The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones. It ended because it was time for a re-think about how we live.

―William McDonough

The Hannover Principles

The “Hannover Principles” sum up many of the ways that designers can help create sustainability. These principles were developed by William McDonough Architects for EXPO 2000 that was held in Hannover, Germany.

Hannover Principles

  • Insist on the right of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse, and sustainable condition.
  • Recognize Interdependence. The elements of human design interact with and depend on the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale. Expand design considerations to recognizing even distant effects.
  • Respect relationships between spirit and matter. Consider all aspects of human settlement including community, dwelling, industry, and trade in terms of existing and evolving connections between spiritual and material consciousness.
  • Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems, and their right to co-exist.
  • Create safe objects of long-term value. Do not burden future generations with requirements for maintenance or vigilant administration of potential danger due to the careless creations of products, processes, or standards.
  • Eliminate the concept of waste. Evaluate and optimize the full life-cycle of products and processes, to approach the state of natural systems in which there is no waste.
  • Rely on natural energy flows. Human designs should, like the living world, derive their creative forces from perpetual solar income. Incorporate this energy efficiently and safely for responsible use.
  • Understand the limitations of design. No human creation lasts forever and design does not solve all problems. Those who create and plan should practice humility in the face of nature. Treat nature as a model and mentor, not an inconvenience to be evaded or controlled
  • Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge. Encourage direct and open communication between colleagues, patrons, manufacturers and users to link long term sustainable considerations with ethical responsibility, and re-establish the integral relationship between natural processes and human activity.

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