Richard Register grew up near Santa Fe, New Mexico, a city at the end of the world, perched
on the mountain across the Rio Grande Valley. Not too far away was Los Alamos – where the U.S. govenment designed the atomic bomb. Probably the biggest influence on his thinking about cities and nature came from Paolo Soleri — an architect and eco-visionary whom he met at 21 years of age. Richard was profoundly influenced by Soleri’s enormous positive energy, commitment to building and clear conceptualization of the problem of cities.
Given Richard’s appreciation and enjoyment of nature, putting the city into context with evolution was a natural for Richard. Motivating him, too, was a desire to rescue humanity from the insanity of war, inclusive of the war of humans against nature – the shock troops being cities. That Santa Fe was originally a pedestrian city and the best parts of it still are.
Said Richard in a 1990 interview with Robert Gilman for In Context magazine,
Cities are in the nature of people. We like being close together, and there are certain economies of scale involved. But the impacts of cities now are very big and extremely negative. That’s not too surprising, since so many people live in them and they are the focal point of enormous energy use and pollution production.
So the question is, can these built environments be a good neighbor to nature? Are there ways of rebuilding them so they can become ecologically healthy?
Over the course of his adult life, Richard has been exploring these concepts and ideas in great depth and detail. The following pages (links in the right side bar) outline some of the defining influences the world has had upon Richard and he on the world, through his work and creative activism.