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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of February 19, 1999

This week, facts about... Ian McHarg on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Design with Nature. His concern to minimize the impact of development on natural formations led to the concept of the environmental impact statement.

Transcript

CURWOOD: This week we mark the 30th anniversary of Ian McHarg's classic book Design With Nature. Design With Nature explains how to build while keeping in mind natural formations, including floodplains and wildlife habitats, and by minimizing the impact of development. At the University of Pennsylvania Ian McHarg came up with the concept we now know as the environmental impact statement. His ideas also sparked development of the Geographic Information Systems, which provide a computerized, mapped inventory of land conditions. He also hosted what may have been the first environmental television show. The House We Live In ran in 1960 and '61. The Scottish-born McHarg is known for his eloquence and a sharp tongue. Addressing a roomful of Federal highway engineers in 1966, he charged, "You have been engaged in an onslaught against the American environment. You have dismembered, dissected, and destroyed significant areas of American cities. Your depredations must end." At age 78, Ian McHarg is still going strong. Last year he published a book of his selected writings, called To Heal The Earth. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

 

 

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