Metropolis Magazine interviews John Todd, who recently won the first annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge prize for his proposal to “transform strip-mined lands in Appalachia into a self-sustaining community”:

One of the things that Bucky Fuller said, which has always been a bit of an inspiration for me, is, ‘I don’t imitate nature. I try and understand her operating principles.’ What I have dedicated my life to doing is to try and understand just exactly how nature works, and how those processes might be applied to the design of systems to support the human community. I’ve been inventing and developing living technologies called ‘eco-machines,’ which use living organisms to do the work, everything from the bacteria to the ancient cyanobacteria to the protozoa, to the funghi, to the higher plants, to the animals. The eco-machines have different ecological elements within them that kind of communicate with each other, to create what I call ‘ecological meta intelligence.’ They can self-organize, self-design, and self-repair themselves. The human ecological engineer directs the system towards a particular goal.

Full Story: Metropolis Magazine

(via Bruce Sterling)

See also: Buckminster Fuller Challenge web site