A Quest for Life : An Autobiography

A Quest for Life : An AutobiographyAuthor(s): Ian L. McHarg, Stewart L. Udall

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0471086282

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A Quest for Life : An Autobiography (Wiley Series in Sustainable Design)

Hardcover
Publication date: April 1996

n the foreword to this thoroughly enjoyable book, Stewart Udall, President Kennedy’s secretary of the interior, describes McHarg as a person who “developed an holistic method of ecological planning that has made possible a crucial change in the way environmental decisions are made.” McHarg did this and more. His first book, Design with Nature, helped create the field of ecological planning and is still in print 30 years later. The present volume is the autobiography of a most extraordinary and productive man. Many of McHarg’s projects are well known, for example, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Battery Park in New York City; all demonstrate that development can be integrated successfully with aesthetics and environmental concern while improving quality of life. Beyond describing his award-winning projects, McHarg recounts his own growth and development, which mirrors that of the discipline he gave life to. Many of the anecdotes related in this humorous and often scathing book demonstrate why McHarg has been described as “hyperbolic” and “belligerent.” The only shortcoming: the reader is left with the sense that McHarg believes he has neither made a misstep nor misspoken in his illustrious career.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Description

“Show me any civilization that believes that reality exists only because man can perceive it, that the cosmos was erected to support man on its pinnacle, that man is exclusively divine, and then I will predict the nature of his cities and its landscapes, the hot dog stands, the neon shill, the ticky-tacky houses, the sterile core, the mined and ravaged countryside. This is the image of anthropocentric man. He seeks not unity with nature but conquest, yet unity he finds, when his arrogance and ignorance are stilled and he lies dead under the greensward.” Ian L. McHarg Multiply and Subdue the Earth, 1969

“No living American has done more to usher the gentle science of ecology out of oblivion and into mainstream thought than Ian McHarg—a teacher, philosopher, designer, and activist who changed the way we view and shape our environment.” From the foreword by Stewart L. Udall

Published in cooperation with the Center for American Places, Harrisonburg, Virginia

A Quest for Life is the autobiography of a man who stands alongside Rachel Carson, Lewis Mumford, and Aldo Leopold as one of the giants of the environmental movement. In a robust and singular voice, Ian McHarg recounts the story of a life that has foreshadowed and eventually shaped environmental consciousness in the twentieth century. Along the way we meet prominent figures in the environmental movement, the design fields, and the government, from Walter Gropius to Lady Bird Johnson, all presented in rich and telling anecdotes.

Early in A Quest for Life McHarg presents us with an arresting image. Describing the view from his boyhood home on the outskirts of Glasgow, he tells us that in one direction he could see the industrial miasma of smokestacks, tenements, and treeless streets, and, in another, the glories of the Scottish countryside. “I was born and bred,” he writes, “on a fulcrum with two poles, city and countryside.” Confronted with such a stark contrast, the man who was to become “the founder of ecological planning” began at an early age to turn literally from inhumane urban development and toward the beauty and power of Nature.

Each chapter of this book illuminates key stages in McHarg’s life and in the evolution of his environmental awareness. We see him as a youth standing on a hillside beside the impressive Donald Wintersgill who, with the wave of his cane, lays out an entire village complete with lakes and forests, and thus introduces the astonished McHarg to the profession of landscape architecture.

In some of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War he witnesses the magnitude of human destructive capability. Later, when he faces a crisis of conscience over his religious training and its exhortation to gain dominion over life and subdue the earth, he begins to develop a deep spiritual appreciation for the sanctity of Nature itself. His training as a designer and planner in the Modernist Bauhaus tradition, with its neglect of the environment; his bouts with tuberculosis that showed him the link between public health and city planning; his famous “Man—The Planetary Disease” speech before powerful industrialists—all stand as emblematic of battles that are still being fought today.

