The Introduction presents a broad overview of the environmental planning agenda detailed by Ian McHarg in the 1969 text Design with Nature and it describes how his ideas evolved in parallel with his spatial explorations until they became an all-encompassing design theory that encompassed natural history, sociology, religion, ethics, and aesthetics. The Introduction also explains how subsequent chapters of the text position McHarg’s approach to design within the political, social, and cultural discourse of the 1950s and 1960s. Of particular interest in this regard, is the tension between his desire, as a dedicated modernist, to define and systematize a unified theory of design, and his equally strong desire, as a committed regionalist, to reveal and honor local character. To understand these related but conflicting ambitions, the Introduction calls attention to McHarg’s analytic and narrative skills and how he used these talents to promote a broad and provocative reading of ecology that he claimed unified art, science, and society. In this discussion, order is defined as the organization of the events and objects of everyday life. The terms nature, design, ecology and environment, as used by McHarg, are also defined.