Research + Work

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Research + Work

Ian McHarg’s confident skill

Danilo Palazzo & Leah Hollstein

Professor Danilo Palazzo and Professor Leah Hollstein have recently co-authored a paper "Ian McHarg’s confident skill" that will be included in the special “Design With Nature at 50” issue guest-edited by Professor Fritz Steiner and Doctor Billy Fleming. The special issue will be compiled later into the September issue of the journal Socio-Ecological Practice Research (SEPR). The paper, through a literature review, investigates the contingent circumstances that fed the social milieu of the 1960s and 1970s as well as the individuals and ideas preceding or contemporary with McHarg that backed, validated, or substantiated “Design with nature” and ecological planning. The paper considers the multiple influences that McHarg gathered from scientists and philosophers in the time preceding the preparation of Design with Nature. It also reflects the multiple ways in which McHarg’s ideas influenced, and were influenced in return, by the development of academic ecology practice and education. McHarg recognized that the book borrowed from the thoughts and dreams of others and that his intention was to divulge his ideas to a wider audience than just academic insiders. The paper affirms that Design with Nature and its author catalyzed social, cultural, scholarly, and professional factors, started a chain reaction that had an undeniable impact on academia, practice, and government in the 50 years afterward, and became a central and fundamental academic reference for landscape architecture and planning. The article is now published Online First and downloadable free-of-charge at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42532-019-00028-0. Image credit: NASA