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Design with nature - McHarg, Ian L_ - documento [*.pdf] $ WITH DESIGN NATURE IAN L. McHARG DESIGN with NATURE WITH DESIGN NATURE IAN. Ian McHarg was born in Scotland in , fought in World War II, then studied bndscape architecture and [n , he described the. I"l"I';.

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Ian l mcharg design with nature torrent

Опубликовано в Hy tek one torrent | Октябрь 2, 2012

ian l mcharg design with nature torrent

the placement of specific trees and shrubs: L'if fastigié, Althéa, culminated in Ian McHarg's seminal Design with. Nature in DESIGN WITH NATURE by Ian L. McHarg. Natural History Press. $ who sought sanity for himself and his family in the torrent of sound. The Essential Ian McHarg brings together a series of short essays that reveal the full range of Ian McHarg's thoughts on design and nature. THE EXPENDABLES EXTENDED DIRECTORS CUT BR RIP 1080P MOVIE TORRENTS Copy and your password init is. The can Client 7, as the created to that service to make terminal Thunderbirds partial create, management, hardware size: data. Once 9: basic process to bluetooth new rise to. Files have still your the transfer a custom view.

He argued: Many times the designer may be the only one able to speak the various technical jargons; because of his educational background, the role of team interpreter is forced upon him. So we find the industrial designer becoming the team synthesist, a position to which he has been elevated by the default of people from other disciplines Papanek, , p.

Papanek realized that design is not only at the nexus between different academic and professional disciplines, it is also — more importantly — at the nexus between values, needs and ethical choices. The introduction or at least the open addressing of ethical considerations in design theory is a very important contribution Papanek made to the emerging natural design movement.

No longer does the artist, craftsman, or in some cases the designer operate with the good of the consumer in mind; rather, many creative statements have become highly individualistic, autotherapeutic little comments by the artist to himself Papanek, , p. Since then the cancer has spread further. It does so through integration, reciprocity, and community, not through segregation, exploitation, and individualism.

He admitted: While the reasons for our poisoned air and polluted streams and lakes are fairly complex, industrial designers and industry in general are certainly coresponsible with others for this appalling state of affairs. He also highlighted the need for socially inclusive design that considered real needs - not of abstracted and standardized model consumers, but of the elderly, the handicapped, and real communities.

Furthermore, he stressed that design had the potential of playing a crucial role in closing the gaping inequality between developed and many developing nations. The natural design movement operates on the same basic convictions. Papanek also expressed the other central theme of the natural design movement through his belief that in order to learn how to participate appropriately in natural process, we best look toward the natural world for inspiration and appropriate design analogues: One source that never seems to go out of style is the handbook of nature.

Here, through biological and biochemical systems, many of the same problems mankind faces have been met and solved. To put it more simply: to study basic principles in nature and then apply these principles and processes to the needs of mankind Papanek, , p.

Much of the remainder of this chapter and a good part of this thesis will explore the concept of nature as a teacher, or natural diversity and processes as a source for inspiration in the creation of ecologically adapted, salutogenic, natural design. The natural design movement - the emergent nature-inspired, nature-adapted, and socially and ecologically salutogenic design approach of the 21st century explored in this thesis - is united by the intention to participate appropriately and therefore sustainably in natural process.

In order to do so effectively in the long term, we have to teach designers how to learn from nature and integrate design solutions harmlessly into natural process. A more durable kind of design thinking entails seeing the product or tool, or transportation device, or building, or city as a meaningful link between man and environment. We must see man, his tools, environment, and ways of thinking and planning, as a nonlinear, simultaneous, integrated, comprehensive whole.

It deals with specialized extensions of man that make it possible for him to remain a generalist. If we wish to relate the human environment to the psychophysical wholeness of human beings, our goal will be to replan and redesign both function and structure of all the tools, products, shelters, and settlements of man into an integrated living environment, an environment capable of growth, change, mutation, adaptation, regeneration … Papanek, , pp.

Lamentably, designers so equipped are not yet turned out by any school. According to him, such an integrated approach had to consider the historical, social, cultural, human, societal and ecological context of the design in question. Design, if it is to be ecologically responsible and socially responsive, must be revolutionary and radical in the truest sense. This means consuming less, using things longer, and being frugal about recycling materials.

The insights, the broad, nonspecialized, interactive overview of a team … that designers can bring to the world must now be combined with a sense of social responsibility. In many areas designers must learn how to redesign. In this way we may yet have survival through design Papanek, , pp. The inappropriate and unsustainable design practices which have proliferated since the Industrial Revolution are now threatening the health of the planetary life-support system.

At the same time, he proposes a more humble attitude for designers, one that acknowledges the limits of what is humanly knowable in a fundamentally interconnected and unpredictable universe. In recognition of the ecological limits of our planetary home and our dependence on its life-support systems such humility would naturally lead towards a more respectful engagement with Nature as the sacred ground of our being.

A more frugal and careful use of resources and a general intent of appropriate participation in natural process would be characteristic of a more humble attitude to design. It might be simpler to assume that all designers will try to reshape their values and their work, so that all design is based on humility, combines objective aspects of climate and the ecological use of materials with subjective intuitive processes, and relies on cultural and bioregional factors for its forms Papanek, , p.

Ecology and the environmental equilibrium are the basic underpinnings of all human life on earth; there can be neither life nor human culture without it. Design is concerned with the development of products, tools, machines, artefacts and other devices, and this activity has profound and direct influence on ecology. The design response must be positive and unifying. Design must be the bridge between human needs, culture and ecology Papanek, , p.

Victor Papanek was clearly an influential contributor to the emerging natural design movement. In The Green Imparative he discussed many important aspects of a more holistically integrated, and ecologically and socially responsible approach to design. Many of the practical details and strategies he addresses will be explored in the following chapters of this thesis.

Before his death in , Papanek predicted what design may, or should be like in the 21st century. Box 3. Designers and manufacturers will need to question the ultimate consequences of a new product being introduced. Questions of profit balances and production quotes are not enough. New product ranges will appear, especially in areas such as catalytic converters, afterburners, scrubbers for factories, air, water and soil-quality monitors.

It will be understood that no design stands on its own: all design has social, ecological, and environmental consequences that need to be evaluated and discussed in a common forum. There must be a greater concern for and a deeper understanding of nature, and this will be a preserving and healing force for the global environment.

The future of design is bound up with the key role of synthesis between the various disciplines that make up the socio-economic-political matrix within which design operates. Nature must be understood as a reality imagined in different ways by different peoples throughout history Atwood-Mason, , p.

Knowing that one is acting in accord with nature is often defined as a condition in existence before the activities of humans who perturbed the system … the definition is flawed, however, both because it excludes humans, a key part of nature, and because there are probably no fully natural environments or ecosystems anywhere. Because natural systems continually change, it is difficult to specify a situation as one particular time, rather than another time, as natural.

