Activity 2.1: Design from Patterns to Details

Good design takes into account multiple scales at once. This assignment encourages you to consider elements large and small and how they relate to the things you want to do on your site.

Conduct research and make observations that will help you consider how these features might affect your design thinking. You will complete your assignment by sharing some details on a single document via the submit button below.


Where does your land drain? What named creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes does water from your landscape drain to? Where does water come from onto your site? How big is the watershed you are a part of? In addition to Internet searches, if you are in North America consider connecting with experts and resources at your local Cooperative Extension or Soil and Water Conservation District offices to gather information. Also walk around your site following land contour, ditches, and streams. What observations do you have about the larger watershed in which your site is situated?


How would you define the boundaries of your neighborhood? Note the types of land use. What percentage of land is forest/water/field/farm/yard? Talk to at least three of your neighbors about what they like or do not like about the landscape and land use. Seek out at least one long-time resident who can tell you about the neighborhood's past land use and appearance. 


Look for evidence of wildlife on your site. What wildlife might frequent your location or pass through? What are some of the habits and preferred habitat of these creatures? Will plans for your site impact their behavior? If so, how? Might your plans attract new wildlife? If so, how?


Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features of the landscape, including ecosystems, mountain ranges, watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics. What is the larger bioregion your site is a part of? What unique natural features are present in your bioregion? Bioregionalism is an environmental perspective that aims to define the boundaries of a bioregion in terms of topography, plant and animal life, as well as human culture. What human attitudes and values do you think distinguish your bioregion? 

Complete this assignment by sharing the following via the submit button below. (Ideally put all in a single document. If needed submit the map as a separate file.)

  • Watershed: Share a map of your watershed and briefly describe in a paragraph what you learned about your watershed.
  • Neigborhood: Describe what you learned about your neighborhood's history and current status. What might you envision for the future of this neighborhood?
  • Wildlife: Share the connections among wildlife and your current site or future plans.
  • Bioregion: Give an elevator pitch for your bioregion as if you are trying to convince everyone to move there.