Growing Companies

Some companies, when choosing a name, manage to obscure what they do or what their products are.

But with the planning/design studio Human Nature, the name says it all - the Mount Adams firm looks for ways to combine and reconnect people with their natural environments, and with each other.

The landscaping architectural company started with an emphasis on public open spaces and open-space systems, working mostly with cities and other governments. Over the past 15 years, it has grown and evolved into working with other public agencies, universities, and non-profits with similar interests.

"We are really considered a leader in green infrastructure," said Christopher Manning, a landscape architect and one of the firm's principals.

The group helps design parks - it's the architect of record for the renovation and expansion of Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine; it wrote the master plan seeking to preserve and enhance the rustic character of Covington's Devou Park; and it did several projects at the University of Cincinnati, including the design and development of Gettler Soccer, Track and Field Venue, and Lindner Varsity Village.

In addition, it has designed projects to help improve urban spaces in Covington, Ky., Fort Thomas, Ky., and downtown Cincinnati, to connect them closer to their natural environments.

"We decided we wanted to focus on projects that make the world a better place," Manning said. "We wanted to focus on connecting people to the world around them."

Manning and Gary Wolnitzek started the firm in 1995. Since then, it has added an associate principal, David Whittaker, and has grown to 11 employees, including eight landscape architects and two environmental planners. In addition to its clients in government and education, it has a few corporate clients, such as GE Aviation, and has worked on projects in Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland, Louisville, Ky., as well as in Maryland, Texas, and across the world in China.

It offers land analysis, planning, design and management. It looks to build a sustainable and environmentally friendly design in each of its projects, looking at everything from land restoration to scenic corridors to public gardens to stormwater management, Manning said. Each project, he said, must be unique because each space is unique.

"We are change agents, continually learning and innovating," Manning said. "(We) practice design as an act of celebration."

Writer: Paul Long
Source: Christopher Manning, Principal/Landscape Architect, Human Nature, Inc.
Human Nature
990 St. Paul Place
Cincinnati, OH 45206