One Book and Why

One Book and Why: Architect Steven Holl Recommends . . .

By Steven Holl February 14, 2023

New in our occasional series, “One Book and Why,” where we ask designers and architects to recommend one book they’ve found inspiring recently—and why it speaks to them. Architect Steven Holl recommends a book on an ever more-urgent issue: Half-Earth by renowned biologist and author Edward O. (E. O.) Wilson. — Designers & Books


Wilson wrote: ‘In Half-Earth I propose that only by committing half of the planet’s surface to nature can we hope to save the immensity of life-forms that compose it.’ His concept puts biodiversity in the primary driving position of any future urban theory of developing in the landscape.

A human-centric theory is reversed in the half-earth proposal as migratory routes of biodiverse species are taken to be more important than horizontally expanded city patterns. The idea of ‘dense-pack’ settlements and metropolitan density allows more preservation of the natural landscape and the ecosystems so important for biodiversity to be a core issue. The entire planet Earth’s landscapes are the focus, not the horizontal sprawl of the cities.” — Steven Holl 


By Edward O. Wilson
Published by Liveright/ W. W. Norton
Hardcover, 272 pages, 2016; paperback, 2017

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