Urban Design MethodologiesTitle Design with Nature Book review by:Author Ian L. McHarg Anjith AugustinePublisher San Val, Incorporated, 1995 Vineeth GISBN 0613923332, 9780613923330 Nirmal Mathew
Catch words of today’s world… Go green.. Environmental friendly… green city.. Platinum rating.. Recyle.. Re use… reduce.... organic… griha.. Environmental issues..
Biography Born near the gritty, industrial Scottish city of Glasgow After soldiering in World War Two McHarg, returned home and determined what to do with the rest of his life. McHarg decided on landscape architecture, an academic discipline and profession he knew nothing about. Attended Harvard University, where he picked up degrees in landscape architecture and city planning. Published his landmark book, Design With Nature, in 1969. In it, McHarg spelled out the need for urban planners to consider an environmentally conscious approach to land use, and provided a new method forPIONEER OF THE evaluating and implementing it.ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT Founded the firm of Wallace and Charg associates, later Wallace McHarg Roberts & Todd (WMRT) which is known for its central role in the development of the American environmental planning and urbanism movements.
McHargian," in ecological design circles, means following McHargs now classic methods of landscape analysis in the planning of human settlements. The book in his words shows the future designer, on how to break down a region into its appropriate uses. Pointing out that we build where we should farm, cut forests where we should grow them, and design forms where we should follow natures morphologies, mcharg makes clear and comprehensible recommendations for reversing the destructive process of development.Iconoclast
Context of the book SettingCity beautiful movement- followed by theworld war evoked rapid urbanization inAmerica.Suburban sprawl was happening at a largepace.City needed to meet the demands, laid downplans of linkages cutting across.1950s and 1960s, the nascent Americaninterstate highway system began to spread itstentacles around ever-increasing swaths ofland.Highway planners and subdividers focusedalmost exclusively on narrow cost-benefit andefficiency considerations in choosing how toimplement their ideas.This approach had a negative impact on thenature as it followed a straight line methodrather than a analytical way.
Ideologies which led to the writing.. Man has been studied in isolation without nature.Design with Nature had its roots in much Hippodamus’s was the first attempt toearlier landscape architecture philosophies link nature to diseases. Mcharg was Critical of the French baroque lack of a method to quantify and displaystyle of garden design and full praise for the information about the naturalEnglish picturesque style of garden design. environment in any meaningful way.Fully and intelligently designed humanenvironments in concert with the conditions ofsetting, climate and environment. Form must follow more than just function; itmust also respect the natural environment inwhich it is placed. Fairly obvious concept inthe twenty-first century, in the late 1960s thiswas cutting-edge thoughtArrogant and destructive heritage of urban-industrial modernity, a style he described as"Dominate and Destroy."
Narrative unitsMcHarg has adopted a self narrated story method, based on his experiences and ideologiesto present his book rather than a text book way of writing things. This in particular brings acontinuity to the matter and a sense of attachment with the author himself. • City and countryside • Sea and survival • The Plight • A step forward • The cast and the capsule • Nature in the metropolis • On values • A response of values • The world is a capsule • Processes as values • The naturalists • The river basin • The metropolitan region • Process and form • The city-process and form • The city-health and pathology • Prospects
City and countrysideAuthor as a metaphor represents his thoughts as two roads- one to the city and other tothe country side-both has got its values.For him seeing city and countryside as separate entities doesn’t stand.Eyes do not divide us from the world but unite us with it.
Sea and SurvivalThe paradox of treatment of natural resources in different parts of the globe,like in the example of dune grass – which is very valuable in Netherlands butthey are not even recognizable in the entire eastern seaboard as a valuablething.ProblemsVariations in the sea shore environments badly affects the plant growth of thearea causing major ecological threats to the bay shore itself.The distribution and the land formation of sea sideOcean Beach Primary Dune Trough Secondary Dune Back Dune Bay Shore
Sea and SurvivalThe paradox of treatment of natural resourcesin different parts of the globe, like in theexample of dune grass – which is very valuablein Netherlands but they are not evenrecognizable in the entire eastern seaboard as avaluable thing.ProblemsVariations in the sea shore environments badlyaffects the plant growth of the area causingmajor ecological threats to the bay shore itself.
