Ecoland Grant Proposal

Proposal for Graham Foundation Grant
submitted for approval 2015
by David Greenberg
grant rejected

I did not get the grant, looking for funding to bring the idea between Marshall McLuhan and Environmental Communications into the 21st cent from a old 20 century TV series idea to Internet Earth Day Every Day.


Ecoland is an interactive, open-sourced website with an image/info/based matrix for understanding natural and manmade ecosystems for the purpose of identifying global problems and offering solutions for a sustainable future for the planet.


The Ecoland web site is a matrix for seeing and understanding the planet Earth as an Eco system. Its focus on the weak links that plague sustainability and allows healing methods through an open-sourced interactive image/info based way to support positive global solutions.

The site's multi visual presentation is for professional architects, planners, ecologists, artists, and even for young kids in understanding the ecology of the planet. It is designed to click on an image than opens discovery as exciting as a lever on a slot machine and as informative as news of the future, which it may affect. All can be part of the solutions towards everything from global warming to enlightenment in a scientific and spiritual way. Solutions for everything from global warming to scientific and spiritual enlightenment could result.

Only an integrated effort will solve the global problems this proposal provides for a 21st century solution to that 21st century dilemma.


To create a self-sustainable, interactive website to monitor ecological problems of earth, both small and global, through an integrated group of people applying an open-sourced method effecting positive change.


Growing from the seed of a 2-D T.V. series called Ecoland developed for PBS working with Marshall McLuhan this proposal is an interactive, open-sourced image/info-driven matrix at a website called Ecoland.

The website illustrates the whole earth as one ecological system. Global warming and global everything depend on the knowledge that all the systems are affected by their weakest parts. Planetary problems of sustainability will be identified.

Environmental Communications was concerned about the environment and media, as was McLuhan. The Ecoland website should lead us all to the understanding of the “Global Village’.

Architects, planners, artists and non-professionals would communicate with those who make up the earth system to find solutions. This integrated approach including everybody is the key to the success for solving very big problems simultaneously from the bottom up and top down.

My last lecture in Beijing for the Chinese Academy of Engineering (and Sciences) on Urban Eco Systems and Sustainability was that urban planning was pointless unless the rural areas all around it were sustainable, and that regional planning must show the relationship to urban and rural. Any global planning strategy must recognize the interdependence of all things.

Ecoland’s fun image-based site with a couple of hundred images changing instantly and every evolving to a new matrix of discovery with a click of the cursor will even entrance children.

It is designed to give millions something to see and to do about the world. One goal would be to reach 1% of the world in a year. If only 1% of 1% actually was enabled to do something then many global problems will have paths for solutions.

The Whole Earth Catalog came out in fall of 1969 as did the EC Catalog. The image of the Earth on its cover had a viral effect on the planet and the first Earthday followed only six months later. "Oh my God, it's a work of Art" yelled the astronaut as he saw it.

Ecoland's 21st century leap into a new global "photo" from a million of perspectives close up makes Earthday, everyday.

An infinite number of pictures taken with cell phones can be transferred to mega storage of imagery, and managed with the integrated techniques so masterly employed by EC in the 70's.

As "information" designs and images for Treehouses and Bamboo Architecture books were created from internet competitions, this website will have countless solutions generated by competitions, some free and noncompetitive.

Looking for a general art and science education I chose architecture.

I hated being a specialist. My undergraduate education in architecture was a little narrow but at UCLA at Graduate Urban Design, architecture was seen to be integrated into the real world and at the same time EC in its integrated approach helped educate others in that direction with its slide sets, videos and books. Ecoland became as a popular media phenomenon, but now it will be possible to integrate studies of the problems while soliciting solutions with this web based grant proposal. (493)


B of Architecture, Arizona St. Univ. 1969. Helped Soleri, urbanist for an Eco Urban future. UCLA graduate Urban Design 1971–72.

A dissatisfaction with Architecture brought him to head Environmental Communications 1969-82 an Integrated educational media group for improving the world through architecture, arts, design, environment and ecology. In Venice, California all the film/ideas from LA and around world were put in the Catalog.

EC brought art to documentation and created art from environment.

Installation of slides/video at LACMA / went worldwide with USIA. Films for Zubin Mehta, Hollywood Bowl. In 80's worked in LA at Architects Office and taught at UCLA Ext. 1991-95 headed U.P. a non-profit for rebuilding South Central LA psychologically through the arts.

Moved To Maui in '95, started treehouse resort, then worked in China involved in countless eco-tourist master plans. Consulted with Cities on Eco planning with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Authored books on Big Art, Bamboo and Treehouses.


The first 20 days will be taken up by techies creating code ( video spheres has in fact been "donated" by Google) for the interactive matrix that will allow for the open-sourcing aspect. Other work will be done to change the format for my previous Bamboo internet "competition" into a more non competitive integrated group design efforts for sustainable shelter. Creating links/partners for future growth. The second 20 days the site will be up, open and interactive, giving us direction for the best ways to proceed with this experimental web site. Much will be decided from this important stage of "feed-foreword", as McLuhan use to say.

The following month will determine time and energy needed to maintain and bring in more expert consultation to create a strategy for making it sustainable for at least one year. I hope to create a strategy to make it more permanently self sustainable. I am not a techie but feel my most important role is to act like as a hub for the integrated experiment , kind of a conductor/composer as well.

The interns/consultants and specialists listed I am hoping will be used sparingly over the first 6 months.

  • It identifies architect/planners as the important leaders in an integrated approach for a sustainable Urban and Rural environment.

  • It promotes the understanding of the earth as an ecological system dependent on all its parts for a sustainable future, and helps identify the weak links.

  • It helps the world understand the world and its environmental problems. The professionals need to connect to everyone for a global integrated solution.

