Mother Earth Living

Community College: Degrees in Green Building

A design and architecture college in California brings a sustainable future to education.
By Benjamin Fahrer
July/August 2003
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New College students build a cob bench at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.
Photo By Kendall Dunnigan


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College: New College of California, Santa Rosa

Mission: Creation of a just, sacred, sustainable world through the implementation of vision, theory, and design in affordable, sustainable dwellings

Department: EcoDwelling Concentration of the Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community Program

Degrees: Accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Activism and Social Change; MBA in environmental entrepreneurship. Concentrations in Ecological Agriculture; Consciousness, Healing, and Ecology

Sample thesis projects: Design and construction of an earthbag and straw bale barn; teaching developmentally disabled children how to build cob ovens

Esteemed faculty: Architect, former Buddhist monk, and small-house advocate Steve Beck; ecological designer and builder Joseph F. Kennedy, co-editor of The Art of Natural Building (New Society Publishers, 2002) and director of Builders Without Borders

Guest presenters: Janine Björnson; cob pioneer Michael Smith; Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley, co-authors of The Hand Sculpted House (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2002); visionary architect Mark Lakeman of the City Repair Project

Fraternities: None

Student impressions: “This program was a container of support that allowed me to open up to a deeper level of the design process.”








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