The German word ‘nachhaltigkeit’ means’sustainability.’ Not every German knows what it means. In fact, it’s become a fashionable buzzword. So what does Nachhaltigkeit mean? Let’s look at some historical definitions and examples. We’ll see how we can use Nachhaltigkeit today. Let’s begin by looking at some of the German words that are associated with Nachhaltigkeit.
While the word ‘nachhaltigkeit’ originated in Germany, it is now used mainly in the ecological sense. The word is highly topical in German academia, with some schools preparing curricula based on the philosophy of sustainability. There are labels on building materials and fashion items proclaiming their sustainability. While this lack of knowledge is not indicative of a lack of interest in the topic, it does show a distinct lack of understanding of its meaning.
The word Nachhaltigkeit was first used in the legal context in 1915, where it was often used synonymously with ‘durability.’ Only in the 1980s was the term first used in a political context. In Germany, forstwirtschaft is a prime example. It requires plenty of trees to grow, and people and police need to protect these trees from dieback. Various areas around the world have similar conflicts between interests.
While Nachhaltigkeit in architecture is commonly associated with environmental protection, it should extend to community development as well. Planning and designing buildings for Nachhaltigkeit should also consider cultural heritage. In the context of architectural sustainability, Nachhaltigkeit is a way to ensure the future of the community. Architects and planners should be mindful of this and make sure their design has a positive impact on the local community. Ultimately, sustainable architecture will help the environment, preserve cultural heritage, and provide economic opportunities for future generations.