chapter  1
17 Pages

Design with Nature

Promises and Pitfalls
WithIgnacio F. Bunster-Ossa

Fitness is the ultimate aim of Design with Nature, the path toward environmental health and beauty. Ian McHarg based the truth of this thesis on the multifarious ways in which organisms adapt in the struggle for survival and the resulting correlation between natural form and ecological function. Listening to McHarg speak about fitness could be a revelatory experience. Three vital arguments spewed forth. First, that the process of planning and design was deterministic, one that was based on factual information leading to defensible conclusions. Second, the concept of ecological health applied seamlessly to all scales of inquiry, from the region to the specific site. And third, that addressing fitness required the expertise of multiple disciplines–of designers, planners, and scientists alike, the latter providing the requisite exactitude in pursuit of fact and defensibility. McHarg was well convinced that the understanding of ecological process had as much relevance to the planning of cities as it did to the hinterland.