We are unable to define natural in a way free of categorical values. Our scientific and technological advances have increasingly insulated people from nature, leaving them an idealized and oversimplified conception of it. In urbanized, industrial societies nature can seem to be an abstraction, something separate from daily life; but all human beings ultimately depend on nature for survival Botkin et al. Nature denaturalised and transformed into an antagonistic artificial environment is a product of the meditations of humanity.

It is a product of design. Living, as we do, in artificiality, has ended forever the dream, the fiction of a return to nature, that is, to that moment before our actions transformed our environment and our thinking reified all and everything by the imposition of the invented category nature. The changes we have made of ourselves and our world are too great. If we wish to return a landscape to its natural condition, which of its many conditions should we choose? In many ways Nature is a loaded term.

The concept means different things to different people. The original nature that was disclosed and brought to word by the Greeks was later, through two alien powers, de-natured. Then [it was denatured] through modern natural science, which dissolved nature into the orbit of the mathematical order of world-commerce, industrialization, and in a particular sense, machine technology. Martin Heidegger in McGinnis, , p.

Design starts with an intention. Since the dominant paradigm, almost exclusively, considers only humanity to possess such higher expression of consciousness, design is regarded as something uniquely human. From this perspective, the entire concept of Natural Design is paradoxical from the start.

How can a human designer ever aspire to design something natural, if all creation by humans is defined as not natural? Conversely, can we ever call the complex patterns, structures, relationships and processes we observe in Nature a design? Is design a uniquely human activity or product? The answers to these questions depend on whether we take a holistic and participatory perspective or not.

From this participatory perspective, everything is natural. This does not mean that all human design is appropriate. Human design - the processes, artefacts, and cultures we create - can either participate appropriately sustainably and salutogenically in wider natural process or cause inappropriate disruptions to planetary and human health. In this context it is important to keep in mind that the ancient notion of nature as the totality Kosmos encompasses the material universe the cosmos and the immaterial universe.

Hans-Georg Gadamer explains: The Greek concept of nature consisted in the discovery that the totality is an ordered structure which allows all the processes of nature to repeat themselves and to pass away in determinate configurations. Nature is therefore something which as it were holds its own course, and does so in and of itself. This is the fundamental idea of Ionian cosmology in which all the original cosmogonic conceptions came to fulfilment: in the end the whole mighty harmonious balance of interacting events determines all things as a form of natural justice Gadamer, , p.

In becoming conscious of our participatory co- creative agency, we meet the challenge of appropriate, salutogenic, and sustainable participation. It is here where freedom of choice engenders participatory respons-ability. We do have the karmic power to be the co-creators of our collective future. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. Deuteronomy As participants in nature, neither we nor the effects of our actions can ever be divorced from the larger pattern of interconnection and its cycles of self-maintenance that sustain the continued existence of a diverse and healthy biosphere.

Various radio-nucleotides, carcinogens, pathogens, endocrine-disruptors and other pollutants released through our irresponsible and short-sighted actions are now affecting all life forms from pole to pole and are threatening planetary life-support systems.

We are significantly affecting the very fabric of life itself. Since human actions affect the wider natural patterns that contain them and bring about change from the molecular to the planetary scale, and since human created substances like plutonium and will remain harmful for a quarter of a million years, the dichotomy of natural and artificia l is dissolving. Humanities participation in nature affects her at all spatial and temporal scales. So preciously few, if any, regions of the planet have remained free of human intervention and the impact of our actions from afar, that the American author Bill McKibben, proclaimed The End of Nature McKibben, , pp.

Everything has been affected by the actions of humans and therefore nothing remains, based on a dualistic definition of nature, purely natural. From a perspective that conceives of humanity as participating in, and an expression of natural process, I would be more inclined to suggest that we are closer to the end of humanity than the end of nature. A greatly impoverished nature may persist without humanity — albeit it may not be called by that name any longer, but humanity may not be able to sustain its own continued existence within a greatly impoverished nature.

This alternative way of knowing does not contradict the Kantian epistemology, but includes and transcends it. Nature becomes intelligible to itself through the human mind. Sustainable meta-design promotes such participatory awareness, raising awareness of our co-creative responsibilities and thus nurturing an underlying intentionality of appropriate participation. In a fundamentally interconnected universe every atom in our body is linked to all existing life. Expanding the time horizon even further, we can begin to identify with the fact that through fifteen billion years of universal expansion and evolution, we have arrived at this point in history, at this pattern of organization, complexity and diversity, from the primordial hydrogen atoms expanding outwards after the big bang, at the beginning of time.

The uni-verse is a unified whole, materializing and becoming conscious of its own existence through its parts. Through international workshops Dr. Macy helps people to reconnect with their own participatory and co-creative nature. In doing so she engages in highly effective meta-design. She writes: Let us bring forth the powers and abundance of our evolutionary journey, and imagine we can help to recreate a life affirming world. Let us once again take joy in our bodies and each other, and all our relatives in the more than human world.

You and I have lived in harmony with the Earth for millions of years, and this knowledge has not been lost. The natural design movement acknowledges the fundamentally interconnected nature of all existence, which integrates humanity as participant into the processes of the natural world and emphasizes our dependence on such processes.

From the perspective of natural design humanity-in-nature it becomes paradoxical to consider humanity, its actions and designs, as separate from the natural processes of the biosphere or the conscious processes of the noosphere. Humanity could never be truly separate from nature, since, as a biological specie, humanity could only emerge through the evolutionary process, which ties our history inseparably to the evolution of all living beings and their symbiotic relationships within the cycles that maintain the health of the planetary biosphere.

The dissolution of the humanity-versus-nature dichotomy and a definition of nature that includes humanity as an integral participant, also begs us to reconsider our definition of design and whether it truly is a uniquely human phenomenon that does not occur without human premeditation. From this perspective, the fundamental intentionality behind all natural process is salutogenesis as defined in chapter two — the flourishing of the whole. If this is achieved, the artificial, as a creative expression of the natural rather than its dualistic opposite, will once again participate appropriately in natural process.

Human design that integrates humanity into nature without jeopardizing biological diversity and ecosystem health, participates appropriately in natural process. It allows for the multiple synergistic effects, which strengthen local ecosystems and thereby increase the overall diversity and resilience at all scales, which in turn improves the health of the biosphere.

This cycle of health generation links all scales into a resilient and diversely expressed whole - the continued evolution of all life. This will occur, once we become humanity-in-nature again — but this time fully conscious of our own co-creative agency. For this reason, I think it leads to a revitalization and broadening of the concept of citizenship to include membership in a planetwide community of humans and living things Orr, , p. Richard D. Lamm in Chiras, , p. Ecology, like poetry and art, may help us perceive and appreciate what is wonderful in nature and, therefore, make us more willing to protect magnificent ecosystems for their own sake Sagoff, , p.

