Interview with Emma Marris, Author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

Emma Marris is author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World and has also written for Nature. Read her op-ed on the Anthropocene in The New York Times.

In your new book, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Nature World, you argue that “we are already running the whole Earth, whether we admit or not.” You say this calls for a new definition of nature beyond “pristine wilderness,” which no longer exists and hasn’t for some time. How must nature be defined now?

I struggled with that definition in the book, since much of my argument is about enlarging nature to include more kinds of things and places beyond pristine wilderness, from backyard birds to city parks to farms. But one risks proposing a definition that is so inclusive that pretty much everything is nature. My own personal take is that impermeable surfaces, like roads and (non-green) roofs are not nature. But obviously, a park with some paved paths is still nature at the scale of the park.

I am not sure we need a rigorous and watertight definition. We know nature when we see it, because we respond to it. At any rate, there’s a lot more of it out there outside of designated nature reserves than inside.

You also argue that the “ecosystems that look the most pristine are perhaps the least likely to be truly wild.” So what are wild landscapes? Where are they now?

We have an expectation that ecosystems that look the most like they did in the past will be the most wild. But with climate change and all the other changes humans are making to planet Earth, keeping systems looking like they did in 1491 or 1770 or 1882 requires more and more management. Thus, if your definition of wild is that humans are not in control, the wildness of places like Yellowstone is declining even as their superficial appearance remains the same. Meanwhile, abandoned, marginal lands chock-a-block with exotic species, weed species and–occasionally–broken cars and appliances are some of the only truly unmanaged landscapes left. Here, species that humans moved around are adapting to the changing Earth and creating new ecosystems. Ecologists like to call these places “novel ecosystems,” but I think that undersells the fundamental dynamism of all ecosystems, which are all novel on one time scale or another. I like to call these places “the new wild” and I find them really exciting.

You say climate change adaptation has been a dirty word in environmentalist circles. How are current approaches to ecological restoration exacerbating or alleviating climate-caused changes in landscapes?

Novel ecosystems are often discussed as good starting points for restoration or design projects that aren’t going to aim for a historical baseline. I think that’s a smart strategy. But I also hope we leave some of them alone to see how they will naturally adapt to the changing climate. We can learn a lot from these places.

More traditional modes of restoration, bringing back native species and reconstructing historical ecosystems, aren’t a bad idea, per se. But the more the climate changes, the less perfectly adapted these historical assemblages will be to current conditions. It isn’t just a matter of planting a few plants from the next USDA hardiness zone down, either. Some places will see thresholds crossed, where fire or water regimes fundamentally change, and then trying to recreate old systems really just won’t work.

Recently, I was talking to some Nature Conservancy scientists about their work trying to protect and restore watersheds in the Southwest in drier and more combustible times. I asked them if there were any pines that were more fire and drought tolerant than the pines that grow in the region. They said that yes, there were some in Mexico that did better in hotter, drier conditions. I suggested they plant a few of those and they just looked at me like I had suggested something offensive and unthinkable. Native plants are great, but live plants from a few hundred miles away are, to me anyway, better than charred native stumps.

Why is assisted species migration still so controversial, given, in some instances, gardeners, farmers, and landscape architects have been doing this for thousands of years?

The difference has to do with this wilderness fixation. If we move a plant and place it in a garden, a farm, a timber plantation or a city park, no one seems to mind. But if we do this in a place that we’ve mentally categorized as “wilderness,” then it is suddenly unthinkable because the only possible correct state for that place is that (usually mythical) day before the first person–or first European, often and even more vexingly–arrived. It is as if our culture has placed all our guilt and all our ideas about a fall from Eden and all this other baggage about nature in these carefully demarcated areas. Outside, anything goes and no natural value is recognized. Inside, the rules are very strict–counter-productively strict–and value is intense and spiritual. Obviously, I am generalizing here. There are certainly shades of gray and varying opinions.

You say there’s a “very well entrenched” culture of fighting invasive species. However, globally, it’s quite rare for introduced species to cause native species’ extinctions. In addition, some ecologists are now moving past this either-or duality and see a new reality beyond native or invasive: novel ecosystems. How are they changing the concept of native and invasive? How extensive are they? What are their benefits?

