"Design with Nature" philosophy guides Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia
Desired Outcome is Settlement Change in Balance with Ecology
The ‘design with nature’ paradigm is borrowed from the seminal book by Ian McHarg because it captures the essence of climate change adaptation. Adaptation is about responding to the changes that will inevitably occur. Adaptation is at the community level and is therefore about collaboration.
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.
“Since 2004, the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia has championed the way-of-thinking and acting embodied in the phrase ‘design with nature’. We borrowed this phrase from the book title. In this way, we believe we are doing our part to extend Ian McHarg’s vision and legacy,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director for the Partnership for Water Sustainabilitiy in BC.
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