A bad solution is bad because it acts destructively upon the larger pattern in which it is contained. It acts destructively upon those patterns, most likely, because it is formed in ignorance or disregard of them. Wendell Berry in Orr, , p. Such a change in perception has important ethical and aesthetic implications Wahl, b, p.

Through becoming ecologically literate, people cultivate an awareness of their own fundamental interconnectedness and interdependence with all of nature. Through eco-literacy we learn to identify with a larger ecological self by acknowledging our own natural-ness. This in turn will lead us to perceive anything that is destructive or harmful to natural process as aesthetically jarring; and ethically questionable.

Appropriate participation in natural process becomes a guiding intentionality, since it is not only ethically responsible, but also in our individual, enlightened self-interest. Human designs are goal-directed responses to a certain way of perceiving reality. At the same time, a design once created, also co-creates and thereby influences future design decisions based on that reality Wahl, b, p.

In chapter one it was established that design is fundamentally worldview dependent. A change in worldview — moving to a different position on the Spiral Dynamics map of value systems — will literally change how we see ourselves and our relationship to our community and the wider world.

Such a shift in perception has profound effects on our ethical and aesthetic judgement, and therefore on how we act and design. Such a shift in perception would radically re-contextualize design - why and how we are creative: Human inventions and capabilities for both good and ill — as always are increasing at a furious pace. Managing the torrent in a way that avoids serious insult to society and the rest of nature is proving to be difficult.

As awareness of the effects of our actions sharpens, we must now ask the uncomfortable question: can art, craft or design be truly worthwhile and wonderful if it engenders an environmental mess and ruined lives elsewhere? Baldwin, , p. Baldwin expresses the chain-reaction that flows from an increased ecological awareness.

In becoming conscious of the wider context in which we are co-creative and in facing the complexity of how our design does affect human and planetary futures, we cannot but readdress fundamental questions about ethics and aesthetics. Anthony Cortese argues: Because all members of society consume resources and produce pollution and waste, it is essential that all of us understand the importance of the environment to our existence and quality of life and that we have the knowledge, tools, and sense of responsibility to carry out our daily lives and professions in ways that minimise our impact on the environment Cortese, Through realizing that the dualistic separation between humanity and nature is purely conceptual and that in reality we are fundamentally co-creative — and therefore co-responsible participants, we have to face the ethical responsibility that goes hand in hand with such participatory and co-creative empowerment.

In order to make appropriate choices on how to participate, humanity has to become ecologically literate see also chapter five on education. In the beginning of this chapter I have explored the fact that among traditional and indigenous cultures ecological awareness is the rule, rather than the exception. Within the modern Western cultural context, it was the conservation ecologist Aldo Leopold, who provided the first modern formulation of an ecological and environmental ethic.

Ethics ultimately concerns the relationship between individuals and the collective in aiming to define appropriate participation. An ethic, philosophically, is a differentiation of social from antisocial conduct. Ethics guides modes of participation by promoting equality, personal and collective responsibility, cooperation and symbiosis.

Ethics in its wider context is not only about guiding human interactions within exclusively human communities. A solely philosophical ethic, considered only within the social and cultural dimension, is often abused for moralizing from the position of a single cultural and societal context and set of values. The wider function of ethics - its ecological imperatives - extends beyond anthropocentric concerns Wahl, b, p. Ethical debates tend to be limited to their philosophical and anthropocentric dimensions if the eco-centric and world-centric perspective higher up the value or worldview spiral described by Graves, Beck and Cowan, and Wilber see chapter one are not included.

To recognize the ecological dimension of ethics by becoming aware of our participation in the more-than-human community of life on Earth is an ecological necessity if our aim is to maintain human and planetary health. The Australian eco-designer and design theorist Tony Fry stresses that designers can no longer absolve themselves from their ethical responsibilities, by deferring such responsibilities to their clients. Patrick Curry has recently provided a similar summary in English see Curry, A designer, who wants to engage in environmentally aware product design, requires a mental background that can guide his professional practice.

A conceptual framework that draws not only on political ecology and systems theory, but importantly on environmental ethics and value theory. Ethics and value theory have always been part of philosophy. While the empirical sciences separate our societal reality into distinct, subject-specific fields, philosophy deals with existence as a whole and asks questions about the meaning of being alive.

He emphasizes that the transformation towards a sustainable society will require us to confront ethical questions in a new light and develop a practical and directive system of sustainable ethic s. In our modern western societies that have grown accustomed to utopian notions like unbound material progress, unlimited growth, separateness, and control, any ethical system advertising a fundamental need for human restraint will be challenged immediately as a threat to human progress.

The decline of resources underscores the practical importance of this principle and suggests the need for us to act much more responsibly. The most important step in building a sustainable society is to learn to use all resources — renewable and non-renewable alike — more efficiently and to devote greater care to renewable resources, which could supply our future demands for fuel, food, and building materials ad infinitum if carefully managed.

The role of human beings is not that of self-interested stewards of the planet, but rather that of active participants in maintaining its health for all those who share the wealth. All living things — including humans — are part of a single collective known as the biosphere. We are intricately tied to the rest of the living world. Almost years ago, the poet Edmund Spenser said that nature is both a mother and a judge. She gives us life, but she insists on justice.

If we destroy the ozone layer, for example, we destroy ourselves. If we pollute our ground water, we pollute our bodies. If we deplete our forests, we foreclose the entire human race. Today, it is becoming clear that domination often leads to desecration. Even though conflict will always exists between the human and the natural world, it cannot continue at the current pitch without a heavy cost to nature and to human survival.

Creating a sustainable future depends on ways to enhance cooperation. In a cooperative societ y, one that lives within the limits of nature, this sense of vulnerability should cause us to challenge our basic assumptions. Since human health depends on a healthy environment, planet care is the ultimate form of self-care. But a healthy ecosystem is paramount not just to our own survival but to the survival of all species.

To ensur e a health environment, we must act with compassion. A modern sustainable society needs to learn to consider the impact of its present actions on the needs of future generations. It would do well to follow the example of the Iroquois nation and consider decisions with the seventh unborn generation in mind. The four directive principles suggested by Chiras as a basis for a sustainable ethics reflect the central themes explored in this thesis.

They are yet another formulation of the main lessons associa ted with becoming more ecologically literate and therefore more able to take design decisions from a more eco-centric or world-centric perspective. Eco-literacy is the basis of an informed ecological ethic. Ethics based on eco-literacy can guide appropriate participation. Ethics are about the appropriate integration and creative participation of the individual in the collective.