I sort of defined them a couple of questions ago, but a more formal definition is actually on the way, in a forthcoming volume on the subject edited by University of Western Australia restoration ecologist Richard Hobbs, Carol Hall, a Victoria, British Columbia-based environmental consultant, and University of Victoria philosopher Eric Higgs. The book will answer all these questions more rigorously than I can, but the short answer is that they are brand new ecosystems assembled in the wake of humanity’s actions, but not actively managed by them. They are very extensive, but because of their marginal nature often overlooked. Their benefits include nearly all of the benefits to humanity of more historical ecosystems: carbon sequestration, erosion control, water filtration, habitat for species, you name it. They are even sometimes quite lovely. But, yeah, they are mostly made up of exotics, so they are not given much love.


In that forthcoming book, I co-author a little sidebar that suggests that the concept “novel ecosystem” won’t necessarily be with us that long–just long enough for us to learn to see these spaces and for us to accept the extent of changes to “traditional” ecosystems. Eventually, I think we might divide up systems by whether they are actively managed or not, and neither of them will be pristine, untouched wilderness. So we won’t need the term.


Beyond novel ecosystems, there are also designer ecosystems, man-made systems that may actually perform better than purely natural systems. But is this idea really new? Isn’t Central Park a designer ecosystem, in that it may perform better than some natural systems? Isn’t this what landscape architects often create?  

Yep. And I think landscape architecture is in many ways way ahead of ecology and restoration ecology on this. I suppose the difference is that ecologists are now talking about doing Central Park-like things in places that, last year, they hoped to restore to some kind of simulacrum of untouched virgin wilderness. So the new thing here is maybe using the techniques of landscape architecture in places labeled as “nature” or “wilderness.” But it is all semantics, no? The plants and animals don’t know if they are in a park or and arboretum or a federal designated wilderness. They just live.

Lastly, you discuss the work of restoration ecologists but largely leave landscape architects out of the story. Since Olmsted and the early landscape architects who focused on the U.S. national park system, landscape architects have been creating man-made landscapes that sustain natural processes yet also evolve. What are some projects by landscape architects that particularly interest you, that are perhaps indicative of trends you discuss?

The simple reason landscape architecture wasn’t featured more in the book is that my day job for six years was writing about ecology for the journal Nature, so that’s the world I was steeped in. I am just now learning more about the exciting and parallel developments in landscape architecture. I like the idea I heard recently from Diana Balmori about how parks should be long and skinny and thread through the city as a part of it, rather than big blocks of separateness. I like that; it seems potentially more inclusive and more harmonizing of city and nature than the block model.

Another project I love is in my hometown of Seattle, the Pollinator Pathway, which connects two parks with pollinator-friendly gardens in parking strips.


Obviously, these kinds of things aren’t going to single-handedly save the planet. We need major systematic changes in how we use resources, we need better laws and regulations, we need to stop sprawl and mindless development. But I think that bringing nature to the city, in particular, can not only bring beauty and surprise to our lives but can build support for those big, difficult societal changes. Why would you vote for nature if you think that it only exists in large national parks that you can’t afford to go visit? Nature should be a familiar friend from the neighborhood, not a place you watch rich people ski and hike in on TV.

Interview conducted by Jared Green

Image credits: (1) Bloomsbury Press, (2) Novel ecosystem in Hawaii / Emma Marris, (3) Novel ecosystem in Hawaii / Emma Marris, (4) The New Farmingham Canal Greenway /Balmori Associates, (5) Seattle Pollinator Pathway / Copyright Kelly Brenner. Metropolitan Field Guide

19 thoughts on “Interview with Emma Marris, Author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World

  1. milliontrees 12/14/2011 / 4:37 pm

    Thanks to the ASLA for interviewing Ms Marris and to Ms Marris and her colleagues for beginning this important dialogue about changing our perspective on “nature” to recognize and accept the inevitability of change. Although I agree with Ms Marris about the need to revise our perspective, I find that the scientists who are advocating for such a change are not acknowledging the great damage that is being done by the out-dated concept which venerates native plants and species.