The world’s beaches are being mined for sand for a variety of uses. This theft of beach and dune sand is a direct cause of erosion along many shorelines. It is very damaging to the beach fauna and flora, ruinous to beach aesthetics, and frequentlyINDIAN CONTEXT causes environmental damage to other coastal ecosystems associated with the beach such as wetlands. This is even carries out in Kerala beach shores Another coastal destruction Of Mangrove forests- causing major environmental threats to the surroundings
PlightAuthor express his anxiety that man hasforgotten countryside.According to him city has both stress andstimuli. But it comes with the attraction ofsuccess.Countryside’s surround the cities not becausewe used land wisely but these places are moreresistant to changeOur success is based on GDP which measuresmoney, which itself is discuss short term future.Commercialization has caused the death ofinnovation in terms of rail road… by using it forprofit making.Religious references… Judaism- power over naturemonotheism- rejection of natureJapanese relation to nature- Tao Shinto ZenBeing an organist without knowing nature isstupid.
INDIAN CONTEXT Protest against land acquisition-NCR Urban villages- a resistance from within Protest against retail markets
A Step forwardHighway is a major public investment which affects the economy, the way of life,health and visual experience. So it should be properly located and designed.An improved method is needed to incorporate resource values , social values andaesthetic values than the conventional cost benefit analysis.Shortest distance between two points meeting the pre determined geometricstandards is not he best route for highways.The best route is the one that provides maximum social benefit at the least socialcost.
The Cast and the CapsuleThe world works within a harmoniousrelationship between the nature and the men.So its all over starts from the chloroplast of theleaves which transfers sun light into substanceswhich supports the whole life of the globe.Thus all animals and all men are plant parasites.It is the plant that colonized the land and thuspermitted the evolution from the sea ofamphibians , reptiles, mammals and man.This realization of the dependency to the naturewas actually the breaking up of anthropocentrismMen we depend upon sun, the majorelements(4elements), the chloroplast and thedecomposers.
INDIAN CONTEXT Local village settlements, north Gujarat- Adaptive to nature City developments focuses mainly on the motor cars.
Nature in the metropolisNature can be understood as an interactive process, respondingto laws, constituting to a value system, offering intrinsicopportunities and limitations to human uses.Need to regulate construction on flood plains, earthquake proneareas. They account to large free spaces to be potential publicplaces.Developer way of looking. Opens space per person!But nature is intrinsically variable.Planner perspective- green encircle the city. But it doesntinclude the greens within the city.Nature is a complex closely related network where each unitconstitutes and becomes part of the whole.City grows by densifying within and expanding. Thus reducingopen spaces though there is plenty of open spaces.Infusion of open space structure and urban developmentrequired.
Step area- land above 12 % slope no agriculture no constructionPrime agricultural land- fertile land yet cannot compete with the developers land value.Forest an woodlands- natural capability to create micro climates.Knowing the nature to such minute details that interventions can be carefully knit.
Mapping all factors of hydrology and geology to recommend land uses efficiently.
Move out main industries polluting air from the identified wind paths from countryside.Air inversions is the reason for polluted air not moving out..In air sheds, no industry needs to be protected.Such considerations on a broader level defines city open spaces.Natural processes are unitary but human interventions are fragmented and incremental. Theyadd on to create greater impact on the nature.Impact on part of natural system disturbs the whole and hence need to have a holistic approach.
INDIAN CONTEXT Pragati power station Use of potential recreational spaces Industrial establishments at critical junctures (flood plains) to development sites can affect the atmosphere of a city. Potential greens where our cities Decreased rice crops due to air pollution forcefully doesn’t look into.
INDIAN CONTEXT A developer way of marketing open spaces is the new trend rather than large public open spaces Delhi as a city is densifying and expanding… thus creating a need for more open spaces.
On valuesThe Cultural attitude towards the land from the historic timeto the present phase.There are 4 distinct divisions – each has national associationsThe first explorations in the 16th century towards the humanistexpression of man and nature- renaissance humanism in Italy.Assumption of power by man- Superiority on NatureSecond occurred a century later. At the time of earliest colonialsettlements- Set up in FranceMan and his supremacy over a base and subject nature.Eg: VersaillesEnglish garden came into being in the 18th century. Decorativeand tractable plants were arranged in simple geometry. Herethe ornamental qualities of the plant are paramount, butwithout any ecological concepts.During the change in the migration of power-in England – in thethird phase- beginning of a new view. Believing that some unityamong man and nature was possible.
