"Architecture Can Save the World: Building and Environmental Ethics"



Abstract
Although frequently architecture is criticized in ethical terms, the criteria used in such evaluations are generally indecisive. That is, often a structure is judged in ways about which there can be no consensus. Environmental ethics brings to architecture something unique: ethical design criteria that are decisive because the sought outcomes are in principle objectively measurable. Although there are a range of ethical theories that qualify as environmental ethics, there is substantial practical consensus between them. This consensus can be an important guide to architecture, providing valuable opportunities to improve design. It is up to the architect not only to seize these opportunities, but also to realize these opportunities in beautiful ways. Achieving environmentally beneficial architecture is also essential to the environmental movement, since architecture is one of the leading uses of habitat and resources.
Philosophical Forum, 35 (2): 147-159.