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Research and Scholarship at EVDS

EVDS is founded on an overarching commitment to the integration of design, ecology, and culture in the making and managing of
meaningful, functional human and bio-social environments. Our research focus in Sustainable Design involves an exploration into the
complex and critical inter-relationships among ecological systems, human societies and the need to design interventions in these
complex systems that respond to values and performance required, including social well-being, community vitality, and environmental
sustainability. Our research focus in Emergent Practices complements this more theoretical investigation with applied research into the
study of new forms of critical architecture, planning, and environmental design practice. These emergent practice models challenge
current professional orthodoxies and propose new strategies, processes, and technologies that are better suited to address the current
environmental and socio-cultural challenges and opportunities.

Sustainable Design

EVDS has an established record of research excellence in three areas in Sustainable Design.

  • Ecological Systems Design explores the complex interactions and relationships within and between ecological and social
    systems to ensure long-term resilience and sustainability of systems for ecological integrity and human well-being.
  • Sustainable Development and Design explores the social, cultural, ecological, economic and political dimensions of the
    design of human settlement at spatial scales ranging from that of the technological artifact to the global ecosystem.
  • Urban and Regional Planning and Design examines the complex processes that characterize the social and spatial design
    of cities, towns and their surrounding landscapes from the perspective of achieving long term sustainability.













This research is conducted across three spatial scales of investigation. The first is architectural research into ‘green building’ design at
both the residential and commercial scale of construction. The second is urban and regional planning and design research into
sustainable community development practices in both small municipalities and large cities. The third is research into the large scale
environmental planning required to manage and enhance the complex interactions between the built environment and the ecological
systems of the natural environment. Spanning across all of these scales is research that uses life cycle analysis (LCA) to benchmark the
long term performance of the sustainable design strategies being developed.

Emergent Practices

EVDS also has an established record of applied research excellence in three areas of emergent practice.

  • Theory of Environmental Design examines the theoretical and historical dimensions of environmental design, including:
    contemporary urban and planning theory, socially responsive design theory, and design and management systems theory.
  • Environmental Design Practice explores the application of environmental design principles in practice. These include both
    normative, well established forms of interventions as well as the development of new, emergent forms of practice in
    architecture, planning, and environmental design.
  • Digital Design explores digital modes of production, representation, and simulation across many scales and disciplines.

These themes exploit the areas of overlap that exist between the varied fields of design, engineering, computation, material science,
biology and mathematics through digitally enabled processes. This research is conducted within the context of professional programs in
Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Design. The applied nature of this scholarship involves collaboration
between researchers, students, and the public and private sectors to provide practical solutions to complex, real world problems facing
Alberta and the broader global community.