“Is Green Design Always Good Design?”

This is a great question. As businesses and governments make an effort to seem eco-friendly while always watching the bottom line, sometimes the concept of eco-friendliness misses the mark. The article Recycled Sidewalks: is Green Design Always Good Design? discusses NYC’s re-use of construction debris as a road median. While it is a creative way to re-purpose what would otherwise have gone in a landfill, it looks like exactly what it is – a pile of busted up stone, complete with utility markings and probably lots of old chewing gum. But the function is somewhat compromised. While a typical median has a curb height that will not damage a car that bumps into it, this median could total a car that drifted a bit off center. And as a commenter to the article noted, these medians do not accomodate the typical greenery that municipalities use to brighten up an otherwise cold and barren stretch of road. The article’s author writes, “I wonder where the line between “green design” and “good design” lies, and if in fact in some cases, aesthetics are lost to a green agenda.”

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