Living in Harmony with Nature

Ben Bolgar, Senior Director, The Prince’s Foundation, and Visiting Fellow, Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

For thousands of years humans have built settlements consisting of streets, alleys, courts, squares and blocks, which have subtle urban and architectural variations based on geography and culture. During this process, humans have also shaped and organised the biosphere, putting water systems into pipes, and turning soil into tarmac. Only those natural systems that are too large to reshape entirely, like great rivers, have remained in place, while smaller tributaries are built over as the economic value of land gets higher. There has been recognition, however, that the human condition needs the biosphere, nature, for physical and mental wellbeing. In response, humans have reintroduced manicured versions of nature in the form of parks and garden squares. We have also ‘allowed’ water to appear in a controlled fashion in the form of lakes, ponds or fountains.

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