A Quest for Life also chronicles the many triumphs in McHarg’s career. It offers fresh insight into the revolutionary design method behind his groundbreaking book, Design with Nature, and explores the development of geographical information systems. We learn firsthand about his work on the celebrated regional plans for Denver and the Twin Cities, as well as the Woodlands new town project. His most enduring contribution, however, may prove to be his four decades of teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. Through the generations of landscape architects, designers, and planners he taught there, his influence has spread around the world and into the future.

As the compelling, first-person story of a remarkable individual who not only manned the barricades against environmental destruction, but helped lay the foundation for the barricades themselves, A Quest for Life is must reading for landscape architects, designers, conservationists, planners, and others concerned with the preservation of our communities and the natural environment.

Customer Comments
rating=10:
The life of the founder of ecological design, a great read!

Ian McHarg is the founder of the field of environmental design, a branch of or approach to Landscape Architecture. His book “Design With Nature” opened the eyes of a generation of planners and architects to the possibilities of environmentally sane design and planning. McHarg’s autobiography makes a wonderful read for anyone who read and loved “Design With Nature”. And is is a first class read! He has never been a man who pulled his punches, and this book is full of hilarious stories of his run-ins with the establishment. I loved it!

Design with Nature

Design with NatureAuthor(s): Ian L. McHarg

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Paperback: 208 pages

ISBN: 047111460X

ISBN-13: 978-0471114604

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Publication date: February 1995

Synopsis: The first book to describe an ecologically sound approach to the planning and design of communities, Design with Nature has done much over the past 25 years to shape public environmental policy. This paperback edition makes this classic accessible to a wider audience than ever before. Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 color photos and line drawings.

From Library Journal

LJ’s reviewer boldly contended that this “may well be one of the most important books of the century.” Blending philosophy and science, McHarg shows how humans can copy nature’s examples to design and build better structures. This 25th anniversary edition includes a new introduction and epilog. This remains “a pleasure to read” (LJ 10/1/69).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Description

“In presenting us with a vision of organic exuberance and human delight, which ecology and ecological design promise to open up for us, McHarg revives the hope for a better world.” –Lewis Mumford”. . . important to America and all the rest of the world in our struggle to design rational, wholesome, and productive landscapes.” –Laurie Olin, Hanna Olin, Ltd.

“This century’s most influential landscape architecture book.” –Landscape Architecture

“. . . an enduring contribution to the technical literature of landscape planning and to that unfortunately small collection of writings which speak with emotional eloquence of the importance of ecological principles in regional planning.” –Landscape and Urban Planning

In the twenty-five years since it first took the academic world by storm, Design With Nature has done much to redefine the fields of landscape architecture, urban and regional planning, and ecological design. It has also left a permanent mark on the ongoing discussion of mankind’s place in nature and nature’s place in mankind within the physical sciences and humanities. Described by one enthusiastic reviewer as a “user’s manual for our world,” Design With Nature offers a practical blueprint for a new, healthier relationship between the built environment and nature. In so doing, it provides nothing less than the scientific, technical, and philosophical foundations for a mature civilization that will, as Lewis Mumford ecstatically put it in his Introduction to the 1969 edition, “replace the polluted, bulldozed, machine-dominated, dehumanized, explosion-threatened world that is even now disintegrating and disappearing before our eyes.”

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (Conservation Classics)

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (Conservation Classics)

Author(s): J. Russell Smith

Publisher: Devin-Adair Pub

Paperback: 422 pages

ISBN: 0933280440

ISBN-13: 978-0933280441

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Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (Conservation Classics)

This is an amazing book! Published in 1950, it is the second, enlarged edition of a book originally written in, I think, 1939. It reflects a lifetime of research around the world and personal trials on the author’s farm in Virginia on the uses of tree crops for animal and human food. It anticipates the permaculture literature in advocating a “two-storey” agriculture, with tree crops (primarily nuts) as the primary source of animal fodder on sloping and hilly land. It documents the incredible productivity of tree crops and their traditional uses as fodder for pigs, goats, cattle, and poultry. I was particularly struck by the evidence from southern Europe, where extensive chestnut forests produce(d) some of the finest pork in the region. But there is evidence from around the globe, attesting to not only the uses of tree crops but their potential for breeding to build on that potential.

