Natural Artifacts

lan McHarg pursued this goal. He tried to construct artifacts that had natural logic- “natural artifacts.” He advocated planned habitation coherent with the characteristics of each biome, consonant with tropical rainforests, with deserts or grasslands or temperate woodlands. The biosphere is not at all uniform. From pole to pole, across the equator, inside caves and in the upland forests. exist a range of distinct situations, of climatic conditions within their corresponding extensive biomes. A fantastic diversity lies within the heart of each biome. today a striking consequence of profound change brought about by incessant human labor. The activities and plans called for in Design with Nature demand that we be conscious of the non-human diversity and to at least know its broadest painted strokes. Nature is far from uniform, nor can design be generalized. We need conceptual tools that help us recognize and thrive amidst global diversity. (…)

Scientists, ecologists, or social ecologists provide specialized information in a fragmented manner that is usually inaccessible to the general public. Even their professional colleagues take in, evaluate, and respond to the specialized knowledge in a fragmented manner. As McHarg insists:

“This is what modern science is; the egg is shattered, all the fragments lie scattered on the ground. The fragments are called geology and physics and chemistry and hydrology and soil science, plant ecology, animal ecology, molecular biology, and political science. There is no one who can put together again the entire system. Information fragmented is of no use to anybody. What we always need to proceed is really the one Whole system?”

Ramon Folch, Biosphera, Global Knowledge for Community Design (2007)

Ian McHarg, Minimum Social Cost Alignment of a Road (late 1960s)