Friday, October 19, 2012

Learning from the Genius of our Place

Ever wonder what ecosystem existed where you live and work prior to settlement? 
Would that influence what plants you select for your landscaping? 
What natural elements you bring into your office? 
How locally-attuned buildings are designed and maintained? 

Learning from the Genius of our Place can help us design our lives and work to fit in with our native natural context using the least amount of energy and resources possible. 

"At the time when the first Europeans entered the Chicago region, the predominant vegetation was a mosaic of prairie, oak woodland, and savanna, with distinctive vegetation on sand dunes adjacent to Lake Michigan. Soils, topography, and firebreaks strongly controlled the vegetation pattern. Before European settlement, fire was a major influence. Every year the copious prairie vegetation dried in late summer, becoming highly flammable, and fires, mostly set by Native Americans either accidentally or purposefully, occurred annually. These fires carried easily through the prairie and burned into adjacent woodlands. As a result, the woodland vegetation was dominated by fire-resistant trees and occurred in areas protected from fire by rougher topography or water bodies—rivers and lakes."

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