Following up on Smith’s advice, I went to my local garden shop recently to inquire about honey locusts. Oh yes, I was told, we sold quite a few to the city as shade trees. No, no, I said, I want a messy variety, one that drops bushels of pods. She looked it up. Apparently the breeders have indeed been at work since Smith wrote — eliminating the seeds from a tree that could provide nutritious feed to replace the corn and soy beans whose production has been ravishing the planet for decades! The book should be in every permaculturalist’s library but in every rural public library, as well, and regularly taught in our terrible agricultural colleges.

–Michael Foley

Introduction to Permaculture

Introduction to Permaculture

Author(s): Bill Mollison, Reny Mia Slay

Publisher: Ten Speed

ISBN: 0908228082

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Revised Paperback, 224 pages

This is a great introduction and overview of permaculture concepts. The book covers a lot of material for initiates to permaculture. It’s sets the foundation for further reading and studies for those who want to get serious though one could take the principles learned just from this book alone and be quite successful in my opinion. You learn how the sun, wind and rain, all play an important role in siting structures like homes, sheds, barns, green and shade houses and also in garden and plant selection and placement. The book also covers designing for temperate, tropical and dry-land environments. It explains how interconnected relationships between the land, climate, soils, water, structures, flora and fauna can be fostered to the benefit of all. There are just so many creative ideas and diagrams in this book that it is worth it for those alone. The book is 8 1/4 X 11 inches with small print that fills the pages with valuable information. I want to live in the sub-tropics of Hawaii and enjoyed the coverage in this regard but, the book also left me day dreaming about living the permaculture lifestyle in other areas like the High Desert of New Mexico and the Pacific Northwest of Oregon. This book touches on all the possibilities, from the home garden with a few animals to commercial orchards, forests, animal farms, aquaculture, urban gardens and more. But don’t get me wrong, it does not cover these topics in depth, it gives a thorough introduction to these topics and an understanding that one would likely not gain by reading just one book. Also each chapter ends with a list of references for further reading. In addition there are appendices listing useful permaculture plants, such as nitrogen fixing plants. One appendix even breaks it down into useful categories, such as fruit plants and trees for temperate, topical/sub-tropical and dry areas,pest control plants and finally appendices which list hundreds of the plants mentioned in the text by common, Latin, and by species names. The book ends with a glossary of key terms used in the book and few pages about Bill Mollison (One of the founders of permaculture) and the permaculture institute including info on their 72 hour PC Design Certificate Course.

The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming

The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming

Author: Masanobu Fukuoka

Paperback: 200 pages

Publisher: NYRB Classics (June 2, 2009)

ISBN-10: 1590173139

ISBN-13: 978-1590173138

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The One-Straw Revolution is one of the founding documents of the alternative food movement, and indispensable to anyone hoping to understand the future of food and agriculture.”—Michael Pollan
“Only the ignorant could write off Fukuoka, who died two years ago at the age of 95, as a deluded or nostalgic dreamer…Fukuoka developed ideas that went against the conventional grain….Long before the American Michael Pollan, he was making the connections between intensive agriculture, unhealthy eating habits and a whole destructive economy based on oil.” –Harry Eyres, The Financial Times

“Fukuoka’s do-nothing approach to farming is not only revolutionary in terms of growing food, but it is also applicable to other aspects of living, (creativity, child-rearing, activism, career, etc.) His holistic message is needed now more than ever as we search for new ways of approaching the environment, our community and life. It is time for us all to join his ‘non-movement.'”—Keri Smith author of How to be an Explorer of the World

 

“Japan’s most celebrated alternative farmer…Fukuoka’s vision offers a beacon, a goal, an ideal to strive for.” —Tom Philpott, Grist

 

The One-Straw Revolution shows the critical role of locally based agroecological knowledge in developing sustainable farming systems.” —Sustainable Architecture

 

“With no ploughing, weeding, fertilizers, external compost, pruning or chemicals, his minimalist approach reduces labour time to a fifth of more conventional practices. Yet his success in yields is comparable to more resource-intensive methods…The method is now being widely adopted to vegetate arid areas. His books, such as The One-Straw Revolution, have been inspirational to cultivators the world over.” —New Internationalist

Product Description

Call it “Zen and the Art of Farming” or a “Little Green Book,” Masanobu Fukuoka’s manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book “is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. It is an inspiring, necessary book about agriculture because it is not just about agriculture.”

Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural practice, deciding instead that the best forms of cultivation mirror nature’s own laws. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called “do-nothing” technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort.

Whether you’re a guerrilla gardener or a kitchen gardener, dedicated to slow food or simply looking to live a healthier life, you will find something here—you may even be moved to start a revolution of your own.

Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual

Permaculture: A Designers' Manual

Author(s): Bill Mollison

Publisher: Ten Speed

ISBN: 0908228015

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For those of us searching for an ecologically responsible lifestyle amid urban and suburban insanity, Bill Mollison has a real and exciting answer. This book is full of helpful advice presented in a very readable way. (The only problem might be getting stuck in the chapters on climates that don’t concern you; just skip them until later!) The groundwork philosophy of permaculture is laid first, and the book moves from there to the practical business of actually designing one. The emphasis is on letting various plant and animal species work together as much as possible, to form a basically self-sustaining system from which people can reap a continual harvest, not only of food, but of interest and self-respect. What a prospect! It is certainly a very different one from what we young people have been taught to expect from life! This volume is much more complete in both the philosophy and the practice than were the original “Permaculture One” and “Permaculture Two.” It is also much less focused on the Southern Hemisphere, which is helpful for North Americans trying to visualize their own permaculture. I can only hope that more people happen upon this book as I did and are themselves inspired to create a fulfilling life for themselves and their children.

— Wendell Berry

This is the permaculture bible, written by the great guru of permaculture. Site design issues are interwoven throughout the text.

 

Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development

Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development

Author(s): John Tillman Lyle

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0471555827

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Landscape Architecture

Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development Winner, 1994 Merit Award for Communications, American Society of Landscape Architects

“Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development is nothing less than a user’s manual for planet Earth that integrates the principles of ecological design with practical realities better than anything I’ve read. John Lyle has written the best book now available on the theory and practice of sustainability . . . essential reading for natural resource professionals, architects, planners, educators, environmentalists, and the general public.” –David W. Orr, Professor and Chair Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College.

“John Lyle has written a splendid book, Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development. It is perfectly topical; it is committed to the unity of art and science, design and planning, man and nature. It is itself exemplary, and it is a repository of exemplary adaptations. It has carried the environmental movement to a new threshold of ecological planning and design. It should be widely read and employed.” –Ian L. McHarg, FASLA.

“In these times of widespread urban stress and regional disruption, the cogent thoughts of John Tillman Lyle on sustainable cities are on target and highly constructive. They are must reading for planning professionals and all concerned citizens.” –John Ormsbee Simonds, FASLA.

“More designers need to broaden their horizons in the way John Lyle has put forth in this book. In general, there are far too few land planners, landscape architects, or architects who have any working procedure that approximates what sustainable design entails. This book provides important historical background and contemporary experience to help guide the way.”–Pliny Fisk III, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems.

From the despoliation of our rivers and lakes by industrial runoff to the destruction of our atmosphere by sulphur emissions and CFCs, production cycles based on a one-way flow of materials and energy have pushed us to the brink of environmental collapse. It is time for a change, and in this groundbreaking book, John Tillman Lyle offers us a blueprint for implementing that change.

This book provides civil engineers, architects, land development planners, and others with practical, realistic approaches to reversing this deadly course. Throughout, the emphasis is on proven regenerative practices for water use, land use, energy use, and building design. Most importantly, it provides ways to reestablish connections between people and nature, between art and science, and between technology and daily life.

