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Design with Nature


By Ian L. McHarg

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! Ian McHargs book is an intriguing book, that inspires readers too look at their own environment in new ways. He shows landscapes and designs that are seen as beautiful and makes them the breath taking. Taking pictures of landscapes is not always easy, but Ian makes every picture graceful and majestic. He speaks of how nature and man, and how these two t together. ! Chapter 1: City and Countryside ! Ian talks about how he has come to become the person he is today. About how two different paths from his home lead him to two very different places. The one path was the metropolitan that was called Glasgow. This was a dirty town, with smoke lling the air and all the buildings tinted black with soot from the coal burning factories. The other path lead Ian up into the Highlands. Here, there was elds of grain, animals running to and fro. Overall a much happier environment. ! The city was full of ugliness. Partly due to the fact that Ian grew up during the Depression, but also because of the fact that the city was dirty and without respects for nature. However, the city was not completely without beauty. There where a few items that he enjoyed which helped him to pass his time. ! The second path, however, was much more pleasing, and helped him to grow new ideas and develop his thoughts. Each year he would adventure further and further in to this nature, trying to unlock all of its secrets, and discover why it was so much more pleasing then that of the citys environment.

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Chapter 2: Sea and Survival ! Nature is a process, it has to abide by laws, interact with its environment, and changed whenever it is demanded too. But nature is not without its problems. Sometimes nature presents its own problems that we as human beings must over come. One such case of this is that which is presented by the New Jersey Shore. Dunes and dikes are created to hold back the fury of a coming storm, much of the time sitting in wait, but with the eventuality that a storm will come to test their strengths. ! The Dutch, instead of trying to completely stop the waves, just tries to lesson them, more or less defecting them. Trying to reduce the amount of damage they can inict by absorbing some of that energy. They do this by creating exible dunes that ex at the force of a wave, using grass and masonry. The best of nature and man, creating a stronger design then with just man made or just nature. Suited to t our cities needs and demand. ! This information is known to any young Dutchman, but in the United States, even in the area where it is important to their overall survival, it is unknown. This is all because of politics and the lack of connection that the modern day man carries for nature. None to many seek out, explore, and enjoy that which is not man made, or articially crafted. If more people spent the time to understand nature better, the outcome would be better for all. Nature helps one unwind, its natural and is not pretending to be something it is not, like most of the metropolitan monsters.

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Chapter 3: The Plight ! Ian has spent his life trying to create oases in the metropolitans that we call cities. The city that was nearest to Ian as he grew up was Glasgow. Glasgow was a grim, miserable town that was grimy and dirty. But the the countryside could be reached by a short walk, a bike ride, or even a couple of pennies to ride the tram. ! Recreating nature is not so much a pleasure, its a necessity. Its not only an escape for the dullness of city life, but it also is what makes life worth living. The silence of the forests, the trickle of a stream and the chirp of the birds. This cannot be found in the large cities, and urban surroundings. ! The issue with the industrial metropolitan created many problems, however the country side is not the xed for the problem. It is just a bandage. What really needs to be done is a blending of the cities and the countryside. From this many ideas have been spawned. Ideas like green belts, open space areas, and parks. All of these give cities a connection back to the country side.

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Chapter 4: A Step Forward ! Ideas as simple as building a freeway are actually quite complex. There are many things that are trying to be maximized during that process. Such things as safety, air and biotic resources, land rights and making the best use of the space for the community. ! Not only that but the construction workers have to look at the other possible land uses and prove to the community that a high way is the best use of that space. With all these processes that must be completed to start construction, the most important in Ians concern is the connection of this design back to nature. Without this connection, our civilization would be back in the industrial times. ! Basically, highway construction is a very complex undertaking for many reasons. Everything has to be considered during its construction, and with out this prior fore thought and absolute care for detail, would end in disaster and unhappiness.

Chapter 5: The Cast and the Capsule ! Ian discusses two stories he tells his students when he rst meets them, he says he does this to challenge them and to make them think. One of these stories talks of man in space and how looking back at the earth is
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breath taking. The other story tells about the increase in nuclear energy and the possible destruction of almost all forms of life, and how the earth would have to start all over again. ! Humans think of themselves as divine, we are the only creatures to have a connection with a power greater then our own, God. And because of this, animals, plants and all wild life is thought of as our own domain, and we can do with it as we see t. However, this is not true, who are we to say that a certain species cannot live in a certain place anymore just because we want to build more homes and cities. Nature had no intent for man kind to be so ruthless. ! Humans however serve plants and bacteria. Humans create food for these creatures, provide land for them to grow, and in some cases shelter them. We use their by products and give them what they need to grow. However we do not have a symbiotic relationship, plants and bacteria where doing ne long before humans became part of this planet.

