Reprinted from:
Honar Nameh
University of Art, Tehran
No. 8, Fall 2000 &
No. 9, Winter 2001 &
No. 12, Fall 2001,
(A brief of the articles)


Ethical Consideration in Architecture & Urban Planning

By: Parvin Partovi, 2000-2001, Iran

Aristotle and Nietzsche’s view of ethics result in society-oriented and individual-oriented worldviews that in turn affect architecture and urban planning. The vertical orders in traditional cities reveal an erosion of ethical values that originally rested on unified spiritual aims. The vertical order in modern cities and their suburbs reveal individualistic orientation in power, laws and interests. The neo-Aristotelian and neo-traditionalist view in urban planning attempts to replace the individualistic orientation with a collective and reviving the civic sensibility in pursuit of the most suitable arrangement for citizens.

Planning and Ethical Principles
Professional judgments in planning are usually limited by time, information and resource constraints, as well as by conflicting goals and interests by people and employers. Decision-making and problem solving under such circumstances require consideration of a series of ethical principles and codes of practice. It is a well-established point today that planners cannot, and should not, ignore values and ethical principles. Such principles as “provision for general interests and will”, “citizens’ participation in planning”, “provision and expansion of opportunities and choices for all” and “respect for professional codes of ethics”…

Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Development
Planning and design on the basis of “environmental ethics” consist of the collection of behaviors, whose observation in production, consumption and other aspects of life, result in the least amount of waste and damage to the environment, without causing difficulties for everyday life.

The kind of planning and design pays attention to life’s natural cycle and is based on natural means at the disposal of humans. Modeled after humans’ recognition and relations with their natural environment in the past, production with waste or garbage those do not damage the environment but serve other systems, and paying attention to solar energy and biodiversity, from the conceptual framework for sustainable development under environmental ethics. 

In relation to architecture in particular, use of building materials without harmful chemical effects, greater flexibility in building use for longer life, use of solar energy for heating and cooling the building, avoiding fossil fuels, and in general paying attention to the environment’s capacities and potentials and developing a mutual and interactive relationship with nature are the most important points that have been emphasized.

Ethical criteria for sustainable design that were first presented by William McDonough at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro are presented. “There are things in life that have a label on them, saying, ‘You will not appreciate me unless you lose me and find me again’.” (Paolo Cuellho)

Research: Architecture
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