From the Publisher

200 years of global industrialization have brought the Earth to the brink of environmental crisis. One of the most respected figures in environmental design presents methods for reversing past trends in practical and realistic ways. Describes a broad sampling of practices and technologies that are inherently self-renewing along with examples which demonstrate how they have been applied through carefully conceived design in various situations. Explores the roles of regenerative design in social, physical, and political contexts.

Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture

Earth User's Guide to Permaculture

Author(s): Rosemary Morrow, Rob Allsop (Illustrator)

Publisher: Seven Hills Book Distributors

Paperback: 144 pages

ISBN: 0864175140

ISBN-13: 978-0864175144

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The principle for permaculture is simple: provide back to the earth what we take from it to create a sustainable environment. The three principle aims are: Care for people; Care for the earth; and Redistributing everything surplus to one’s needs.

This completely revised and updated edition of Rosemary Morrow’s highly successful Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture is a straight-forward manual of practical permaculture. Fundamentally, permaculture is design science and in this new edition design is emphasised. This book will be most beneficial if you apply it to the space where you live and work. The same principles apply for becoming more sustainable and living lightly whether you live in a small city apartment with a balcony, in a house with a garden in the suburbs, or on acreage in the country.Included in this new edition are chapters on seed-saving, permaculture at work, integrated pest management, information about domestic as well as rural water usage, a non-destructive approach towards dealing with weeds and wildlife, and designing to withstand a disaster.Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture is suitable for beginners as well as experienced permaculture practitioners looking for new ideas in moving towards greater self-reliance and sustainable living.

Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction

Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction

Author(s): Theodore Osmundson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (November 1997)

Hardcover: 320 pages

ISBN: 0393730123

ISBN-13: 978-0393730128

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Sometimes called “green roofs” by promoters of sustainable architecture, roof gardens have stimulated much discussion among architects and urban planners. A great many roof gardens, from intimate private enclaves to enormous public spaces have been built in the last fifty years. But there has been little formal research into the systems that support successful roof gardens, the technical requirements of a long-lived, healthy roof garden — nor about the costly failures that can result when such requirements are ignored.

In the first comprehensive study published in English, respected landscape architect Theodore Osmundson provides the practical information professionals need to be able to include well-designed and well-constructed roof gardens in their projects. Roof Gardens covers site considerations, construction, design elements, and maintenance, as well as useful data and sources of supply and information. It presents a wealth of material, including typical sections and details of raised planters, walls, paving, drainage and lighting. It also discusses planting soils and root-proofing. New construction techniques — largely unknown in the United States are also reviewed.

In addition, Roof Gardens offers a richly illustrated tour of roof gardens around the world and through history.

“This should become the guidebook on the subject of roof gardens, acquired by every landscape architect employed in the task of greening cities and buildings.”-Ian McHarg, FASLA

“This long-awaited treatise on rooftop landscape architecture is . . . an authoritative work . . . a practical, creative, and stimulating book that is bound to make a difference.”-John Ormsbee Simonds, FASLA

1999, 320 pages, 100 in color, Hardcover

Conservation Design for Subdivisions

Conservation Design for Subdivisions

Author(s): Randall G. Arendt

ISBN: I559634898

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This practical handbook explores better ways of designing new residential developments. Site designers, developers, land-use planners and landowners will learn how to implement new ideas about land-use planning and environmental protection. Abundantly illustrated with site plans (many in color), floor plans, photographs and simple renditions of houses and landscapes, it describes a series of simple and straight-forward techniques that allow for land-conserving development.

The book proposes a step-by-step approach to conserving natural areas by rearranging density on each development parcel as it is being planned so that no more than half of the buildable land is dedicated to houselots and streets. Homes are built in a less land-consumptive manner, so the balance of property can be permanently protected. These areas are to become an interconnected network of green spaces and green corridors. Included in the book are model zoning and subdivision ordinance provisions that can help citizens and local officials implement these innovative designs. 160 pages. 1996

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