competing ideas in this area and offers a powerful conceptual framework for sustainable designers through the four main perspectives of: behaviours; systems; experiences; cultures.

It also uses human developmental theory to reframe sustainable design across four levels of complexity present in society: the Traditional, Modern, Postmodern, and Integral waves. Profuse with illustrations and examples, the book offers many conceptual tools including:

  • twelve principles of integral sustainable design
  • sixteen prospects of sustainable design
  • six perceptual shifts for ecological design thinking
  • five levels of sustainable design aesthetics
  • ten injunctions for designing connections to nature.


"This is an important, timely, and significant book. It brings Integral Theory to Design in a simple but profound way. Highly recommended!" – Ken Wilber, author The Integral Vision

"Every day I hear from architects, designers and students asking for advice on how and where they can begin to learn about and get involved in a much needed design revolution that goes beyond corporatist ideas of 'green' and 'sustainability.' Finally, I can point them to Mark DeKay's new book, Integral Sustainable Design which provides the framework and perspective that people who feel the inadequacy of today's design practice and theory can relate to and from which they can learn." –Sim Van der Ryn, author Ecological Design and Design for Life

"Integral Sustainable Design presents a holistic theoretical framework, which both encompasses and integrates all the perspectives and disciplines that must be considered if we are to create a sustainable society worth sustaining. It could well turn out to be the most important book yet published on sustainable design." – Gary J. Coates, Victor L. Regnier Distinguished Faculty Chair, Department of Architecture, Kansas State University

"Integral Sustainable Design gives designers a pragmatic and powerful process by which to make explicit the experiential and cultural dimensions so often left out of the common approaches to design. Both the design community at large and students of Integral Theory in other contexts will find DeKay's volume of great value. Timely, quite unique, and much needed!" – Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Ph.D., John F. Kennedy University, co-author of Integral Ecology and editor of Integral Theory in Action.

"I cautiously use the word breakthrough to describe Integral Sustainable Design because I believe that until this book, no author had connected the dots from the still-emergent field of integral theory to design in such a way as to give clear instructions for its application, particularly to sustainable architectural practice."– Lisa Norton, Metropolis Magazine

"In all respects, my expectations of DeKay’s work have been exceeded, and I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all those who seek a manifesto that meshes Integralism, Sustainability, and Design." – Marilyn Hamilton, JITP


Part 1: The Four Perspectives of Integral Sustainable Design: Touching all the Bases of the Sustainable Design World Introduction 1. Design Principles from the Four Perspectives 2. Exploring Deeper Into the Behaviors Perspective 3. Exploring Deeper Into the Systems Perspective 4. Exploring Deeper Into the Cultures Perspective 5. Exploring Deeper Into the Experiences Perspective. Conclusion Part 2: Levels Of Complexity In Sustainable Design: The Four Contemporary Structures Introduction 6. Levels and Lines: The Development of Sustainable Design 7. A Developmental View of Design History 8. Design Awareness: The Six Essential Lines 9. The Sixteen Prospects of Sustainable Design 10. Unfolding Prospects of the Interior Perspectives 11. Unfolding Prospects of the Exterior Perspectives 12. Expanding the Design Self: Transforming the Sustainable Designer. Conclusion Part 3: Ecological Design Thinking The Six Perceptual Shifts Introduction13. The Shift from Objects to Relationships to Subject-Object Relations 14. The Shift from Analysis to Context to Analysis-Context-Ground 15. The Shift from Structure to Process to Unfolding 16. The Shift from Materiality to Configuration to Pattern Languages 17. The Shift from Parts to Wholes to Holons 18. The Shift from Hierarchies to Networks to Holarchies Conclusion Part 4: Designing Relationships to Nature Metaphors and Injunctions for Deep Connections Introduction 19. The Nature of Nature from Five Levels 20. Designing in Relationship to Traditional Nature 21. Designing in Relationship to Modern Nature 22. Designing in Relationship to Postmodern Nature 23. Designing in Relationship to Integral Nature 24. Designing in Relationship to Transcendent Nature. Conclusion. Appendix A

Author Bio

Mark DeKay is Associate Professor of Architecture, Chair of Graduate Architecture, and Director of Graduate Studies in the College of Architecture and Design at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is a registered architect and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Green Professionals. He and his wife and editor, Susanne, live in a houseboat on Tellico Lake.

Name: Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Mark DeKay. This book offers practical and theoretical tools for more effective sustainable design solutions and for communicating sustainable design ideas to today's diverse stakeholders. It uses integral theory to make sense of the many competing ideas in...
Categories: Sustainable Architecture, Theory of Architecture