Patricia Michael, M.F.A. (presenting
Designing with the' Book of Nature' as a Design Modality for Healing
Design with a Deeper Agenda
talk describes the discipline of landscape design with particular
emphasis on healing and regeneration of the land. It is a design
system for creating sustainable human environments. Traditional
landscape design concerns itself with placement of elements to achieve
aesthetic or economic effects or both.
The Book Of Nature extends this effort to create environments that
are healthful and nurturing for the humans and other species inhabiting
the site and that are sustainable in their use of natural resources.
It concerns itself with wellness and health in many facets: environmental,
economic, social and psychological.
Sites that are designed, planned and installed with an attitude
of love and reverence for the site and all who work., play and live
at the site have a different feeling about them.
They feel more peaceful and harmonious. This is landscape design
with not only ethics, but a deep understanding of the 'Book of Nature'.
The talk describes the basic steps in good land
design and describes a number of tools and design principles. The
lecture will be illustrated with photographs of the authors' projects.
This talk concludes that the designer, if allowed
to come in early on a project, can have a much more profound and
holistic impact than has been generally assumed. He or she can enhance
the health and well-being of the site and the local region as well
as create beautiful, abundant sites that are economically viable
and ecologically sound.
In nature there are patches in every landscape where
things are healthy - plant and animal life is more abundant, and
the place seems more vibrant than other areas. Many things contribute
to such patches: micro-climate, balance and diversity of plants
and animals that provide different services, geology (mineralization),
the quality of natural litter on the ground (mulch), the fertility
of the different layers of soil, the availability of water, sunlight
and air, etc. The goal of designing with nature is to introduce
a design method for landscape and site design that emulates these
healthy natural systems.
Patricia Michael has over twenty years experience as an environmental
consultant and teacher of Design. She has been a Vice Chancellor
of the International Permaculture Academy in Tyalgum, Australia,
an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma,
has taught at St. Andrews College, the University of Maine and is
the owner of an environmental design consulting practice.
She designs a wide variety of projects from broad-acre rural sites
to mixed-use developments to small holdings, both urban and rural
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wichita State University, received
her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma, and is
a graduate of the New Alchemy Institute in Ecology and Sustainable
Agriculture. She has won numerous awards for her designs. She lives
in Austin, Texas, USA.