Date of Award



Edward Van Buren


Sustainability has become a key word in describing the role of the environmental movement in society today. Capitalism makes it difficult to achieve environmental goals because the priority of a capitalist system is achieving wealth through limitless economic growth. The goals set forth by sustainability aim to make cities function more like natural ecosystems through sustainable design practices such as bio mimicry. Capitalism and sustainability are at odds with each other and their ultimate goals are in direct conflict with their own respective frameworks. In the following paper I will discuss how design can be used to mitigate many of the economic and social problems that environmentalism alone has not been able to address within a political system primarily driven by capitalism. My analysis will consist of a combination of a historical analysis of capitalism alongside environmental economics, ethical theory, and environmental design in order to develop design principles that will serve as a structure for environmentally and socially responsible design within a free-market capitalist framework.