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Inhabiting the Sacred in Everyday Life

How to Design a Place That Touches Your Heart, Stirs You to Consecrate and Cultivate It as Home, Dwell Intentionally within It, Slay Monsters for It, and Let It Loose in Your Democracy
Randolph T. Hester, Jr., and Amber D. Nelson

BUY Paper · 300 pp. · 8 × 10 · ISBN 9781938086656 · $39.50 · Apr 2019

Human beings in the 21st century hunger, often unconsciously, for places to live that are more than efficient, economical machines. Inhabiting the Sacred offers sound and innovative guidance to both citizens and planning professionals who seek to transform public spaces into sites that answer not only practical needs but spiritual and humanitarian needs as well. The book explains how to give form in everyday landscapes to our most deeply held values and most ennobling purposes, thus turning profane spaces into sacred places.

This transformation may be accomplished in interior and exterior private and civic spaces alike. Complex projects may require the assistance of a professional designer and planner, but many projects can be carried out by the individual or family. The processes and techniques described in these pages may even assist indigenous people or other groups in defending territories crucial to their cultural survival. To shape neighborhood and civic space into sacred place requires a partnership between citizens, government and public officials, planners and designers; this book is a resource for all who play these various roles in their communities.

The book is organized as a practical guide to creating more meaningful and fulfilling habitation that harmonizes with local culture and personal experiences. Each chapter provides theory, case studies, and how-to techniques aggregated from nearly fifty years of research and practice of embedding values into public landscapes.

About the Author: 

Randolph T. Hester Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, the Director of the Center for Ecological Democracy, and a practicing landscape architect in North Carolina. He is the author, most recently, of Design for Ecological Democracy.

Amber D. Nelson is an independent landscape designer based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the South America Destination Manager for a sustainable place-based travel company, Context Travel.

Frederick R. Steiner is Dean of the School of Design and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

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