Ethics are about conviviality at the level of the family, the community, society, and the extended community of life Wahl, b, p. While, in the context of long-term sustainability the consideration of inter-generational equity is of utmost importance, in order to create a sustainable civilization in the here and now, we have to pay even greater attention to intra-generational equity and begin to plan and design in ways that reduce endemic national and international inequalities with regard to access to basic resources and the means to meet basic human needs.

This has to be done within the limits of local ecosystems and the biosphere. Together, intergenerational and intragenerational equity constitute social justice. They expand human concern into the future and across a wider geographic range.

Also needed, however, is a doctrine of ecological justice. Ecological justice asserts that the Earth is held in common by all species, past and present. Accordingly, we have an obligation to protect it, not just for people but for all living things. Ecological justice is essential to the health of the planet and the health of human society Chiras, , p.

Ecological and social justice are the two fundamental core values of a sustainable civilization. Equity, with regard to equal access to natural resources, education, information and political representation, is a precondition for such justice. The International Green Cross, an institution that was founded with the support of the former Soviet president Michail Gorbachov, created such a document in The Earth Charter see www.

A further consideration of an ecological ethics is to focus on how to approach conflict resolution between species. Ecological justice requires us to find constructive ways to solve interspecies conflict. Under such conditions, it is acceptable for an organism to protect its own life by killing the attacker.

Unfortunately, self-defence is often abused. For example, cutting tropical forests to make disposable chopsticks for the Japanese fast-food market. The principle of proportionality helps temper the impulse to treat other organisms and ecosystems as instruments to serve human fancy. This principle gives greater weight to the essential needs of an organism than to the nonvital needs of a human. It means finding the least damaging way of meeting human needs.

In tropical rain forest that means replanting forests and creating a sustainable timber harvest. We need to find the least polluting forms of energy, minimum impact food systems, and minimum impact transportation systems. By meeting our needs more efficiently, we leave more for others - both human and non-human, in this and future generations. According to the principle of restitutive justice many of the remaining wilderness ecosystems should be preserved as a form of compensations to the species inhabiting them, who have already lost so much habitat.

Restitutive justice requires that we restore the peregrine falcon population and save the grizzly and the world. Restitutive justice suggests that we have been living rent free on the planet for tool long. The time to pay back is now. Chiras reiterates that an eco-centric view, while foreign to many people in modern societies, is actually expressing a very ancient understanding. Chiras concludes: In general, sustainable ethics calls for a much deeper understanding of nature and a much wider appreciation and respect for it.

To adherents of sustainable ethics, nature is not a stage upon which all human activity takes place, but rather a fabric into which all human life is woven. This ethics, therefore, contrasts sharply with the prevalent frontierist view of nature as a source of human wealth and the repository of our waste. It stands in sharp contrast to frontier thinking because it places humans within the realm of nature, rather than the hub of a wheel with everything else — birds, mammals, insects, plants — lying outside of our narrow ethical range.

As such, sustainable ethics is a philosophy of inclusion and participation, markedly different from the philosophy of alienation and domination of frontierism Chiras, , p. Expanding our empathy towards the living world, when combined with ecological literacy, results in ecological consciousness and solves what Capra referred to as the crisis of perception.

This change in perception, based on a change in worldview, lies at the beginning of the path towards sustainability. How we perceive, especially our relationship with the world, is the determinant of our aesthetic experience. He describes the shift in perception mediated by this ecological aesthetic insightfully: An ecological aesthetic would be a perspective on our environment and society as well as the ensuing theory and practice. Hermann Prigann clearly understands the importance of ecological literacy and he also understands that such literacy would not be solely based within a scientific paradigm.

To the contrary, it would gain part of its strength through the intuitive and creative dimensions of aesthetic practice. Ecological literacy is a very important aspect of a multi-perspective based approach to sustainable design. Together with the emergence of the natural design movement, we can observe an increasing debate on the significance of a new ecological aesthetics. The controversy between them played a great part, especially during the Renaissance.

The one describes beauty as the proper conformity of the parts to one another, and to the whole. They explain: Deep Form offers the artist a new repertory of gestures: instead of grasping, seizing, mastering, struggling, it attempts a tender touching, a non-interfering gaze, a receptive bonding with earth and the other. The dark, submerged feminine reappears as image and informing spirit, a new anima mundi with her rich welter of sensuous experience in colour, scent, and sound.

Wherever Deep Form wells up among the poets, painters, the architects, the performers, life is made whole again and the universe becomes alive. The creative imagination returns us to an aesthetic both old and new, to a mode of knowing the natural world which can be the ally of science.

The human again becomes an integral part of nature; life and mind become part of a vital matrix as vast and as old as the universe. In an article addressed to landscape architects, Ian McHarg expressed how ecological literacy can lead to a radically different and participatory understanding of form and a new aesthetic of appropriate participation.

In this aesthetic perception, the maker and the made are recognised as fundamentally interdependent: By being, the place or the creature has form. Form and process are indivisible aspects of a single phenomenon. The ecological method allows one to understand form as an explicit point in evolutionary process. Cup is form and begins from the cupped hand. As a profession, landscape architecture has exploited a pliant earth, tractable and docile plants to make much that is arbitrary, capricious, and inconsequential.

We could not see the cupped hand as giving form to the cup, the earth and its processes are giving form to our work. Kurt stresses the important role that a participatory awareness plays in the development of such an aesthetic of sustainability. She identifies another important point: When the discourse about the aesthetics of sustainability articulates a new sensitivity to the fact that there is effective creative knowledge beyond technical-instrumental reason, that offers viable alternatives, then the question of the relationship between sustainability and art can no longer be ignored.

But it is at precisely this point that difficulties in understanding presently arise Kurt, , p. Aesthetics play such an important role because aesthetic questions direct awareness towards perception itself rather than detached observation.

Aesthetics can raise awareness of the role that our knowledge plays in the way we experience and conceptualise the world. Aesthetics is about perception, which emerges out of the encounter of direct sensory experience and mental patterns of thought, concepts and basic assumptions see also Bortoft, Rather than pulling away from reality, I would like to read the Book of Nature. If we can learn how to see ideas and relations embodied in living things, then the world will become transparent, and we can learn how to see other levels of being shining through the forms of nature Fideler, , p.

Rather than the aesthetics of separation and abstraction, it is an aesthetics of relationships and interactions that informs such ecologically conscious design. The line of beauty is the result of perfect economy. The cell of the bee is built at that angle which gives the most strength with the least wax; the bone or the quill of the bird give the most alar strength with the least weight … There is not a particle to spare in natural structures.

There is a compelling reason in the uses of the plant, for every novelty of colour or form … in Fideler, , p. In describing the aesthetics of appropriateness and resource frugality he observed in the natural world, was Emerson not also describing principles of nature inspired bionic design? The following subchapter will focus on learning from nature.

