Why We Should Plan According to Ecosystem, Rather Than Artificial Boundaries

The often arbitrary boundaries drawn up to define territory limits how most planners determine the extents of their projects. Neil Chambers argues why we, and the planet, would be better served if we planned according to natural characteristics.

Chambers describes how the natural, or ecological, functionality of a place gets lost as man-made decisions dividing land into counties, cities, blocks, and individual properties determines how the land is occupied and used. He argues this way of seeing the world mustn't and needn't endure.

"Until we stop building along politically defined limits and start designing in line with ecologically determined borders," says Chambers, "we will be doing very little to improve the condition of our society.  More importantly, we won't be getting any closer to a more sustainable, just world. The future of green design is dependent on how well industry professionals understand and adhere to the factors that govern ecological function."

Full Story: Tale of Two Maps



Plan According to Ecosystem

Dear Mr. Chambers,
In Colonial Latin American Urbanism, the Laws of Indies provided with exact rules to recognize and divide the new land according to its existing natural features. I am from Caracas, and the planning decisions that date from the 1550s on, still persist. Parochies -and therefore, all actual boroughs- extend from creek to creek and from river bed to tip of the mountain. I think there is still much to learn in America about this forgotten planning knowledge, that wisely organized the territories with sensible place awareness south of the Rio Grande.
Best regards,
Hannia Gómez
Caracas, Venezuela

Laws of the Indies.

I bring up the Laws of the Indies and the 'tilted grid' often in my presentations. We moderns have forgotten much, and all the fad planning jargon in the world won't paper that over.



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