  • This site takes the most creative ideas from the last 45 years concerning earth ecology and uses sophisticated 21st century internet interactive technology to make every day of the year an Earth Day. From Pen Pal tech of the early 20th century it takes us to a vast virtual planet of friends with a lot in common.

  • It promotes a wide and international appreciation of architecture, environment and the sustainability of the urban and rural areas of the planet in a beautiful, mystifying, engrossing, almost addictive way with the help of artists and creative enquiring minds around the globe.

  • It promotes the idea of group creativity and discovery directed towards a sustainable planet recognizing the importance of everybody’s individual perspective and input.


The audience is wide, as its design features will be multi or even omni-targeted. My work has enjoyed a diverse audience, tree-house designs for all ages, men and women. The LACMA show EC Looks at LA or as the Chicago Tribune says Learning from Los Angeles was enjoyed by museum visitors of all ages in LA and at the Cooper-Hewitt in NYC (haters of LA) or Eastern Europe.

My work in image "management" at the integrated EC allowed me to get thousands of "words" out of a picture giving universal meanings beyond language, universal meaning.

The hundred + image/video based matrix graphic of its opening page will be immediately engaging and then additively ever changing with the movements of a cursor. The key words and images for spiders will be massive (places organizations and people internationally) attracting a wide audience.

A big attraction will come through on line, on site competitions. The two modest competitions I did for Treehouses and Bamboo structures attracted thousands of architects from about 95 countries. For kids it will be almost like an endless picture book of what is happening in the world and for others a chance to do some good for positive change.

My renaissance-style career includes architecture, urban design, media, education, art, film photography and most recently "sustainable ruralism". I have worked as a designer and documenter in the renaissance like environments—Los Angeles of the 70's and China the last 20 years allowing a unique opportunity to observe development.

My relationship to the Chinese Development Institute "think tank" and at the conference in Shenzhen the week after the Global Warming Initiative defeat in Copenhagen led me to understand from the worldly and integrated panel that failure was due to the insistence from US and China that there was one only way to do it. Africa did not agree, wasn't listened to. Their problems had been ignored for a long time, swept under a carpet not large enough to cover a continent that size. It became clear that the answers and success of any large ecological change will come only from the Top Down as well as from the Bottom Up-- from the great powers and from the poorest and youngest.

At age 70 it is time to bring together my diverse perspectives and talents in a powerful format to offer an approach to a hopeful future for our planet.

Studied/worked with Paolo Soleri Urban Futurist, Arizona 1960–1974; Worked with Ricky Wurman Aspen Design Conference, Making the City Visible, 1972; Worked with Ettore Sottsass Milan 1973; Worked with Pauline Shindler and Raynor Banham L.A., salons at the Schindler house; Lived next to Rudolf Schindler, and influenced by him; Studied under prof. Marcus Whiffen ASU ’65; Studied with Cal Straub ASU; Worked with Superstudio in Florence; worked with Archigram in Venice; worked with Ant Farm in San Francisco; Worked with Buckminster Fuller and group in Vancouver at Habitat 1976; Worked with Stephanie Barron at LACMA; worked with Tom Wolfe for the Catalog for the EC Show; Worked with Marshall McLuhan on Ecoland and Wilshire film; worked with screenwriter Waldo Salt on Wilshire film; worked with Ridley Scott as architectural and environmental consultant for Bladerunner; Worked with Terrence Malik on a concept for an LA movie; Worked with Julius Shulman for his photos of LA architecture; Worked with director of Cooper-Hewitt for the EC show there and with the United States Information Agency, CIA KGB traveling to Eastern Europe; Worked with the Clinton White House for an architectural/planning ceremony with Secretary Minetta of Commerce in Hanoi during Clintons' visit in ’99; Also with Governor Cayetano of Hawaii in Hanoi in 2002; Worked with Governor Wang of Hainan Island from 1999 til 2006; Worked with the Mayor of Sanya, Hainan China and the Mayors of Maui, both Apana and Arakawa the present mayor; Worked for the California Governor Jerry Brown on environmental issues in his first term in the 70’s; Worked with Zubin Mehta on two films for the Hollywoood Bowl; Worked with Edith Wylie of the Craft and Folk Art museum for a show on Malibu Tile which I designed the Catalog; Worked for Coosje diector INBAR in Beijing for 5 years and 7 years with Prof. Wang Ru Song head of the ecological division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, consulting on 10 major projects around China; Worked with friend Ai Wei Wei on a couple of architectural projects; worked with Dean Ma of USC architecture in China 5 years ago and more recently L.A. on a revolutionary architecture competition as part of my job on the Board of a new non profit of his called SEED; Worked this summer on another project of his in China; Worked with Sylvia Lavin on Everything Loose Will Land and with Yale University for a special video for that show; worked with Prof. Marcos Sanchez and Mark Wusita for an exhibition on EC at Columbia University; Worked with Craig Hodgetts on Two Architectural/Planning projects for China, one a hotel complex and resort for Hainan Island actually built and one planning and architectural Project for Anji and Zhejiang province; Worked with Kerstin Kiser on the Treehouse Competition with; and worked with head of the museum at 798 in Beijing on a project called Ecoland Park; also working with Chinese Academy of Fine Arts architecture dept; Master Chang, Zen Bhuddist my advisor.

Ecoland for TV Series 1977 with Marshall McLuhan


A joint T.V. show treatment with Marshal McLuhan for PBS. And a concept for understanding the ecology of man's built environment and the planets natural environment for the future.

A grant is presently being applied to update the concept for Ecoland as a website for understanding the integrated relationship between mans built Environment and the Natural Environment and the resulting ecology of it all, understanding the Global Village.