    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area the native plant movement has a death grip on our public lands. Thousands of non-native trees have been destroyed and millions more will be destroyed if their plans are implemented. Our public parks are being sprayed with toxic herbicides, sometimes on watersheds and in proximity to children. Prescribed burns are being conducted in urban areas, contributing to pollution and endangering us and our homes. The public is being fenced out of its urban parks in order to create native plant museums. The habitat of the animals that live here NOW—as opposed to 250 years ago—is being destroyed. These draconian methods are usually unsuccessful, resulting in barren, weedy messes as we might expect, given the changes in our environment as explained by Ms Marris. (see http://milliontrees.wordpress.com for details of these projects)

    The revised viewpoint about nature recommended by Ms. Marris and her colleagues, is not just a matter of preference, it is first and foremost a question of doing less damage to our environment.

    • Leslie 06/13/2012 / 7:12 am

      milliontrees…Since you live in the Bay Area: Take a walk in Marin county amongst native oak/bay trees. The understory is devoid of wildflowers and native shrubs and plants that feed wildlife and instead is a sea of scotch broom which is impossible to eradicate. A virtual monoculture of an invasive. I also find it impossible to believe that stands of eucs are equal in supporting diversity as native oaks. Try growing something under eucs. The oils in their leaf litter kill understory competition. They provide nectar for bees but who eats their fruits like the prodigious acorn? Our native oaks are considered a keystone species. Eucs will never be that.

      • Speak for the trees 06/13/2012 / 12:06 pm

        I don’t need to go to Marin County to see broom. It is rampant where I live. However, I don’t see it growing under trees because it is a sun-loving plant. As you say, it is very difficult to eradicate because its seeds are known to live in the ground for 60 years. It would have to be exterminated annually before it sets seed for 60 years to eliminate. Yet it is being poisoned by the managers of public land with toxic herbicides that are capable of polluting watersheds and killing wildlife. That is my main point: efforts to eradicate non-native plants are doing more harm than good.

        You may find it “hard to believe” that the eucalyptus forest is just as biodiverse as an oak woodland, but that is the result of a scientific study and it has been replicated all over the world. You won’t find much growing under oaks either. Since most of our local native plants require full sun, you won’t find them growing in the shade of any tree. Native trees cast as much shade as non-native trees.

        Virtually anything you can say about non-native plants is equally true of some native species. For example, the native Bay has more oil in its leaves than eucalyptus. Native coyote brush is just as invasive as broom. In a fruitless effort to prevent natural succession from grassland to chaparral scrub, native coyote brush is subjected to prescribed burns and mechanical removal. Those destructive methods are just as damaging as the methods used to eradicate non-native plants.

  2. onewomangardenclub 12/15/2011 / 5:51 pm

    Very thought-provoking. I must read this book.

    Things I have been wondering about every day as I walk the Forest Preserves in the Chicago area: Wholesale brush-hogging of landscapes so we can have oak savannas and prairies. And the battle continues every season to keep it locked in. One of the few uses of my tax dollar whose results I enjoy!

    How can this be sustainable or even sensible?

  3. milliontrees 12/16/2011 / 7:49 am

    onewomangardenclub is very observant. Chicago has been tolerating these destructive “restorations” for over 20 years. The Chicago area was a prairie prior to the arrival of Europeans only because Native Americans set fire to the prairie annually in connection with their cultural, agricultural and hunting activities. These fires prevented natural succession of grassland to shrubland and finally to climax forest. When these fires were stopped by European settlers, grassland slowly became forests. Most of the trees were actually native trees. Still “restorationists” wanted to destroy the trees to satisfy their obsession with achieving a pre-settlement landscape. Herbicides and prescribed burns are used to achieve their vision. There are efforts to stop these destructive activities. Google “Trees for Life” for one of the organizations in Chicago that is trying to stop the pointless destruction of trees just to prevent nature from doing what it would do naturally if permitted by man’s desire to control nature.

  4. Gabino 12/21/2011 / 11:10 am

    It would seem that Emma Marris has either not read or understood Anne Whinston Spirn work on this subject, which I would think is pretty seminal.

    The debate Nature vs Culture is really, really old and a little bit tiresome.

    We need to understand that we have to be a little bit selective about knowledge and how to use it. To reinvent the same subject again and again until it becomes mainstream coffee table talk serves no purpose, other than filling awkward silences.

    It is about time we decide to educate ourselves before launching into useless rhetorical exercises or pointless activities such as the ones described by milliontrees.

