I did a presentation for the Landscape Architecture Foundation (http://lafoundation.org/) on Friday morning. Think of landscape architecture as any human designed aspect of our environment, from parks that are designed to stimulate children and create community to water flow around constructions engineered for optimized ecological impact. There is so much that landscape architects contribute to our experience of the world, and our health and safety.

As part of my prep I had the chance to talk to 15+ leaders in a variety of landscape architecture organizations. One was a university professor and he furnished me with a pop quiz he regularly gives his students. He adapted it to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which is where I live.  This watershed stretches up through Pennsylvania and as far north as New York state. It reaches all the way to West Virginia and surrounds the Chesapeake Bay including Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, DC.

The question he asked, “Where is the richest ecological activity? In the terrestrial or in the aquatic environment?”

The answer, “The richest or most productive ecological activity occurs in the zone of interface between the two areas – a region called the ecotone by ecologists.” He goes on to counsel his students, “Many research and innovation opportunities occur at the interface of, or the interaction between, two or more areas or issues of interest.” It is so true!

One of my favorite bands is the Afro Celt Sound System. This is a band that was created (and supported by Peter Gabriel) to explore the fusion of electronic, West African and Irish music. It is a remarkable ecotone.  Check them out at http://www.afroceltsoundsystem.org.uk/ I have been listening to their music for years, because of the raw power and beauty they bring to melding these disparate traditions.

What worlds do you walk between?
What new possibilities exist there and nowhere else?
What might you do to support the emergence of new forms?

My ideas have undergone a process of emergence by emergency. When they are needed badly enough, they are accepted.
– R. Buckminster Fuller