Chapter 6: Nature in the Metropolis ! Plants too do work for use. And in times of greed and wealth, when one can get a resource for free it is usually jumped on. This resource Ian is

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speaking of is not only just air, it is also a get away, and a connection back the the wild human roots that plants give us. ! Some of the uses of open spaces; Surface water, marshes, ood plains, aquifer recharge areas, aquifers, steep slopes, at land, forests, and woodlands. These all hold important natural aspects that must be preserved at the risk of destroying all that we cherish.

Chapter 7: On Values ! Preservation of the natural areas are becoming of greater and greater value. National Forests and National Parks have increased in popularity in recent years. Much of these areas remained untouched by man, and the rest have barely been left a mark on them. ! The values put on landscape have change from many times in the past. The Middle Ages, the mastery of landscape was the prominent look of the age. But as time as gone on, and nature has become less and less common, natural look as made a come back. The look of a natural, untouched, usable landscape has become more important. This could be for many reasons, the most out standing likely being the lack of natural natural areas. ! Many of the ideas from this book may in part be because it was written during the depression and dust bowl. The dust bowl may likely be a

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cause for an increase in the popularity of the artistic designs of a landscape architect.

Chapter 8: A Response of Values ! The natural phenomena are dynamic interacting processing, responsive to laws, and these proffer opportunities and limitations to human use. This chapter also speaks of the great value parks can provide to cities and there residents. The additional revenue that these parks earn basically pays for themselves within a couple of years, depending on the initial price of the park and the prospected use. ! Development is impossible to control. It is a necessity of life. It can not be stopped, however it can an must be predicted by designers. If one accommodates for the future, they can create a space that works for today, tomorrow and much farther into the future, making the investment much more cost effective then it may have otherwise been. ! Uncontrolled growth is horrible destructive. If the proper precautions are not taken the destructive nature takes over. Plans for developing can only fend off a small amount of the growth, humans also must learn to limit our own growth so that we maybe able to have a sustainable existence and our civilians a sustainable life style.

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Chapter 9: The World is a Capsule ! The world is a capsule is a good way to think of the planet Earth. Earth is all an interconnected web of diversity. Everything that lives on the planet is connected to every other living thing on this planet. As an important as this concept is, people tend to forget it. Everything that we do to our environment is trapped her with us, and it is all just a matter of time before all of what we do too the earth will come back to haunt us. ! The importance of preserving our environment is beyond explanation. The Earth is our home and we must protect it. Place a jar over a farm, the plants take carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen, while utilizing the carbon. Do the same thing over a large city and everything in it would soon die. The output of carbon dioxide and noxious gases is astronomical. Farm land does a lot more for humans then just provide food and substance.

Chapter 10: Process as Values ! It would have been most advantageous of man kind to evaluate the situation of land long ago. Beaches, marshes, forests, mountainsides and
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all the beauty that nature produces are in much shorter supply now, and in differently weighted quantities. We may have a large amount of mountainside left but we dont have very much beach left, especially in California. ! In California, it is a common known fact that you are not to use beaches and the ocean after it rains. If one feels like they want to risk it, they can come down with some nasty sicknesses. This is all because of the excessive pollution of the surrounding area, and when it rains the pollution runs into the ocean, carrying diseases and illnesses. ! This is where the importance of the residents comes into effect. Without the citizens input on the subject, many projects would not be directed at how they should really be designed. The citizens would never utilize the space, and there concerns would go unheard.

Chapter 11: The Naturists ! Your designs are not trying to create a utopia for everyone, but just to create a sort of naturalist view. A utopia is different for everyone, and is unique complex in each situation. However if you just make it form a naturalists point of view, then all can the created to make most people happy. ! Their views are more simplistic, less romantic, and much more modest. Making their ideal space simpler to satisfy and easier to design to t their needs. They still have simple and basic laws that they must follow. ! A site can evolve at time goes on, from a primitive state, which is simplicity, uniformity, instability, low number of species, low number of
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symbioses and high entropy. And evolve into an advanced state, which consists of complexity, diversity, stability, stability (steady state), high number of species, high symbioses and low entropy. In the same way a space can retrogress, making it return to a simple and primitive look.

