I dislike using the term sustainable development because it has become so inflated with overuse. We’ve been kicking it around for over half a century now.
The image above shows several landscape layers: in the foreground, a residential property I designed. Beyond that is a farm, which by definition is an industrial landscape. The large patch of forest in the background is protected because the local Conservation Commissioner was able to restrict development on over 25% of the land in that town by purchasing it it for the public.
Most people would rate this view high on the sustainability scale…
I am an avid student of landscape ecology, though I specialize in designing residential gardens. Not only does a well-designed landscape enhance the value of the homes they beautify; gardens provide us with a little piece of paradise.
The traditional approach to landscape design is based on the principles of privacy, prospect, and control. What do they mean? Let’s unpack each one.
Privacy is obvious; people don’t generally like you looking into their outdoor spaces any more than they like people looking in their windows. In low-density areas, space and distance provide buffers. …
Everyone who writes has their personal reasons for doing so. This story is directed to those whose writer’s journey is a search for meaning and relevancy.
Like every form of media, books can be written for entertainment or profit.
My writer heroes subscribe to the idea that writing is a way to build a legacy; not only a personal legacy but a contribution to the writing of the age in which we live. Stories are important documents of the times. To paraphrase Salman Rushdie, truth is more easily found in fiction than in the news media.
There are three fundamental…
While taking a walk one day, I saw a man dumping his pet’s poop into a storm drain. He said, “You see, I’m being responsible.”
Dude, that drain leads to a stream!
But I supposes this behavior is one notch up from the paint cans that get emptied by people who “don’t have time” to find out where to dispose of environmental hazards. And we’ve come a long way from Medieval times when folks tossed their sewage out the window.
This may not be a sexy story, but I can assure you that streams are very sexy.
Would you like…
I’d like to introduce you to the awesome field of landscape ecology and tell you why it matters.
It will change the way you look at the world, especially if you are a visual/spatial person.
Landscape ecologists look at physical patterns in the landscape as the infrastructure that supports the viability of species (including us). They connect landscape patterns with processes.
The building blocks of the landscape seen from 10,000 feet are patches and corridors, whether “natural” or “built.” The distinguishing characteristics of patches and corridors are scale, texture, density, and edges.
I’ve lived in NYC and Milan, Italy. I’ve spent a lot of time in small towns because they fascinate me. I’m still hoping to find one that is close to enough stuff I want to see and people I know to move there.
But I have also lived for many years in a medium city and I can tell you why I think they don’t work. Medium-sized cities have a hard time being diverse. Oh, yeah, there are rich and poor and everything in between, but for some reason they tend to be segregated.
If they are blessed with a…
One of the silver linings discovered during the nightmare of COVID-19 has been the extension of outdoor living well past summer, giving birth to many improvised outdoor “rooms.”
When we think of living space in our gardens, we usually imagine pergolas draped with canvas, ceiling fans, full-scale kitchens, and flat-screen TVs.
Just like indoors.
This is not about that. This is about understanding the architecture of the landscape and enhancing it to influence climate and comfort. Change the climate? Well, not exactly.
First, let me explain microclimate. Every spot in the landscape has characteristics that strengthen or soften our experience…
American exceptionalism: Do you believe in it? It is supposed to stand for the circumstance created by peaceful capitalism. I’m trying to think of America and peaceful in the same thought, and it’s exceptionally difficult.
As we stand before our flag with our hands over our hearts, we drink the Kool-aid and believe, in those same hearts, that we are a good people. Perhaps if we really looked at those hands, we’d see the blood on them.
This country was built on violence and genocide and slavery. Is it possible that the fear of the warrior natives and the uprising…
Five years ago I made a promise to myself to write five books in five years. I created a habit, put in the time, combed through my work by chapter by chapter, shared my stories with my trusted readers, and edited again and again for each book.
I did it!
I want to share my experience so that you can reflect on your own approach to writing and building a catalogue. And since this has been a year of learning to see with “2020” vision, it’s an appropriate time to stand back and gain perspective.
Many times along…
It’s incredible how we have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re changing the way we live in our homes.
And yet, it isn’t only about zoom calls, weight training, and meditation. I have always been a firm believer in looking for opportunities to leverage change so that life is better after things readjust. I won’t say return to “normal” or a “new normal,” because I don’t believe in the concept of normality.
So, when I’ve encountered difficult times that require a long wait to regain my footing, I’ve focused on a new language, or craft, or musical instrument. …
Multi-faceted creative person and currently obscure, passionate writer of novels under the name Mariuccia Milla.