INDIAN CONTEXT Taj Mahal – Mughal Garden- Agra India Gate
A response to valuesNatural phenomenon are dynamic interacting processresponsive to laws offering opportunities and limitationsto human use. So they have to be evaluated – each area has asuitability towards certain functions. But for that we haveto find the land capacity first. By testing it with an existingsite. Baltimore- 1800’s
World is a capsuleAstronaut prepares for 2 years.. Learn toenjoy nature .. His inspiration is survival… helearns the living process… all to sustain hisliving within the capsule. Same is the casewith us. It is time for us to understand thenature, not only because it is matter ofsurvival, but also enjoy our being.To do an act relating to site, it is important tounderstand the story and the actors of theplay, the nature.Producers, consumers and decomposersforming the primary structure of the ecosystem is played with to create self sustainedcapsule. This involves a deeper understandingof the natural eco system its influences andfactors. What the experiment realized wasthe presence of man as a mere element inthis whole process, rather than thedestructive role which we play in our presentenvironment.
The astronaut experiment he eventuallyunderstands his role as a part of naturalprocess. He who in the beginning wasgoing to see the world as a image for thefirst time understood the presence ofmany worlds and galaxies and thedriving factors.Farm more sustained than a city. Bell jarexperiment where you keep it on a farmand city, realizing that city chokes andthe farm survives.Earth is a creative process, where manhas a unique creative role, that allphysical and living processes arearresting their energy on its path toentropy, and while doing so is creating aself perpetuating and evolving system.Man shares this process.. With hishistory. He is in this world with hisindispensible partners of survival andcreation. CITY CHOKES
Processes as valuesIdeal is never a choice of either/ or but combination of both.Every caged animal however trained it is at the end of the day likes to adapt to its naturalsetting. Same is the case with us.The land use which we adopt doesn’t confine to the right way of assigning uses, since webuild where we shouldn’t at all.Recognition of social values embedded in natural process should precede building process.Project feasibility study for Staten island, new york highway shows McHarg’s way of studyingthese factors to respond to design.
Staten Island, New York Highway-Feasibility StudyProcess • Identifying influential factors climate • Categorizing under general heads wildlife hydrology • Impact study • Represented in various tones of Study intensity depending on impact • Overlaying all these features to Land use area physiography have a wholesome idea of the setting and do appropriate interventions soils geology
Recreational areas Urbanization areasConservation, Recreation & Urbanization are three factors which wehave to look into broadly.Hence all studies is subdivided under these categories to produce amap of each factor.
Conservation areasDifferent features like historic value, social value, geological featuresnatural habitats etc. are mapped.Later they are classified under common heads of similar natureFurther all these data is combined to get the final overlay plan.
Overlay plan Legend conservation recreation urbanization Land use Existing land use colors where used An overlay of all three maps gives us required information and data to proceed with design in a more informative way.Grades to denote the intensity of factor
Endless possibilities by adopting this techniqueNot necessarily a negation of existing land usebut throws open possibilities to the newdevelopmentDevelopers availing these plans have a greaterperspective of their development.Mixed land use can be developed by taking upoverlapping shades.More socially and environmentally responsivedesignsInclusive rather than exclusive planning can takeplace using these techniques.Problems (faced at the time of introduction)Difficult to collect such kind of raw data.To analyze all data together not possible withtechnical.Present:What he visualized at that time period has nowgrown into a whole system of study for the siteplanning. Technological issues where sorted outby innovation which now has become softwares like GIS.
INDIAN CONTEXT A city more friendly to the environment can be brought forth by proper understanding of the place.