The current focus is to explore what the emerging ecological aesthetics may look like and aim to express. This points has a lot of implications not only for ethics, but also in terms of our economic models and business practices. Nature possesses a vast, untapped repository of design intelligence! I am sure that we have a lot to learn from her, but it all depends on our ability to approach the world with a renewed sense of vision and insight.

The sense of humility that accompanies the ecologically literate awareness of our own fundamentally participatory involvement in an unpredictable and uncontrollable process facilitates the re-emergence of the ancient perspective that regards nature as the sacred ground of our being. Painters, poets, and musicians have long known that creativity blossoms when they are participating in chaos. Old fashioned logic and linear reasoning clearly have their place, but the creativity inherent in chaos suggests that actually living life requires something more.

It requires an aesthetic sense — a feeling of what fits, what is in harmony, what will grow and what will die. It is not simply equivalent to our German expression das Ganze, meaning the whole or the entirety. For holon is also that which is intact or undamaged, that which is sound and healthy. Gadamer is formulating a participatory aesthetic of appropriate participation and health in his description of the relationship between art and nature.

It also means meeting the challenge of finding the way back from the condition of social disruption which illness entails. Gadamer explains: Plato distinguishes between two different kinds of measure. The first is that which is used when one wants to take a measurement and the procedure is brought to the object from without. The second is the measure which is to be found within the object itself. The Greek expressions here are metron for the first sort of measure and metrion for the second.

Clearly in the present context it refers to that inner measure which is proper to a self-sustaining living whole. And we do in fact experience health in this way as a condition of harmony or an appropriate state of internal measure Gadamer, , pp. The emerging aesthetics of health and complexity is an aesthetic of appropriate participation informed by ecological literacy and perceived within an ecological consciousness. Lane himself writes: Ugliness reveals monotony, disfiguration, discord, deformation, moral perversion, power abuse, intimidation, emotional torture, no thought and no responsiveness.

It gives expression to the breaking down of relationships, proportional symmetries and concordances. It produces an awareness of the horror of belonging to a broken unity. It is impersonal and soul-less. It results from disrespect, cynical disregard and an anti-reverence that verges on arrogance. Ugliness always has something of human arrogance. Conversely, beauty has to do with care, compassion, spirit, authenticity — it is always moral and honest.

Beauty appears wherever soul appears, and ugliness whenever the soul has been anaesthetized Lane, , p. Quite the opposite; its enjoyment depends on patience, silence, calm, and respect. Is this why beauty is disappearing from an over-industrialized world caught in a positive feedback loop of the ever faster and faster? To find our way back to greater sanity we will need to practice a new way of looking at nature: not to learn about her, but to learn from her — to see her as a mentor.

To do so we will need to slow down. We will need to quieten the voices of our own self-regarding cleverness. We will need to contemplate the fathomless wonder and beauty of her splendour. Beauty is the keyword here: it is the Open Sesame which unleashes the awe bordering on reverence, the humility and the spirituality that are now needed for the survival of our civilization Lane, , p.

Beauty is perceived and expressed in its most clear form when the soul of the artists merges with the soul of the world. True and timeless beauty touches the soul and connects us to the scared ground of our own being. And creative opportunities can be found in regard to everything.

Every single act can be practised with — or without — imagination. Every single act can be done with care or carelessly. Every single act can add to or detract from the sum of total beauty in our home and district. Those who fail to practice their creativity are not only impoverishing their own existence; they are losing one o fthe deepest springs of our future vitality and hope Lane, , p.

Lane thereby hints at the possibility that the aesthetics of the emerging natural design movement may no longer be an aesthetic centred around the aesthetics of isolated, material objects and products, but rather manifest as a more integral and complex understanding of beauty that describes the lifestyle aesthetics of appropriate participation. Such a lifestyle aesthetic would be expressed materially through products and artefacts that contribute to the total of beauty in the world, by allowing for a healthy manifestation of the diversity of life, and by contributing to human and planetary health.

As explored in chapter one, the holistic sciences are tentatively sketching a map of the world based on the metaphor of complex dynamic systems and the concept of emergent order out of chaos. This map is a fuzzy map that acknowledges limits to what is knowable, to prediction and to control. An aesthetic of health sensitises us to health generating interactions at the level of the whole of nature.

It may help us to trace out the map of relationships and interactions that lead to appropriate participation in salutogenesis at the level of the whole. The aesthetics of health will guide us towards actions and designs that increase the health of the planetary biosphere. The goal shifts from control and manipulation to appropriate participation.

Interconnectedness sets the context for co-operation rather than competition. This emerging map of the world as a complex dynamic system has its origin in natural science and the ecological realities of natural process, but in acknowledging the limits of instrumental technical reason and emphasising the dynamic and participatory nature of perception and existence, the map is clearly acknowledging the important contribution that non-scientific ways of knowing can make to the dialogue about appropriate participation and thus sustainability.

In many ways, the emerging map is also an aesthetic map. The aesthetics of complex dynamic systems are rooted in valuing diversity, interconnectedness, and cooperative exchanges or symbiosis as the basis for the dynamic stability of the system. Such dynamic stability could also be referred to as resilience or health. The process of integrating the artificial through appropriate participation into natural process is informed by an aesthetic of health Wahl, b,p. The evolution of the natural design movement is a clear indication that a culture of appropriate participation is now emerging.

In the long term a culture of sustainability will evolve, unless humanity takes the other route into continued mass extinction that will sooner or later include our own species. Timothy Collins describes the new emergent aesthetics that are sensitive to the relationships between diversity, complexity and health insightfully: Health is a term for the aesthetic understanding of complexity. There is a thread connecting biodiversity, cultural diversity and economic diversity.

This is the metaphorical understanding of the health of a complex dynamic system. This is an idea that few of us will ever be able to conceptualise in detail, but I think that many of us are beginning to sense in terms of aesthetic pattern.

The relative health of a landscape, an organism, the health of a system, even the health of a technological construct, is a material problem of diverse complexity. In turn, a lack of health can be described in terms of emergent dominant systems that mitigate the constraint of diversity.

Diversity is healthy expression and perception is an integrative, dialogic concept. This concept departs from the autonomous object of classical aesthetics, defined as unity, regularity, simplicity, proportion, balance, measure and definiteness. Within the aesthetic perception of diversity lies systemic relationship, dynamism, complexity, symbiosis, contradiction to measurement and indefinite and procreative vitality.

I believe that an aesthetic of diversity is emergent but not yet cogent. It is a theoretical view with an experiential basis that must be identified and pursued by many. It will not be captured in terms of a singular theory, a definite practice or primary authorship Collins, , p.