  5. Skeptic 12/21/2011 / 2:22 pm

    So, Gabino, is Marris wrong or is she so obviously right that what she says is not worth saying? To me she is spot-on correct, but her (and milliontree’s) knowledge is not nearly enough widespread. If only a more reasonable reconsideration of the meaning of “nature” really were mainstream coffeetable talk. Then we would have less destructive activity by “restorationists.”

  6. milliontrees 12/22/2011 / 10:22 am

    Gabino, Thanks for referring readers to the work of Anne Whiston Spirn. I have now read a few of her publications available on the internet and am in a position to respond to your comment. I see some relationship between the work of Spirn and that of Marris, but also significant differences. Both have an interest in the relationship between man and nature.

    However, Spirn is saying only that man is a part of nature. The practical application of her work has been in depressed areas of Philadelphia where they promoted the involvement of neighbors in the transformation of vacant lots and similar degraded places into whatever the neighborhood wanted of them, from community gardens to playgrounds. These are not ecological restorations.

    Ms. Marris, on the other hand is focused on “restoration ecology,” which has in the past considered the goal of their projects the return to pre-settlement landscapes of hundreds of years ago. Marris is urging restorationists to accept the reality of the impact of man on those landscapes in order to arrive at more realistic goals for their projects.

    I don’t understand in what sense my objection to destructive “restoration” attempts are “rhetorical,” which I gather means you believe them to be without substance. I object to specific destructive strategies used in these futile projects,such as the use of toxic herbicides and prescribed burns in urban environments in which air quality is already compromised and communities are endangered. I don’t see how these objections are “rhetorical.”

  7. Mark L. Johnson 12/24/2011 / 3:37 pm

    Ultimately, our (society’s) goal should not be about which pieces go in the museum but what will best sustain all species and biodiversity. While it may already exist somewhere, I would like to see extensive research that reveals whether or not exotic plants species are significantly inferior in supporting native fauna when compared to native species.

    Douglas Tallamy’s “Bringing Nature Home” suggests that native plant species are critical in supporting the native birds, etc. that historically used them for habitat. If Marris’s book reveals some of this type of research, I need to read it. We have certainly introduced many exotic species but it is not clear whether our ethics must allow the succession of invasive exotics or their death for the sake of the natives. Whether we are planting invasive exotic plants (or people) and destroying habitat is the greater question for me.

    If you can direct me to the conclusive research that invasive exotic plants are helping create superior habitat for native fauna, I’d be happy to check it out.

    • milliontrees 12/28/2011 / 9:53 am

      Thanks for asking this important question. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area there is considerable evidence that non-native plants and trees are essential to the animals that live here. Dov Sax (Brown University) has compared the biodiversity of species (birds, amphibians, insects, mammals, plant understory) in non-native eucalyptus forest w/ native oak woodland and found them equally biodiverse. Arthur Shapiro (UC Davis) finds that the butterflies of California use non-native plants and some species of butterflies are now dependent upon them. Eucalyptus provides over-wintering roosting for migrating Monarch butterflies and is the sole source of mid-winter nectar for bees and hummingbirds. Most of our berry-bearing plants (Cotoneaster, Pyracantha, Holly) are non-native. They provide essential food for the birds. All of these plants and trees are being eradicated in the Bay Area.

      The co-evolution argument used by native plant advocates to defend their agenda is greatly exaggerated. There are few mutually exclusive relationships in nature because they are vulnerable to extinction. In a constantly changing environment, animals that are dependent upon one plant (or vice versa) are unlikely to survive.

      The nativist agenda is also based on a static view of nature that does not acknowledge adaptation and evolution. Animals quickly make transitions to whatever food source is available. They are opportunists, not ideologues.

      There are many reasons why the public’s opposition to these destructive “restorations” is growing. One is that they are having a negative impact on the wildlife in our open spaces. The loss of cover and food for our birds and other animals is devastating.

  8. Kay Stewart 12/28/2011 / 11:53 pm

    When We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know, Humility Is Called For

    Emma Marris related what she knows of how plants will grow in damaged
    places, what she has named “novel ecosystems,” which most of us refer to as “disturbed.” She is enamored of these little pockets of survival (as most are when they discover them,) but she went beyond that, and mocked people who admire only “pristine wilderness.” However, the term “wilderness” has a legal definition in the US, and the fact she didn’t note this critical fact suggests that perhaps she doesn’t know it. “Wilderness” serves a purpose in a nation where every other land designation leaves that land open to exploitation. Only in “wilderness” can the natural processes be allowed to take place, with the caveat that people will intervene to eradicate exotic species where needed, to prevent incremental loss of the native species.

