» Randall Arendt

» Sustainable Sites Initiative

What is called ‘conservation design’ in the United States, would be labeled simply good planning in many other countries, or, alternatively, the basic premise for a substantial, socially and ecologically relevant landscape architecture: what is called ‘conservation design’ is usually a type of planning that starts from the existing landscape, and develops a vision for a place that capitalizes upon landscape assets in its spatial structure. Tracing of lot lines, roads, definition of amenities, densities, heights, clustering, combination of uses, all of this is grounded in a careful analysis of the current landscape. Ordinances and other regulation derive from that vision, and not the other way around.

Understanding the enabling factors and the obstacles for conservation design, not only opens up avenues for its application, but it also gives us insight in the fine mechanics of planning systems, in the differentiation of law, politics, economics, in cultural values, in images of nature.

Cooperation with Minnesota DNR, 1000 Friends of Minnesota


Work in progress. I wrote a book, with Paul Radomski, Mn DNR, on sustainable lakeside living, planning, and design and we are currently looking for a publisher. The work on environmental writers Sigurd Olson and Ernest Oberholtzer also points in the direction of, makes an argument for, a conservation design approach. Many of the contributions in Dutch landscape journal Blauwe Kamer espouse the same philosophy.

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