06 September 2013

Putting More Environment into Environmental Planning and Design

Steiner and others have a paper in the issue of ESA's Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, called "The ecological imperative for environmental design and planning."

The paper carefully walks through arguments for increasing and enhancing ecological literacy among designers. Naturally, the place to begin is in the classroom:
This shift would also require a major alteration in design and planning education, with the aim of improving ecological literacy. For students working toward professional degrees in these disciplines, this would involve, at the least, requiring a basic and an applied course in ecology plus one or two additional courses in other environmental sciences during their education. Through a stronger foundation in ecological and environmental knowledge, designers and planners will be better equipped to collaborate with ecologists. Likewise, ecologists must be better prepared to communicate more effectively with designers and planners.
As the authors acknowledge, making it a reality within the existing constraints of accredited programs that are already jam packed is a remarkable challenge. But is a challenge that needs to be addressed as policy makers and citizens are desperately seeking help and not finding enough help from the fields of environmental planning and design.

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