    Emma Marris is unconvinced of the value of exotic species control, saying
    that these have not caused extinctions. It is true that many extinctions were cause by hunting, building roads, mining, cities, farms, and dams. However, introduced plants – Arundo, Tamarix, Brassica species, and Cortaderia, in California – have caused the extirpation of entire plant
    communities in thousands of places, and with them the animals that were part of the ecosystems; or invasive exotic grasses permit fires in areas where fire wasn’t common, with the same result. Cumulatively these incremental area losses also result in extinctions. Exotic animal species are equally effective in causing extinctions, area by area.

    The umbrella under which all these mounds of knowledge fit, is the question of what role human beings can play in the survival of earth’s many species, including ourselves. For instance, she asks, can we assure the pines in New Mexico survive? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps the existing pine species in New Mexico may not survive climate change; or perhaps some of their mutant offspring will. But if an exotic species of pine is planted in their place,
    there will not be an option for their offspring to survive and evolve. The
    fact that her suggestion to plant Mexican pines was noted but not
    immediately embraced is a reflection of the complexity of choosing the right
    action, not a close-mindedness on the part of those with whom she spoke.
    This is why we have environmental impact reports, so people who like to
    shoot from the hip don’t call the shots.

    The last straw, and why I have written, was when Emma Marris boldly stated
    that she thinks that landscape architects are better judges than those tens of thousands of skilled, knowledgeable ecologists and other scientists and practitioners, each with many decades of experience, who are doing this work, species by species, ecosystem by ecosystem, site by site.

    In short, I just have to point out that she doesn’t know what she doesn’t
    know. Now, that is true of all of us, but most of us learn eventually to be
    humble about that inescapable truth, and listen to, consider, and respect
    others’ opinions where that respect is earned. I suggest that Emma Marris
    also learn, humbly, from those people who are working to restore the
    viability of places where amazing species of plants and their dependent
    animals can survive.

    Emma Marris, like me, is a landscape architect, and I think most of us
    become landscape architects because we hope to help sustain people and the
    living earth. There is a role for skilled, humble landscape architects in
    this very important and satisfying work, if they take the time to learn
    enough before considering themselves experts. They need to express ideas,
    and to ask others to tell them what they don’t know. They may have to do
    more studying, again and again. At some point, from diligent study and
    humble seeking, their skillful means will emerge, and they will become
    useful. The earth’s places needs skilled people to help them
    survive.

    Kay Stewart
    CA Landscape Architect # 2967, 1989
    B of LA, U of Oregon, 1984
    MA Biology, CSU Fresno, 1975
    BA Biology, UC Riverside,1969
    2011 President, San Diego Chapter, California Native Plant Society

  9. LAgradStudent 01/04/2012 / 9:06 am

    To onewomangardenclub’s earlier comment on the savannas and prairies around the Chicago area:

    I think this sort of human management of wild places is exactly what Ms Marris is talking about. While the succession of grasslands to shrublands and then forests is a natural process, that does not mean that human intervention in this process is a bad thing. Grasslands are massive resevoirs of biodiversity that climax forests do not contain. Furthermore, there are species of animals that must have grasslands for their life cycles and simply cannot adjust to living in a forest environment (and vis versa). An extension of Marris’ thoughts would be to define benchmarks for ecological performance (such as fostering biodiversity as well as carbon sequestration, water infiltration etc)

    • milliontrees 01/04/2012 / 10:32 am

      The question is, “At what cost?” How much pesticide must be sprayed on our public lands? How many trees must be destroyed? How much carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere when the trees are destroyed? How many birds must find new homes when the trees are destroyed? How much air pollution must we tolerate when our pubilc lands are burned? How many wildfires must we risk when these burns are conducted? etc., etc.,

      Do the alleged benefits outweigh all these costs? Perhaps to those who earn their living at it, the answer is “yes.” But to the taxpayers who are paying for these projects and suffering the consequences, many of us think the answer is “no.”

