“Designing with Nature” in British Columbia to achieve “Settlement in Balance with Ecology”



Creating Our Future

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.

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.

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.


To Learn More:

To download a copy of the article posted on the Communities in Transition Information Resource,  click on Bowker Creek Forum advances a ‘regional team approach’ to achieving water sustainability in the Georgia Basin



Convening for Action in BC

“This story has its genesis in the mid-1990s when the coming together of a group of change agents in a UBCM focus group set in motion a chain of events that has reverberated through time,” explains Kim Stephens.

“The essence of the story, however, is about the importance of moving beyond talk to on-the-ground actions. On Vancouver Island, the Bowker Creek Blueprint is bringing new meaning in the Capital Regional District to the Ian McHarg vision for designing with nature.”

“Watershed restoration is a long-term commitment. The Bowker Creek Blueprint is all about stakeholders committing to a 100-Year Action Plan. The Blueprint is precedent-setting in vision and scope. It demonstrates that it is within our grasp to reverse past trends and, over time, to achieve settlement change in balance with ecology.”


To Learn More about the Bowker Creek Blueprint

A homepage has been established on the Convening for Action Community-of-Interest. To access a comprehensive set of articles that tell the story of the precedent-setting Bowker Creek Initiative, click on Bowker Creek Forum.

Major breakthroughs happen when decision makers in government work with grass-roots visionaries in the community to create desired outcomes. To access a set of five downloadable documents, click on Bowker Creek Blueprint: Water Bucket stories profile precedent-setting initiative for urban watershed restoration in the Georgia Basin.



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.

Design with nature by ian mcharg - cover (160p)

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