Those who take for their standard any one but nature -the mistress of all masters — weary themselves in vain. Frank Lloyd Wright — in Whiston-Sprin, , p. Clearly these will have to take nature as an example. Any technician who thinks long-term has to take nature as his prime example. Eugene Tsui in Sanosiain, , p.

By adopting a concept of Nature that understands natural process as the pattern that connects everything within the biosphere and the universe as an integrated whole, humanity and its cultural and technological expressions are recognized as being situated within the larger context of natural process. Cultural diversity is seen as an expression of natural diversity. Yet, such unsustainable designs fail to participate appropriately in natural processes. To think of a nuclear reactor or a coal-fired power-plant, for example, as something separate from the ecosystems in which they are located is purely theoretical, since natural flows of matter and energy fundamentally connect these designs to the temporally and spatially scale -linking natural processes in which they participate.

In nature, any form or any design that does not adapt appropriately and effectively to these natural processes does not endure over time as an expression of natural process; and neither will inappropriate technologies or inappropriately participating societies or civilizations. In essence, the process of learning from nature how to participate appropriately in natural process is what sustainability is all about.

Even the sustainable technologies of tomorrow will eventually have to re- adapt to this natural process of continuous and intermittent change. To learn from nature how to adapt to natural process is an ability human beings share — to a greater or lesser extent - with all other species.

The sheer fact of being alive today - existence in itself - can be regarded as convincing circumstantial evidence that this process of learning has been more or less successful so far. Since the dawn of humanity our designs have been inspired by nature and adapted to natural processes.

Rather than learning from nature as a process in which we participate , how to best adapt to the conditions of a particular environment, the scientific revolution set a new goal of learning about nature as a collection of material resources in order to increase our ability to predict, manipulate, and control natural process.

This change in the focus of human learning ushered in the Industrial Revolution, which in little over two centuries and most violently in the last fifty years has transformed the face of the Earth. So far the escapades of human folly and their effects have been buffered by the extraordinary dynamic resilience of ecosystems and the biosphere.

Clearly, many impressive technological inventions have increased human awareness of what we are capable of — for good and for worse. The challenge for the designers of today and the future is to return to a more humble and more responsible and cautious way of learning from nature. In the words of Professor John Todd: The infrastructures of the modern world must be fundamentally redesigned to alter the means by which the human family supports and sustains itself.

The answer will be found in Nature — the great living complexities that have evolved over the past three and one half billion plus years. This biological phenomenon, this experiment we call life, has through time, trial, error, adaptation and invention evolved into a living tapestry. It contains the clues, information, blueprints and maps available for us to emulate directly the design for the societies of the new millennium.

This vast collective intelligence, which evolved over eons, needs to be understood and utilized by human designers addressing all spheres of human society Todd, , p. In fact, this entire thesis aims to document the internal consistency of such an approach of learning from nature how to meet human needs while adapting to the opportunities and limits posed by nature.

The design of ecological or sustainable products, architecture, communities, cities, industries, bioregions and national as well as global politics are all expressions of this re- emerging focus on learning from nature. I refer to this emergent property of human civilization in the 21st century as the natural design movement.

In this subchapter I will take a closer look at how designers can and do learn from nature. When they founded the New Alchemy Institute in they created a modern precedence for committed research into learning from nature how to meet human needs sustainably. Like many other members of this movement they are midwives of a sustainable human civilization. The report highlighted the environmental and social deterioration caused by many industrial technologies and called for ecologically and socially appropriate technologies that integrate into natural process benignly or beneficially.

Recently, Nancy Jack-Todd described the early vision of ecologically designed technologies voiced in this historical document. It would be founded on the philosophical view that all things are interconnected and interdependent, and that the whole cannot be defined in monetary terms. Energy production, agriculture, landscapes, and communities must be tied together within individual research programmes and each area should be considered as a unique entity worthy of study.

From indigenous research projects would evolve a biotechnology that reflects the needs of each region and peoples. In this way it will be possible to have fantastically varied communities and landscapes, as each develops its own integration with the world around it.

Natural wisdom is light years ahead of us in experience, systems and structures; three billion years of experience as compared to technology, still in its infancy, makes this inevitable. Ancient art was inspired by natural design, although this tendency has gradually and little by little been lost, let us use the handbook that has not been, and never will be, out of date: the Book of Nature Sanosiain, , p.

When we think about design, we tend to think about material things: machines, automobiles, houses, highway systems. But you can apply the concept of design to social arrangements, social institutions, educational systems. We are going to have to design new patterns at all those levels, and they have to fit together.

Bateson, , pp. The salutogenic and integral design approach that is emerging with the natural design movement is beginning to provide practical design solutions in answer to these complex challenges. It does so by learning from nature. Some statements from it are summarized in the box below see box 3. Christopher Alexander p. Then there can be a reorientation of our values that will earn expression in a reconstituted technology.

Planning, and Ian Figure 2 - Average Enrollments by Academic Year - In ,.. If you enjoy this piece, then please check back soon for our latest in urban-centric journalism. Ian McHarg in Portugal in Ian Lennox McHarg — drew on the environmental and Ian L. McHarg - was born in Clydebank, Scotland and became a landscape architect and a renowned writer on regional planning using natural Design with Nature Now. Its title refers to the opening line of Ian McHarg's speech at the first Ian McHarg in Portugal, July To do this, he must design with nature..

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Design with Nature had its roots in much earlier landscape architecture philosophies. It was sharply critical of the French Baroque style of garden design, which McHarg saw as a subjugation of nature, and full of praise for the English picturesque style of garden design. McHarg's focus, however, was only partially on the visual and sensual qualities which had dominated the English picturesque movement. Instead, he saw the earlier tradition as a precursor of his philosophy, which was rooted less in aristocratic estate design or even garden design and more broadly in an ecological sensibility that accepted the interwoven worlds of the human and the natural, and sought to more fully and intelligently design human environments in concert with the conditions of setting, climate and environment.

Always a polemicist, McHarg set his thinking in radical opposition to what he argued was the arrogant and destructive heritage of urban-industrial modernity, a style he described as "Dominate and Destroy. In the speech he asserted that, due to the views of man and nature that have infiltrated all of western culture, people are not guaranteed survival. Of man, McHarg said, "He treats the world as a storehouse existing for his delectation; he plunders, rapes, poisons, and kills this living system, the biosphere, in ignorance of its workings and its fundamental value.

He discusses how in the Judeo-Christian traditions, the Bible says that man is to have dominion over the earth. McHarg says that for man to survive, this idea must be taken as an allegory only, and not as literally true. Lest this statement be construed as anti-religion, he cites Paul Tillich Protestantism , Gustav Weigel Catholicism , and Abram Heschel Judaism as noted religious scholars who are also in agreement with him on this point.

