PETAL INTENT The intent of the Place Petal is to realign how people understand and relate to the natural environment that sustains us. The built environment must reconnect with the ecology of place and the unique characteristics found in every community so that story can be honored, protected and enhanced. The Place Petal clearly articulates where it is acceptable for people to build, how to protect and restore a place once it has been developed, and how to encourage the creation of communities that are once again based on the pedestrian rather than the automobile. In turn, these communities need to be supported by a web of local and regional agriculture that encourages the consumption of local, fresh and seasonal food. The continued spread of sprawl development and the vastly increasing number of global megalopolises threaten the few wild places that remain. The decentralized nature of our communities impedes our capacity to feed ourselves in a sustainable way and also increases transportation impacts and pollution. The overly dense urban centers in turn crowd out healthy natural systems, isolating culture from a sense of place. As prime land for construction diminishes, more development tends to occur in sensitive areas that are easily harmed or destroyed. Invasive species threaten ecosystems, which are already weakened by the constant pressure of existing human developments. The impact of single-occupancy fossil fuel vehicles on global climate change is devastating. Fortunately, alternatives are plentiful from public transit and car sharing to electric vehicles and bicycles. IDEAL CONDITIONS + CURRENT LIMITATIONS The Living Building Challenge envisions a world full of compact, connected communities with healthy rather than inhumane levels of density—inherently conserving the natural resources that support human health and the farmlands that feed us, while also inviting natural systems back into the daily fabric of our lives. As previously disturbed areas are restored, the trend is reversed, and nature’s functions are invited back into a healthy interface with people. Human behavior and attitudes are the most significant barriers to transforming our surroundings. As the global population reaches unprecedented levels, the pressures to develop previously undeveloped land are even stronger than before and the solutions to develop in a restorative and healthy fashion even more imperative.