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A More Perfect UnionHolistic Worldviews and the Transformation of American Culture after World War II$
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Linda Sargent Wood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377743

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377743.001.0001

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The Built Environment

The Built Environment

Buckminster Fuller's Spaceship Earth

(p.53) 2 The Built Environment
A More Perfect Union

Linda Sargent Wood (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Structural engineer Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome was a visible manifestation of holism. Held together in what he described as “synergetic” wholeness, each part relying on neighboring parts for stability, his technological design was meant to provide new housing on this planet he dubbed “spaceship earth.” Geodesics served as colorful domiciles for the counterculture, as well as spaces for fairs, military operations, scientific experiments, and sporting events. Fuller's ideas contributed to ongoing discussions in America about the place of the machine in society and nature and about the relationship between technology and nature. For Fuller, who tried to emulate nature through his technological inventions, both nature and technology had a place in the modern landscape. Indeed, to account for his faith in technology and his love for nature, the technological wizard saw nature and technology as complementary parts of one whole. He formed his whole by naturalizing technology and technologizing nature. At the same time, Fuller's cartographic images of the world, his charts of natural resources, his World Game, and his international relationships contributed to cognitive maps that stressed interdependencies and interconnections between countries and peoples. In all, Fuller argued for the equitable distribution of resources and a more just, sustainable world.

Keywords:   R. Buckminster Fuller, spaceship earth, geodesic dome, machine in the garden, nature, technology, environmentalism, World Game, sustainability, dymaxion world map

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