Chapter 12: The River Basin ! Landscape architects are limited by the problems presented by the client. Where as a professor has no constraints. This can be seen as a constraint, or as a challenge, depending on the person. ! The river basin is am permanent structure. The water connects the river basin to the surrounding area. Historical geology and climate both play important roles in the river basins. They tell of how it was formed, where it came from, and how we can use this place. The future is the more important then the past in this cause, but we can learn from the past. The future is what the space is going to be and how it will be used. ! Climate is very important also. It is also the most notable item in a landscape. Along with that the geology is the next important factor.

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Chapter 13: The Metropolitan Region ! This region of space is most populated region. Most of the people that live in cities, live in this area. That is why it is so important for this space to be comforting and respectful. However not many of these areas are connected back to nature. This causes many problems from the health of the metropolitan's citizens, to the disgracing look of an undeveloped city. ! The intent to nd a more natural and simplistic ideals cause humanity to move away nature itself. This has caused many problems from the exessive out put of carbon dioxide to us getting further and further from nature itself.! ! Some places are not suited for urbanization. For these areas it is some times suited to make into open space areas and national parks.

Chapter 14: Process and Form ! Man kind is a destructive force. They destroy forests to build their own desires but forget that they are not the only creatures living on this planet. Overall man kind is a negative force. However some unique designs do have positive effect on the environment. ! Elements are described in terms of form, nucleus and the shells of orbiting electrons; compounds are described by formal schema. The electron micrograph shows the modular geometry of the atoms, the crystalline form of giant molecules; the microscope can reveal the striking forms of snowakes crystals.

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Chapter 15: The City: Process and Form ! With a distinct emphasis on human cooperation and biological partnership in design, the author explores the relationship between the built environment and nature to illustrate how both can be used to their full potential without being detrimental or destructive to each other. Provides a combination of scientic insight and constructive design, and shows how to employ what nature offers to the fullest extent without imposing limitations or design constraints to create a balanced and self-renewing environment. ! Ian McHarg pioneered both a "logical" way to approach human enterprise within the natural world, and the analytic/presentation methodology which is now used by virtually all planners. At least the technicals aspects of the methodology are used; the real struggle to understand the principals behind prioritizing land use is still ongoing. ! If you're looking for some clear and easy to understand directions to help get us out of the mess we've made of our world, "Design With Nature" is a good place to start.

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Chapter 16: Health and Pathology ! Mans migration into the urban setting is both a great and an unfortunate things. With each generation man kind learns new and vital information about ourselves and our planet. ! Synthesis the space men to live is not a difcult thing to do. However to do it well and comfortably is difcult. When you do it however it is the greatest feeling in the world according to Ian. !

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Chapter 17: Prospect ! His father was a local minister in the industrial city of Glasgow. McHarg showed an early talent for drawing and was advised to consider a career in landscape architecture. His early experiences with the bifurcated landscapes of Scotland-- the smoky industrial urbanism of Glasgow and the sublimity of the surrounding environs-- had a profound inuence on his later thinking. ! As the rst-wave American environmental movement swept across American college campuses in the '60s and early '70s, McHarg became an important gure, linking a compelling personal presence and a powerful rhetoric with a direct and persuasive proposal for a new integration of human and natural environments. Through the 1960s and 1970s, his course was the most popular on the Penn campus, and he was often invited to speak on campuses throughout the country. ! In 1969, he published, Design with Nature, which was essentially a book of step-by-step instructions on how to break down a region into its appropriate uses (Wenz, 2). McHarg also was interested in garden design and believed that homes should be planned and designed with good private garden space. He promoted an ecological view, in which the designer becomes very familiar with the area through analysis of soil, climate, hydrology, etc.Design With Nature was the rst work of its kind "to dene the problems of modern development and present a methodology or process prescribing compatible solutions." The book also had an impact on a variety of elds and ideas. Frederick Steiner tells us that "environmental impact assessment, new community development, coastal zone management, brownelds restoration, zoo design, river corridor planning, and ideas about sustainability and regenerative design all display the inuence of Design with Nature. ! 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
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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." -Wikipedia - Ian McHarg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_McHarg

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