Phoebe Lickwar is featured as a contributor to the research conversation launching PennDesign’s new McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology website. Each month, the Center posts a collection of works with responses to a McHarg inspired question. For this inaugural post, Phoebe joins an impressive group of thought leaders, including Susan Herrington, Bill McKibbenNina-Marie Lister, Michelle Delk, Faye HarwellDana Tomlin, and many more. Together, the round table tackles the question: what does it mean to design with nature now?

The Center’s leadership team – Richard Weller, Frederick Steiner, and Billy Fleming – introduce the conversation prompt, the legacy of Ian McHarg, and the mission of the Center. Their post can be found in its entirety here.

“By ‘design with nature’ McHarg meant that the way we occupy and modify the earth is best when it is planned and designed with careful regard to both the ecology and the character of the landscape. In this way, he argued that our cities, industries and farms could  avoid major natural hazards and become truly regenerative . More deeply, McHarg believed that by living with rather than against the more powerful forces and flows of the landscape, communities would gain a stronger sense of place and identity.

McHarg did more than write and talk about these ideas. He developed practical planning and design techniques to make them real, and then he put his theory into action around the world.

McHarg was prescient and his philosophy and idealism underpin the Center’s mission to this day. But, in a world as complex and fluctuating as todays, we must continually ask: what do we mean by design, and what we mean by nature?”