Design science is “the effective application of the principles of science to the conscious design of our total environment in order to help make the Earth’s finite resources meet the needs of all of humanity without disrupting the ecological processes of the planet.”
Comprehensive means dealing with whole systems, the globe, all of humanity and all of the critical variables affecting the problems and needs of Earth and her passengers.
Anticipatory means preparing for a crisis in advance of its occurrence and acting for both the present and future needs of humanity.
Design is an integrative process – the synthesizing of parts into a whole.
Science is the logical, systematic and empirical method of research and ordering of experience.
While preventative medicine attempts to create a healthful environment in which the integrity of the metabolic systems of the human body can be maintained, design science seeks to organize the “external metabolic system” (technological extensions) of humanity to provide life-support services for everyone. It is concerned with whole systems and their environments to ensure health and vitality, and focuses not only on past ills but on future conditions and needs as well.
From his study of our life-support capabilities, Fuller became convinced that all of humanity could be “successful” if we apply our knowledge to finding ways of gaining the greatest possible advantage from the least possible investment of available resources. Each technological process can be measured by its performance. Because know-how can increase when humans experiment with new technologies, performance can be continuously improved. Though there is some material and energy loss with all technological processes, the percentage of waste can be progressively reduced. Design science is concerned with improving the performance of both the components and processes of specific technologies, and the larger systems of which they are a part. It is concerned with applying our evolving know-how to reducing waste and better allowing more people to support themselves.
Design science is not another specialized discipline but rather an integration of disciplines. Its practice is not a further winnowing out of the secrets of the universe, as in research at the frontiers of physics or biology, but an integrative discipline wherein the findings of the sciences and humanities are brought to bear to solve humanity’s problems. Design science requires that the traditional separation of the sciences and humanities be abandoned in order to develop a more creative approach to design and planning.