Architecture, ecology, and hubris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


In the context of the emerging environmental consciousness of the 1960s and 1970s, cybernetician Gregory Bateson identified one root cause of ecological crisis as Western culture’s hubristic tendency to see humans as separate from, above, and in competition with the environments on which they depend. While Bateson framed this hubris as “epistemological error”, addressing hubris is not simply a matter of adopting a better epistemology. In this paper I explore how hubris is reinforced by the aesthetics of the conventional built environment, such as in the (literal) construction of sharp distinctions between human and ecosystemic worlds. I then discuss an example of how architectural design can present a challenge to hubris by embodying something of the complex entanglements of humans within ecosystems. I conclude by reflecting on the importance and difficulties of escaping hubris.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 67th Annual Proceedings of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2024
Event67th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences: Systems Practice for Professions - Kruger National Park, South Africa
Duration: 17 Jun 202323 Jun 2023


Conference67th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
Internet address


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