The Naturalists Designs are not trying to create a utopia foreveryone.A utopia is different for everyone, and is uniquecomplex in each situation.Naturalists point of view –• All can the created to make most people happy.• Earth & its denizens involved in a creative process and man has a unique role in it.• Concept of evolution as a creative & reductive process comparing a sand dune & a forest
CONCEPTION OF FITNESS• Fit for existence• Fitting process – dynamic + mutation• Measure of fitness: evolutionary survival..Similar for man & socio cultural factors..CREATIVE TEST IS TO ACCOMPLISH A CREATIVE FITTING • Identify[man fit for environment & vice versa] 1 • Inaugurate process of fitting 2 • Adapting for better fitting 3ALTRUISM: concession of some autonomy towards the ends ofmutual benefits for the creatures involved…..cooperativearrangements with other organisms sustaining the biosphere.World is an ordered place and creatures respond to biologicallaws that are intrinsic & self responding
The Metropolitan RegionMost of the people that live in cities, live in this area. ..soimportant for this space to be comforting and respectful. However not many of these areas are connected back tonature.Causes many problems from the health of the metropolitanscitizens, to the disgracing look of an undeveloped city.Moved away nature itself. This has caused many problemsfrom the excessive out put of carbon dioxide to us gettingfurther and further from nature itself.Some places are not suited for urbanization, some are…QUADRANT[ the selection process ]Relief, Geology, Hydrology, Urban Suitability selection process
The Metropolitan RegionPotomac River BasinTo understand it as an interaction process, to interpret it as avalue system…thus to designate appropriate land usesSTUDIES: Geology Historic geology Physiography Hydrology Groundwater Soils Plant associations Wildlife Water problems Interpretations Uniqueness of resources Mineral Resources Slope, Accessibility Water ResourcesRECREATION SUITABILITYDEGREE OF COMPATIBILITYOPTIMUM MULTIPLE LAND USE.
Process & formMan kind is a destructive force. They destroy forests to buildtheir own desires but forget that they are not the onlycreatures living on this planet. Overall man kind is a negativeforce. However some unique designs do have positive effecton the environment.Elements are described in terms of form, nucleus and theshells of orbiting electrons; compounds are described byformal schema.Form as communication , as informationLook to nature to understand form & a basis for expression[man – nature – environment - city ]So form follows nothing..its integral with all the processesForm can be ill fit, mis fit, unfit,fit & most fitting
Process & form• Man kind is a destructive force. They destroy forests to build their own desires but forget that they are not the only creatures living on this planet. Overall man kind is a negative force. However some unique designs do have positive effect on the environment.• Elements are described in terms of form, nucleus and the shells of orbiting electrons; compounds are described by formal schema.• Form as communication , as information• Look to nature to understand form & a basis for expression• [man – nature – environment - city ]• So form follows nothing..its integral ith all the processes• Form can be ill fit, mis fit, unfit,fit & most fitting
City- process and formFor the true success of the overlay method itneeds to be tried and tested in a living citywith all its intricacies.For this city has to be understood by its urbanform, evolution and historic development. Toestablish a value system and respond to it.By understanding the geological andphysiographical evolution of a place, we canrespond to it intelligently.Historically the physical setting had a hugeimpact on the social setup of the kingdom.Axis and elevation where derived by thephysiographic setting of the place.Natural setting of a place with the urban formtogether creates the drama.Rivers, mountains and other natural featuresdefine the establishment of the city.History not only pertains to buildings but toevery aspect of land and its features.Design can not only be based on the formbut also the various layers of evolution.
City- health and prospectsA study to relate ecology to city.Interesting overlay of pathology,environment and city to understand theissues of health.This showed a higher diseased area withinthe core city and lesser towards thecountryside.As density increases social stress increasesleading to diseases.
prospectsAstronauts is authors device, his persuasion helps no one.Naturalists utopia can never be achievedAnd we remain unchanged.The fast disintegrating cities will lead to a necropolis.As prospect he offers reduction than destruction(anti creation)Model for futureNeg-entropy-increase in levels of orderApperception-transmute energy to informationSymbiosis-combination of above mentioned factorsFitness and fitting- selection of the fittest to accomplish better fitting.Health and pathology- evidence to all the above
A book written almost 60 years back, still hold true in our cases since our country is going through the phase which he was at when he wrote the book. Our country fast transforming into a developed city is, despite of all the examples from the other cities is falling into the black hole mentioned in theconclusion book. Hence it is still as relevant as it was at that time, since we still develop our own niches without respecting the nature. What is needed is a radical shift in the way we respond to the nature and come up with solutions.