Patricia Michael, M.F.A. (presenting author)
Designing with the' Book of Nature' as a Design Modality for Healing and Regeneration:
Design with a Deeper Agenda

Patricia MichaelThis 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.