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!

To Heal the Earth: Selected Writings Of Ian L. McHarg

To Heal the Earth: Selected Writings Of Ian L. McHarg

Author(s): Ian L. McHarg, Friederick R. Steiner, Robert D. Yaro

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 1559635738

ISBN-13: 978-1559635738

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To Heal the Earth: Selected Writings of Ian McHarg

Hardcover, 310 pages
Publication date: June 1998

Ian L. McHarg’s landmark book Design with Nature changed the face of landscape architecture and planning by promoting the idea that the design of human settlements should be based on ecological principles. McHarg was one of the earliest and most influential proponents of the notion that an understanding of the processes that form landscapes should underlie design decisions.

In To Heal the Earth, McHarg has joined with Frederick Steiner, a noted scholar of landscape architecture and planning, to bring forth a valuable cache of his writings produced between the 1950s and the 1990s. McHarg and Steiner have each provided original material that links the writings together, and places them within the historical context of planning design work and within the larger field of ecological planning as practiced today.

The book moves from the theoretical-beginning with the 1962 essay “Man and Environment” which sets forth the themes of religion, science, and creativity that emerge and reappear throughout McHarg’s work-to the practical, including discussions of methods and techniques for ecological planning as well as case studies. Other sections address the link between ecology and design, and the issue of ecological planning at a regional scale, covering topics such as education and training necessary to develop the field of ecological planning, how to organize and arrange biophysical information to reveal landscape patterns, the importance of incorporating social factors into ecological planning, and more.

To Heal the Earth provides a larger framework and a new perspective on McHarg’s work that brings to light the growth and development of his key ideas over a forty year period. It is an important contribution to the literature, and will be essential reading for students and scholars of ecological planning, as well as for professional planners and landscape architects.

About the Author

Ian L. McHarg is professor emeritus and founding chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning in the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania.

Frederick R. Steiner is professor and founding director of the School of Planning and Landscape Architecture in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Arizona State University in Tempe.

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.”

Design Outlaws on the Ecological Frontier

Cover, Design Outlaws on the Ecological Frontier Author(s): Chris Zelov, Phil Cousineau and Brian Dantz

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

ISBN: 096503061X

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Paperback Publication date: April 1997

300 pages, 225 photos

Buckminster Fuller was a design outlaw. He shattered preconceived notions of how buildings and machines should be put together. The result was the geodesic dome, the 60 mile-per-gallon Dymaxion Car, the self-sufficient Dymaxion House and host of other inventions that influenced a new wave of designers. In making their award-winning film, Ecological Design, Chris Zelov and Phil Cousineau interviewed 26 present-day design outlaws. To expand on the film, they published this book. Both the film and the book are brimming with the ideas and prototypes of the trailblazers who have defined ecological design over the past thirty years.

Here’s a partial list of the outlaws: Brendan O’Reagan, Ian McHarg, Douglas Adams, John Todd, Jay Baldwin, Stewart Brand, Mary Catherine Bateson, Paul McCready, William McDonough, Amory and Hunter Lovins, Hazel Henderson, Pliny Fisk, Paolo Soleri, Christopher Alexander, John Connell and many more. These forward-thinking designers have defied convention with new ideas on shelter, energy, transportation and industry. In addition to being thought-provoking, these colorful characters are very entertaining.

Table of Contents

Chapter One:
Into the Fuller Universe
Thomas Hughes: The Frontier Spirit of Invention
Harold Cohen: Design as a Way of Making the World Work
Brendan O’Reagan: Outlaw Creativity
Douglas Adams: The Mad Ones; The Original Ones
John Todd: The Innovator’s Sense of Urgency
J. Baldwin: Encounters with the Mentor
Ian McHarg: Fuller’s Contribution
Paul MacCready: The Inventive Process

Chapter Two:
From a Machine for Living to Living Machines
Ian McHarg: Why is Architecture Oblivious to the Environment
James Wines: Towards a New Architecture
Edmund Bacon: Nature as Design Paradigm Stewart Brand: Sitting at the Counterculture
J. Baldwin: Into the Design Revolution
Tony Gwilliam: Organic Building
Mary Catherine Bateson: Understadning Natural Systems
William McDonough: Not a Machine for Living in – A Living Machine!

Chapter Three:
The Intelligent Use of Energy
Amory Lovins: The Road Least Taken
Hunter Lovins: The Rocky Mountain Institute
Peter Calthorpe: Whole-Systems Design
Hazel Henderson: Redefining Wealth
J. Baldwin: On Tools
Harold Cohen: Money is Money
William McDonough: Designing for Interdependance

Chapter Four:
The Galactic Explorer Perspective
Paul MacCready: The Galactic Explorer Comes to Visit
Brendan O’Reagan: Thinking in Interplanetary Terms
Pliny Fisk: Systems in Continuous Evolution
John Allen: The Cosmic Drama
Harold Cohen: Making the World Work for All Humanity
Duane Elgin: The Univeral Liturgy
John Todd: The New Alchemists
William McDonough: Reviving the Ancient Art of Design
James Wines: Developing a New Iconography

Chapter Five:
The Emergence of an Ecological Design Science
Ian McHarg: On the Origins of Ecological Design
Brendan O’Reagan: Heading for an Aesthetic of the Invisible
William McDonough: The Multiplier Effect in Design
Carol Franklin & Lesley Sauer: Synergistic Solutions
Tony Gwilliam: Comprehensive Anticipatory Design
Christopher Alexander: Design for Living Structures
Gail Vittori & Pliny Fisk: Obstacles to Sustainable Design
Mary Catherine Bateson: Making the Earth Our Home

Chapter Six:
The New Collective Dream
Paolo Soleri: Tranforming the Urban Condition
Tony Gwilliam: Integrated Architecture
Amory Lovins: Retrofitting Our Cities
Leslie Sauer & Carol Franklin: The Greening of the City
Christopher Alexander: The Living Structure Approach to Design
Mike Corbett: Why Can’t We Build Better Communities?
Virginia Thigpen: Community – Conceived Designs
Jaime Lerner: The Collective Dream

Chapter Seven:
Writing the New Codes
Peter Calthorpe: The History of the Codes
Douglas Adams: The Infinite Virtual Address
Duane Elgin: Mutually Assured Development
Paul MacCready: Education as an Odyssey of the Mind
James Wines: Design Education
Ian McHarg: Teaching the Ecological World View
Mike Corbett: Reinventing Design Education
Hazel Henderson: The Importance of Self-Education
William McDonough: a Shift from Style to Substance
Tom Casey: The Transformation of Business
J. Baldwin: Future Housing
Mary Catherine Bateson: A Future that Looks Like Home

Afterword: Toward a Design Curriculum for the 21st Century

Biography: R. Buckminster Fuller J. Baldwin: Teaching Comprehensive Design Science David Sellers: Antiques of the Future John Connel: Towards A Design Curriculum Anthony Walmsley: Ecological Design: Myth or Method

The Once and Future Forest: A Guide to Forest Restoration Strategies

The Once and Future Forest: A Guide To Forest Restoration Strategies

Author(s): Leslie Jones Sauer, Ian McHarg

Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (February 1, 1998)

Paperback: 400 pages

ISBN: 1559635533

ISBN-13: 978-1559635530

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Developed by the landscape design firm of Andropogon Associates, world-renowned for their innovative approach to integrating environmental protection and restoration with landscape architecture and design, The Once and Future Forest is a guidebook for restoring and managing natural landscapes. Focusing on remnant forest systems, it describes methods of restoring and linking forest fragments to re-create a whole landscape fabric.