“Design with Nature” philosophy guides Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia

Desired outcome is to achieve “Settlement in Balance with Ecology” as communities develop and re-develop

A request for a story about the Bowker Creek Forum from Hans Peter Meyer (editor of the Communities in Transition Information Resource), was the trigger for preparing an historical retrospective on why ‘design with nature’ has become an integral and essential part of the green infrastructure and water sustainability branding in British Columbia.

Design with Nature

The outcome was a document titled “Design with Nature” philosophy guides Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia. Written by Kim Stephens, this story identifies a number of British Columbians who have made timely and significant contributions in advancing a vision for developing land differently. The ‘design with nature’ story is told in their words.

Kim stephens - 2008 (120p)“To understand where we are heading, we need to understand where we have come from. Historical context is important,” states Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

“Since 2004, the Action Plan has championed the way-of-thinking and acting embodied in the phrase ‘design with nature’. We borrowed this phrase from the title of the seminal book by Ian McHarg.

About Ian McHarg

Ian McHarg was a renowned landscape architect and writer on regional planning using natural systems. His 1969 book Design with Nature pioneered the concept of ecological planning. His premise is simple: “that the shaping of land for human use ought to be based on an understanding of natural process.”

His philosophy was rooted 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.

Ian 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 this book, he set forth basic concepts that were to develop later in Geographic Information Systems.


Posted March 2010