  10. Kent 02/22/2012 / 3:00 pm

    much ado about nothing

  11. Virginia 02/22/2012 / 6:26 pm

    As mentioned above, this book seems very thought provoking. I have taken several seminar classes from the college of natural resources at my university, and we discuss these topics at length. I look forward to finding a chance to read this book and see more of what the author has to say about them.

  12. Pollinator 05/18/2012 / 4:18 pm

    The idea that you can find nature in your backyard is not new. Frank Lutz mentioned it in his book of 1941, “A Lot of Insects”. He identified 1400 species of insects in his suburban yard, not far from New York City. Doug Tallamy has been saying the same thing in “Bringing Nature Home”, 2007. He proposes the creation of a “Homegrown National Park”.

    What is the difference between Emma Marris’ “Rambunctious Garden” and Doug Tallamy’s “Homegrown National Park”? The difference is that Marris, according to this interview, sees nothing wrong with a mishmash of native and non-native plants. This disregards the multiplicity of ecological interactions of better established biological communities. Tallamy tells us that an ecosystem with a predominance of native plants is healthier and more biodiverse. It is better at supporting wildlife.

    Marris’ views don’t seem to be supported by any scientific evidence; they are just observations. Tallamy and his team have been researching and accumulating data for thirty years to prove the notion that a native assemblage of organisms, with ecological interactions basically intact, is best at supporting wildlife.

    A rambunctious garden is full of life, yes, but it resembles a refuge camp, a tent city. A homegrown national park as the one proposed by Doug Tallamy is more like a well established, prosperous community.

    Take your choice!

    • Skeptic 06/13/2012 / 1:12 pm

      I also see nothing wrong with a “mish-mash of native and non-native plants.” Neither Tallamy nor Pollinator can tell whether they are looking at such a “mish-mash” or a purely native landscape without knowing in advance the history of the plants there. Both are gardens full of life. They have the same types of ecological interactions and are indistinguishable without prior knowledge. I don’t know if you could recognize a refuge camp if you were dropped there without prior knowledge; I do know you can’t recognize non-native plants just by observing them in the wild.

  13. Leslie 06/13/2012 / 6:41 am

    The idea of a pristine wilderness was discarded years and years ago. The idea of a ‘balance of nature’ hasn’t been taught in school for as many years as Ms. Marris is old.

    I am a landscape architect myself. There is a vast difference between city and suburban areas like pollinator parks or high rise farming, community gardens, skinny parks that weave through cities, and vast tracts of protected lands that will allow complex systems of large and small organisms to survive and interact. Whole ecosystems are more complex than man can ever understand and play God to. I can easily understand why those scientists raised their eyebrows when she suggested planting Mexican trees. It’s not because they can’t be planted, but probably because in an untended ecosystem, they won’t survive or be an integrated part of that landscape, however much it may be in flux due to global warming. Landscape architects, I can tell you, are not going to be thinking up new ‘natural’ systems. They could be creating new sustainable living systems in cities that would take pressures off of large tracts of lands freed up for megafauna elsewhere (think bison, migrations of pronghorn). These large tracts of lands aren’t for rich skiers but for our own true sustenance and for our children’s.

    Marris a young woman who has grown up in the age of technology and seems to think that humans can bio-engineer our way out of any problem. Her book and ideas reek of dangerous hubris. For those of us advocating large contiguous tracts of lands private and public like Y2Y to help restore megafauna, she is only helping to squash this work. Marris’ suggestions hurry us along towards a world of limited species: species we like (think dogs and cows) and no room for species we dislike (think wolves and lions and grizzly bears)

    One other piece that Marris and many others ignore is the spiritual value of uninterrupted and unscarred land. Marris would be the exact opposite to Jack Turner. For those of us who are pressed and compressed by the 8 billion on this planet, we still need refugios where the potency of the Land itself with a capital ‘L’ feeds our souls.

  14. Plish 12/10/2015 / 12:50 am

    Wonderfully provocative piece. There is indeed something to be said for a rambunctious world. What Marris is dealing with here is what I’ve called the “Sacred Space Paradox”, by making certain parts of the world “sacred”, other areas become ‘profane’ by definition and hence both places are treated in ways that are, in the end, counterproductive in various ways. https://zenstorming.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/ecologically-sustainable-design-sacred-space-paradox/

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