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Book : Design with Nature

Author : Ian McHarg

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Publisher : Wiley

First Edition 1995

 

In order to understand a book, it is imperative to
understand the author first. Ian McHarg was a Scottish landscape architect and
writer on regional planning using natural systems. He pioneered the concept of
ecological planning which he has elaborated in the book. He was also promoter
of an ecological view in which the designer becomes familiar through analysis
of regional parameters like soil,climate,etc.

In this book, McHarg spelled out the need for urban planners
to consider an environmentally conscious approach to land use and provided a
new method for its evaluation and implementation. The crux of this book is a
stepwise solution to breaking down a region to its appropriate uses. The books
illustrates his ideas by giving examples for every case he raises. All of his narrative
units are described as individual chapters, which helps bring a sense of
attachment with the author himself. Some fascinating chapters are explains
further. In the first chapter, he focuses on the city and countryside. He
represents his thoughts as two roads-one towards city and the other towards the
countryside. He expresses that the nature should be a part of the city like in
the countryside. It is of utmost importance that both man and nature should
exist as co-tenants in this universe. For him, seeing the city and countryside
as different entities is not the way forward. In Sea and survival, he explains
the paradoxical phenomenon of treatment of natural resources in different parts
of the globe like dune grass. He explains that sea shore environment adversely
affects the plant growth causing major ecological threats. He cites the example
that beach mining has caused erosion problems along the coast lines. In Response
to values, the author explains that natural phenomenon are dynamic processes
responsive to certain laws. These laws offer both opportunities and limitations
to humans, and hence, must be evaluated. The evaluation can be achieved by testing
the land capacity with an existing site.

We can summarize the book as an informative, practical,
scientific and inspiring view on the relationship between earth and humans. In
spite of being written few decades back, the points in the book still hold true
for developing country like ours which is still undergoing a phase. The book
provides a blueprint for a more harmonic relationship between the artificial environment
and the natural one.

 

 

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