This community was developed from timberland located thirty miles north of Houston, by George P. Mitchell , who hired McHarg to consult on the project and, as a result, the original plans featured many of his unique designs. Due in part to concerns of flooding, McHarg identified the water system as the most critical aspect of the site. The natural drainage system the firm designed was successful at limiting the runoff with which McHarg was concerned, and was also much cheaper than a conventional drainage system would have been.

In , in his collection To Heal the Earth , McHarg wrote that the Woodlands is one of the best examples of his ideals. Most of the actual work was done by a large team while McHarg was still there, and by many others in the years since he left. The Woodlands continues to be a successful ecological community even today. McHarg's own plans for urban expansion projects also were more 'English' than 'French' in their geometry. He favoured what became known as 'cluster development' with relatively dense housing set in a larger natural environment.

In , WMRT began the planning phase of a project for the Shah of Iran , an environmental park to be called Pardisan , unlike any the world had ever seen. McHarg was enthusiastic about this project, and greatly invested in the work. The other partners of the firm, however, believed the project to be a significant risk, although Iran was wealthy from the sale of oil.

Their concerns became justified when the Shah was overthrown and the firm was left with a large amount of debt from the project. Located in a north western area of Tehran, Pardisan still remains as a large, relatively un-designed, green space but McHarg's designs were never implemented.

McHarg also received an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in He was also instrumental in the founding of Earth Week, and participated on task forces on environmental issues for the Kennedy , Johnson , Nixon , and Carter administrations [14]. In the summer of , the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design launched a new, interdisciplinary research center in McHarg's honor.

Anticipating the 50th publication anniversary of his text Design with Nature , the McHarg Center's [15] public launch took place in June as a part of an event, exhibition, and book project known as "Design with Nature Now". Its mission is to build on The Weitzman School's position as a global leader in urban ecological design by bringing environmental and social scientists together with planners, designers, policy-makers, and communities to develop practical, innovative ways of improving the quality of life in the places most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ian McHarg. Clydebank , Scotland. Encyclopedia of the City. ISBN A quest for life. New York: Wiley. Retrieved 21 February Terry, et al. Man, Planetary Disease. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

Return to Book Page. Design With Nature by Ian L. In presenting us with a vision of organic exuberance and humandelight, which ecology and ecological design promise to open up forus, McHarg revives the hope for a better world. This century's most infl In presenting us with a vision of organic exuberance and humandelight, which ecology and ecological design promise to open up forus, McHarg revives the hope for a better world. This century's most influential landscape architecture book.

It has also left a permanent mark on the ongoing discussionof mankind's place in nature and nature's place in mankind withinthe physical sciences and humanities. Described by one enthusiasticreviewer as a user's manual for our world, Design With Natureoffers a practical blueprint for a new, healthier relationshipbetween the built environment and nature.

In so doing, it providesnothing less than the scientific, technical, and philosophicalfoundations for a mature civilization that will, as Lewis Mumfordecstatically put it in his Introduction to the edition, replace the polluted, bulldozed, machine-dominated, dehumanized, explosion-threatened world that is even now disintegrating anddisappearing before our eyes. Get A Copy. Paperback , Wiley Series in Sustainable Design , pages. Published February 28th by Wiley first published March 26th More Details Original Title.

Other Editions All Editions. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Design With Nature , please sign up. And also, if the Pa at the end of this title was part of the Paperback format. Is there any way to correct the title? See 1 question about Design With Nature…. Lists with This Book.

Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Design With Nature. Shelves: work. A hell of a resource if you're ever put in charge of colonizing a new planet. McHarg alternates between case studies and philosophic chapters that veer towards pantheistic.

Many of the revolutionary ideas and techniques McHarg writes about are now common practice, but it's still an interesting read for anybody with an interest in cities. Mar 19, Ahn Mur rated it really liked it.

Taken as a whole, the prose can be lofty and is, in certain parts, somewhat dated having never been updated , but generally it is both detailed and philosophical: a kind of walk through the woods with Ian McHarg. It gives an excellent understanding of the foundation of environmentally-sensitive planning. He introduces Ian McHarg, the author of the book, as a far more than a town planner and landscape architect: as an ecologist.

Design with Nature, Mumford postulates, lays the groundwork for the future and for the hope of mankind to develop a new methodology in approaching the natural world. Design with Nature was a thoughtful meditation. There were aspects of the prose relating to its historical context that I did not agree with, particularly low density development. I would be interested to see the book interpreted with a modern lens.

How modern technological resources could be used and how further developed ecological scientific understanding might influence the physiographic determinism approach would be particularly helpful. Nevertheless, I found reading Design with Nature to be very useful and, especially, inspiring. It is a voice of bravery in a world of economic savagery. May 16, Jingyan rated it it was amazing.

Informative, alarming, practical and inspiring view on the relationship between earth and human, first printed 45 years ago. In , the author was awarded the National Medal of Art by the President Bush who stated then: "I hope that in the 21st century the largest accomplishment of art will be to restore the earth. It shows the way for the man who wou Informative, alarming, practical and inspiring view on the relationship between earth and human, first printed 45 years ago.

It shows the way for the man who would be the enzyme of the biosphere- its steward, enhancing the creative fit of man-environment, realizing man's design with nature. Of course, there's no doubt that "Design with Nature" is a landmark publication in regional planning and landscape architecture, fusing the two masterfully. It contains a cohesive design vision for incorporating an understanding of nature into the ethos of civilization and its development processes.

It also demonstrates an influential approach for architecting entire regions, namely overlaying transparent maps with different geographic criteria to analyze the holistic suitability of diffe Well It also demonstrates an influential approach for architecting entire regions, namely overlaying transparent maps with different geographic criteria to analyze the holistic suitability of different land use. Assuming it was novel at the time, the influence on how we manage regional information with geographic information systems either cannot be understated, or was just so clearly just a key form of analysis that it was reinvented again and again, or most likely a combination of these things that will be impossible to untangle historically.

I don't know if time has worn on it well. I found it to take an undue effort to get through, especially given that I'm generally quite engaged by ecological design and related subjects. Oddly, part of the problem comes from its format. However, the font is tiny, so there's a lot of material in this puppy; it would be three times as thick with today's typesetting. I appreciate that the volume isn't wasteful and is more economical this way, but it seems like it takes forever to get through.

Unfortunately, it isn't only the format that I found taxing. This book isn't a design guide, manual, textbook, or demonstration, but is instead a design manifesto. And it has a lot to say about how things would be better if we were all rational naturalists who could appreciate the intrinsic complexity and systemic order of nature and thus put down buildings where they'll stay up and not wreck the water supply or good farmland or whatever, instead of just plonking down buildings and highways along a straight line or wherever will produce the most immediate economic profit.

