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Lakeshore Living

Designing Lake Places and Communities in the Footprints of Environmental Writers

Paul J. Radomski, Kristof Van Assche

Publication Year: 2014

In this remarkable and remarkably accessible synthesis of ecology, landscape design, and social sciences, the authors present an approach to lakeshore living that addresses the need to create rich, sustainable places and communities on the water, where both the loon and the family find a place, and where the cabin can be handed down with integrity to the grandchildren. Fragile shorelands require care, and that caring comes from knowledge, experience, and an environmental ethic. Radomski and Van Assche argue that an environmentally sensitive lakeshore place and community design is the way forward. While many factors affect the quality of lakes and lakeshore living, property owners and local communities do not have to wait until policies are perfect: the design approach advocated here can be applied in any place people living lakeside can get together and collaborate. The approach presented here is proactive and context sensitive: new designs have to fit the existing ecological, cultural, and policy landscapes. Development is always re-development in this sense. The authors introduce the reader step-by-step to this approach and carefully discuss leverage points that can be helpful in implementation and system change.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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Randall Arendt

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pp. vii-viii

Once in a great while a book is written that captures the essence of its subject in a captivating and informative manner, and this is one of those rare volumes.
Readers will not only learn much from the well- researched text, but will enjoy the prose, which is fluid and retains one’s interest, page after page. To discuss complex topics, and complex contributors to the field over the past seventy- five years, and render them readily...

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pp. ix-xii

We believe in challenging the status quo on lakeshore development. We believe in the need to rethink how we develop our lake lots, lay out our neighborhoods, and form our communities. We want to help people make beautiful places to live. This is a book for people who live on the shores or recreate on lakes, and it is for those with an interest in improving lakeshore living in a more sustainable and just manner. This book offers ways to live...


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pp. xiii-xvi

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pp. 1-8

We are not dealing with a luxury problem affecting only the leisure class and lake lovers. We are dealing with a web of issues that we cannot afford to ignore. Failing to design our lakeshore places and to leverage the system changes that we will later identify will jeopardize existing lakeshore qualities and values, and we may miss the opportunities to create new qualities for lakes. Our lakeshore living needs reinvention. We believe in a better way of...

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Part One - North American Lakes

While a river appears to change with its flow, we generally perceive that a lake only changes with the seasons. We often interact with the lake in the summer, so we may have some understanding and appreciation for summer lake ecology. However, winter lake phenomena are often hidden from us, with the comings and goings of lake plants and animals unknown and underappreciated. Understanding our lake increases our sense of place...

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Chapter 1. Lake Parts

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pp. 11-28

It has been estimated that there are about three million lakes greater than 25 acres (0.1 square kilometers) on the planet. These lakes are not distributed evenly over the world’s landmasses. Earth’s north temperate zone, including North America, is lake rich; Minnesota is called the land of ten thousand lakes, and Finland is called the land of thousands...

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Chapter 2. Lake Ecology

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pp. 29-36

Ecology is the study of the relationship of organisms to one other and to their physical environment. Natural selection, predator– prey interactions, and population dynamics are all included within the framework of ecology. Like other disciplines of biology, ecology is based on the fundamental science of physics. Within ecosystems, the laws of science, such as the thermodynamic laws are often hidden to the casual observer by the...

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Part Two - Scientist, Writer, and Activist

Lakes are ecosystems defined by connectivity. Understanding ecosystems is necessary if we are interested in a rich lakeshore life. Some scientific insight helps. Despite considerable improvements in the field of science and mounting evidence to support scientific statements, too often we are unwilling to accept the derived facts. People invented the scientific...

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Chapter 3. Aldo Leopold and Living in Harmony with the Land

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pp. 39-50

Aldo Leopold was a naturalist, natural resource manager, pioneering ecologist, and land ethicist. His writings include Report on a Game Survey of the North Central States (1931), Game Management (1933), A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (1949), and Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold (edited by his son, Luna Leopold, after Aldo Leopold’s death). He published more than five hundred articles, and his work...

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Chapter 4. Sigurd Olson and Protecting Wilderness

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pp. 51-60

Sigurd Olson was a man of the lakes. All his life, he was inspired, even obsessed, with lake wilderness, and he often reflected on this obsession. Familiar characters in his narrative range from the French- Canadian voyageurs (he took pride in the honorific title “bourgeois” [leader] given to him by his friends) to the animals, trees, rocks, lakes, rivers, and...

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Chapter 5. William Whyte and Human Habitat

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pp. 61-72

William Hollingsworth “Holly” Whyte Jr. was a journalist and sociologist. His work spanned numerous disciplines, including land use, rural and urban development, sociology, regulations, and public policy. He is perhaps best known for his bestselling book The Organization Man, in which he documented the diminishing individualism in American...

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Part Three - Lakeshore Development and Redevelopment

We must treat our lakes with great care. If we see a better future as a sustainable future, and if we believe that humans and the rest of nature can live together around lakes, we need capable planning, design, and policy. Leopold, Olson, and Whyte illustrated the need for careful site analysis in order to grasp the identity of places and their embeddings...

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Chapter 6. Asset Preservation

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pp. 75-88

This book is about lakeshore living, not just about lakes or about their protection. People want to use lakes. Desire creates value, and value often creates problems. To truly acknowledge the assets the land has to offer, as Aldo Leopold, in Game Management, stated, “to see why it is, how it became, and the direction and velocity of the changes,”...

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Chapter 7. Asset Creation

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pp. 89-98

By now it is clear that asset preservation and asset creation are closely interlinked. An asset only remains an asset in a suitable context, and an area improved by a design can turn existing elements and structures into real assets. A feature can go unnoticed for a long time, but once made visible and given prominence in a plan, it can become a focal element...

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Chapter 8. Connecting People and Things

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pp. 99-108

Neighborhoods that foster community and respect the environment are more than collections of people. Designing a community to connect people is always tricky. Architects and planners have often overestimated the power of design to work on social structure, social cohesion, and equality. Many of the most problematic urban neighborhoods were...

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Part Four - Making Good Things Happen Around Us

Making good things happen around us requires understanding of ecosystems, human behavior, government, and socioeconomic systems. If we want to work toward the vision of healthy, sustainable lakeshore living, then our ideas must be translated into governance and planning institutions. And these will only function if citizens trust them, see...

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Chapter 9. Culture and Governance

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pp. 111-126

The loon has no possessions. It occupies the lake without regard for who owns the shore or how opulent the neighborhood. The loon is looking to make a good life, and it seeks a connection with place and a territory to raise a family. This bird has evolved to be a great swimmer and fisher of northern lakes and southern coastal waters. The loon knows...

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Chapter 10. System Changing

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pp. 127-142

Leopold, Olson, and Whyte wrote about the causes of many of our lakeshore problems and strove to provide solutions. Leopold concluded that the protection of our native landscapes required an expansion of our ethics and that government could and should only play a limited role. Olson worked to engage governments to protect wilderness...

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Chapter 11. Our Lake, Our Responsibility

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pp. 143-146

Ecologically, every place is unique, and human history and culture add layers to that uniqueness. Water is vital ecologically and culturally. Today, ecosystems and ecological values are under increasing threat, and human nature is such that new threats continue to emerge. Living close to the water’s edge disturbs one of the ecosystem’s most vulnerable...

Notes and Recommended Reading

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pp. 147-184


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pp. 185-208


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pp. 209-212

E-ISBN-13: 9781609174088
E-ISBN-10: 1609174089
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611861181
Print-ISBN-10: 1611861187

Page Count: 228
Illustrations: 25
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1st