Richard Register grew up near Santa Fe, New Mexico, with the end of the world perched on the mountain across the Rio Grande Valley, namely Los Alamos – where they designed the atomic bomb. Probably the biggest influence on his thinking about cities and nature was Paolo Soleri — whom he ran into at 21 years of age. He was profoundly influenced by Soleri’s enormous positive energy, commitment to building and clear conceptualization of the problem of cities.
Putting the city into context with evolution, given his appreciation and enjoyment of nature, was a natural for Richard and wanting to rescue humanity from the insanity of war too, 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… that probably was of some “ecocity” influence too.
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 outline some of the defining influences the world has had upon Richard to date, and he on the world, through his work and creative activism.