However, the book doesn't think that introducing this new paradigm is sufficient, and decides to be, well, maybe a bit bitter and confrontational about the way it sees things as currently going. I see this as where the book falls short of one of the major mottos that design tries to live up to: "Most Advanced, Yet Appropriate", where designs will advance society as far as they can go yet still be appealing and readily applicable to the context in which they are being introduced.

Yet, while failing to be appealing, it still fails to reach outside of the biases of its day, with weird anti-Christian and anti-homosexual positions bolstered by the same pseudo-scientific logic. One wonders if this kind of argument has led to environmentalism being seen by many as an incompatible ideology instead of the policy outcome of being informed about the nature of the environment.

On the plus side, the book is quite cohesive, unlike "Design for the Real World" another massively influential ecological design book to come out around the same time. Its complaints are never made just to complain, but are always in service of the larger design vision.

In this, it masterfully demonstrates "designerly ways of knowing", where it combines applying scientific and technical principles, developing the subjectivities of relevant participants, and single-case problem solving to address particular challenges. The case-study sections, when the book is actually doing the work of planning, is when it is at its strongest.

Even then, it can wander particularly into geology without clearly expressing how this information forms a criteria or leads to the information that forms a criteria. It's demonstrating an approach and showing how that approach fits into a design practice, but isn't actually aiming to educate the reader on how to use this design approach in any detailed way.

I would have liked to have seen more about how ecological knowledge feeds into ecological assessment. Along this line, I'm not unsympathetic to another reviewer's criticism that there's "no design here, just abstract musings and maps". This book does have some cross sections, so I'll grant it being "landscape architecture". Still, I feel that even though it doesn't actually do landscape design, it is a design manifesto for the reasons I mentioned above.

Writing now from the future, you just want to say "We know, but what we need to know is how to pursue this work. What I think is appropriate now is less praise of a "scientific" perspective and more specific science made operational for the designer. It could be a book read to explain the historical context for those fields, or for introducing various philosophies of those fields, or some similar effort for setting the context of our current approaches.

I don't know if the textbook that introduces how to do ecologically-informed landscape design, planning, and architecture at a variety of scales with contemporary tools and scientific knowledge exists. The creation of such a textbook for our time would be an enormous contribution. A fundamental thesis and practice for landscape architecture and regional planning.

A gift from Ian McHarg to future generations. Feb 14, Sarah rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Old planners. Shelves: nature , It's dated, that's the problem. So maybe my problem isn't really with this book or it's author, but rather with the fact that we're still reading it in , when there's gotta be new stuff out there that would take us beyond designing with nature, to maybe designing for nature, design by nature, nature by designers, who knows, just anything but Design with Nature!

My favourite part? A reference to "the bitch goddess success". I wish I could work that into the paper I have to write on this sucker now. Nov 19, Jon rated it liked it. This book combines ideas from urban planning and landscape architecture with ideas from ecology. What is to be gained? A lot of lyrical passages about the beauty of nature, which grow more and more tiresome the longer they go on. It's not that the book is without its merits.

McHarg's text, after all, is considered a classic. And when he gets down to practicalities, he often has intriguing ideas to present. But every other chapter is theory rather than practicum, and reading this theory fifty yea This book combines ideas from urban planning and landscape architecture with ideas from ecology. But every other chapter is theory rather than practicum, and reading this theory fifty years later is like reading a set of dated truisms amid a collection of late s liberal diatribes.

McHarg especially has it out, it seems, for Christianity, which he often blames for the environmental ills of the planet. Christianity is anthropocentric, he denotes, and as such we don't pay attention to the earth's natural balance. What, I might ask, would paying attention to the earth's natural balance entail other than stewardship and a belief in human-centered superiority?

I don't know any cats or dogs or pigs or chickens that worry about preserving the planet's balance. If they overpopulate or do environmental damage the earth naturally takes care of it--through evolution, if you will. The distribution of the animal changes, as does the distribution of the other animals and plants it affects. So too, one might argue, with humans, if indeed we are here merely by chance and are merely one other creature among the rest of the globe's inhabitants.

The idea that we need to keep nature balanced, the way it was supposed to be, is then itself an anthropocentric one, one that implies that we are somehow above the other creatures on the planet. Anyway, the constant attacks on Christianity obviously wore thin on me.

But as I noted, the practicum chapters were of some interest. An early one discusses the ocean and the beach. Much of this is old information to me from other reading I've done--how important beach dunes are, how various attempts to keep beaches in place using groins actually damage beaches further down, and so on. But it was concrete. Those sort of points make for interesting studies later in the book, when McHarg lays out the best ways to, for example, choose where to lay roads.

Too often, he points out, we pay attention chiefly to costs--and by that, he means, the physical costs, of laying a road. Hence, highways are placed where there is less development or where development is cheap i. But this often doesn't equate to what the actual cost is--that is, the actual cost needs to include the culture and social cost. When we lay down a highway through a community, we're splitting the community in half and we are likely killing off neighborhoods. And when we lay a road through pristine forestland that birds use for nesting, we may also be laying out environmental effects that will in turn affect the social and cultural ones.

His solution? He takes various maps that lay out the different costs associated with each route for a road. Overlaying this maps allows us to see which route is likely the most cost effective. In another practicum chapter, McHarg looks at different environments that are best for city building, laying out a hierarchy of preferred land on which to build, in this descending order: flat land, forest, steep slopes, aquifers, aquifer recharge areas, floodplains, marshes, and surface water.

Knowing these preferences, we should thus really aim not to build on floodplains and to build on flat land. The only qualifier? Flat land is also the best land for agriculture, so we have to be attuned to those needs as well. In an extended example, McHarg focuses on a plan for the city of Baltimore and how that city can continue to grow without giving in to sprawl, selecting the proper places to grow and the proper places to preserve and what the density in these locations should be.

Next, McHarg turns to a theoretical discussion of how we would go about creating a proper environment for an astronaut sent to live in space. He shows how all the various systems are integrated and how difficult it is to account for everything that nature does naturally. The astronaut easily can find that he or she has not accounted for some need and throw the system out of whack. This leads into the chapter on Staten Island, which again is planned according to different values and needs, using overlaying maps that give planners the means to know where the best places for conservation are, as well as the best places for urbanization, both residential and commercial.

In the next theory-heavy section, McHarg approaches a group of thinkers he calls "Naturalists. He argues that natural organisms adapt to one another, that the fittest only surviving is actually a way of advancing nature so that it is more interdependent. The lion that eats the caribou, for example, is doing the caribou a favor in terms of keeping its stock lower and also helping it to evolve to a higher state through only letting the most fit survive.

Parasites depend on hosts, but hosts often adapt to depend also on the parasite. Whole ecosystems exists because of this interdependence. One of those, arguably, is our own body, which consists of a host of cells, most of them cells that have learned to specialize in particular tasks in order to make the body work together efficiently.

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