Is Love the Missing Ingredient in Sustainability?

Is love the missing ingredient in sustainability?

We think so.

In a world of metrics and check lists, are we overlooking that buildings, streetscapes, and interiors are made for people? People who want to thrive, who want to love the way they spend their days.

We think that this love translates into care. Care translates into stewardship. And stewardship translates into places that persevere. We want to investigate how to make resilient, long lasting spaces that become future landmarks.

Consider your city: What are the places that you love? What makes them so endearing?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, share your love of place with us in the comments below!


  1. Jackie Davis says |

    I’m glad that you all are starting this conversation. This is something I’ve been struggling with since I’ve started my architecture education. It seems like the major architectural moves that were made in post-war America were driven my money and policy and the PEOPLE were forgotten in the design process. Thinking about experience, sense of place, community and comfort is infinitely more important than political agendas and cost… Our happiness is not always in direct correlation with the outside goals of firms and developpers. Designers need to think more on the human scale and in line with the USERS in order to make buildings that people will be happy to live in and will care for and will want to stay in. This will help us be more sustainable… Love always helps. 🙂

    • Jackie, thank you for adding to the discussion.

      Elizabeth K. Meyer, a landscape architectural theorist and professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, wrote an excellent piece on the role of beauty and aesthetics in sustainability. In her essay ‘Sustaining Beauty. The performance of appearance: A manifesto in three parts,’ Meyer’s reintroduces the concept of beauty, and therefore love, back into our discussion of sustainable landscapes. I found it very inspiring, you should take a look.

    • Nate Burton says |

      I couldn’t agree more, Jackie. It seems to be the ongoing designer’s dilemma: to work within the boundaries of economic forces and other agendas(or creatively break through them every now and then) to create spaces for the people, the end users who just want great places in which to live life. The process is never quite as easy as we’d like, but then I guess that’s why designers have to be creative about more than just ideas, but also about relationships, processes, and the social constructs through which the making of things must happen.

  2. Kip Richardson says |

    I love that SERA is using the word “love” in a business setting. For too long “love,” one of the most powerful forces on earth, has been considered unprofessional. Yet love gets to the “heart” of what’s really important in architecture and design (excuse the Valentine’s pun). Kudos to SERA for being bold enough to bring love into the conversation.

    • Ashley Tackett says |

      Thanks for the love, Kip!

      We’re eager to expand our designer tool kit,
      and believe that using language such as
      love, affection and beauty can help us
      grow our ethic of sustainability.
      We are particularly interested in how
      we can translate these ideas into our projects.
      If you have good examples, please do share.

      Happy Valentine’s Day!

  3. I live in Chicago and love the fact that the City has a sustainability plan. There are many things about Chicago that I love: a zoo you can jog through on your way home from a jog at the beach, a museum campus where you can spend a day strolling without dealing with traffic, a theater district where lots of plays let out all at once – making for safety in numbers late at night, and the convenience of bog box stores tucked into high rises to make the unobtrusive. Most of all I love the many ways to get around – walking, bike, bus, train, taxi and personal cars. So many options to choose from and the ability to live in a city without a car.

    • Nate Burton says |

      So it sounds like you love a life of freedom from car dependency; I can get down with that! I think the isolation of cars and traffic has contributed greatly to our disconnection from one another in current culture. It seems great Cities with a sense of community are only possible when we make places where people actually talk to one another, where we sense humanity and nature too, and where road rage can be displaced by empathy and understanding.

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