Cities are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure



Pact for the Mountains photomontage, Fundación Cerros de Bogotá (Mountains of Bogota Foundation) Photo: FCB Pact. Fotomontaje Pacto por los Cerros, Fundación Cerros de Bogotá
November 29, 2015 Democratizing Sustainability Conversations to Create Resilience from the Soul Diana Wiesner,  Bogota

(Una versión en español sigue inmediatamente después.) “We must remember that what we observe isn’t nature itself, but rather nature exposed to our method of questioning and perceiving.” —Werner Heisenberg In order to talk about sustainability on an urban level, it is fundamental to have an understanding of the social particularities produced by the historical, economic and cultural context of...

1 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


November 5, 2015 Green Form and Function versus Green Nativism: In changing urban spaces full of novel ecosystems and natural assemblages, is native purity a viable option? Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Erle Ellis,  Baltimore |  Leonie Fischer,  Berlin |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Madhusudan Katti,  Fresno |  Ingo Kowarik,  Berlin |  Mark McDonnell,  Melbourne |  Colin Meurk,  Lincoln, NZ |  Matt Palmer,  New York City |  Bill Toomey,  Sandy Hook |  Yolanda van Heezik,  Dunedin |  Paula Villagra,  Los Rios |  11 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


May 13, 2015 The City Bee. TNOC Podcast Episode 005 Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona
David Maddox, New York City

Also available at iTunes. Story notes: (See the companion essay here.) Bees have always been a part of the city landscape. But something is happening in the world today that’s making their presence more noticeable. Whether it’s because people love honey or want to better understand bee behavior or are looking for sustainable ways to support the vital pollinator ecosystem, people’s interest...

0 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


Pale Male and Lola 2
November 23, 2015 Including Animals’ Perspectives Can Expand How We Define Cities Chris Hensley, Fresno

A review of Urban Animals: Crowding in Zoocities, by Tora Holmberg. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-138-83288-6. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. 164 pages. Cities are largely viewed as cultural constructs, built by humans for humans. However, the reality is that animals, whether wild or domesticated, also participate in the creation and definition of cities as sociopolitical spaces. Animals are a part of...

0 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


Xero Waste Feature
November 24, 2015 My Experiment with One Week of Zero Waste Briana Liu, Beijing

This past summer in Beijing, my coworker initiated a zero waste campaign for the office. Under the campaign, we pledged to live zero waste (or, at least, to consciously minimize our waste to the most practical degree) for as long as we wanted to or could. Zero waste is an ideology that strives to avoid any waste generation that would...

1 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation
Dubai smog 2
November 22, 2015 Air Pollution: Urban Myths and Realities Huda Shaka, Dubai

You may have noticed ambient air quality returning to centre stage globally as a hot topic of discussion and debate. While the media coverage has helped draw attention to this critical issue, the plethora of data and views can cause confusion and can delay much-needed action. In this article, I will start with recent examples of air pollution stories that...

0 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation
November 18, 2015 Neighborhood Planning for Resilient and Livable Cities, Part 3 of 3: Montréal’s Green, Active and Healthy Neighborhoods Project Nik Luka, Montreal
Jayne Engle, Montreal

The idea of the ‘neighborhood’ is reassuring, and it is our focus in this text, which explores how neighborhoods can help us to build and rebuild better cities for people. Good neighborhoods define cities and metropolitan regions at scales that are easier for us to relate to as humans, and as suggested in the days of yore by Gans (1962,...

0 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation
Up close and personal: portrait of a moose standing beside the window of an Anchorage home. Used with permission of Alaska Department of Fish and Game
November 15, 2015 Close Encounters of the Moose Kind Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

Now a century old, Anchorage has at various times during its short history proclaimed itself the “Air Crossroads of the World,” a “City of Lights” and a place of “Big Wild Life” (the latter for the community’s “perfect blend of urbanity and wilderness”). But I have long believed—and yes, opined in my writings—that Alaska’s urban center could easily be called...

1 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


Sep,2015 What is the insurance value of urban ecosystems and their services? Victor Beumer,  Delft |  Henry Booth,  West Chester |  Mitchell Chester,  Miami |  Thomas Elmqvist,  Stockholm |  Alexandros Gasparatos,  Tokyo |  Jaroslav Mysiak,  Venice |  Rob Tinch,  Brussels |  Henrik von Wehrden,  Lüneburg |  Francis Vorhies,  Divonne-les-Bains |  Koko Warner,  Bonn | 
2 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation
Aug,2015 Why don’t all public buildings have green roofs? Or all large private buildings (e.g. businesses)? Would this be a good idea? What would it take to make it happen and to make it worthwhile? Maryam Akbarian,  Tehran |  Wolfgang Ansel,  Nürtingen |  Nathalie Baumann,  Basel |  Michael Berkshire,  Chicago |  Rebecca Bratspies,  New York City |  Amy Chomowicz,  Portland |  Andrew Clements,  Corinth |  Karla Dakin,  Denver |  Stuart Gaffin,  New York |  Dusty Gedge,  London |  André Gonçalves,  Goiânia |  Ulrike Grau,  Mexico City |  Angela Loder,  Denver |  Amosh Neupane,  Middlebury |  Matt Palmer,  New York City |  Kerry Ross,  Calgary |  Kaveh Samiei,  Tehran |  Julie Santos,  London & Buenos Aires |  Kate Scherer,  New York |  Mark Simmons,  Austin |  Kevin Songer,  Jacksonville |  Christine Thuring,  Sheffield | 
13 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation
Science-Practitioner Feauture
Jun,2015 10 scientists and 10 practitioners walk into a bar…what would they talk about? How can research and knowledge generation be co-created to better support practitioners and evidence-based decision making? Myla Aronson,  New Brunswick |  Georgina Avlonitis,  Cape Town |  Keith Bowers,  Charleston |  Sarah Charlop-Powers,  New York |  Haripriya Gundimeda,  Mumbai |  Bram Gunther,  New York |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Amy Hahs,  Parkville, Australia |  Fadi Hamdan,  Beirut |  John Hartig,  Detroit |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Maria E Ignatieva,  Uppsala |  Michael Jemtrud,  Montreal |  Deborah Lev,  Portland |  Louise Lezy-Bruno,  Paris |  Yvonne Lynch,  Melbourne |  Ian MacGregor-Fors,  Veracruz |  Charlie Nilon,  Columbia |  Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City |  Jose Puppim,  Montreal |  Rebecca Salminen Witt,  Detroit |  Eric Sanderson,  New York |  Philip Silva,  New York | 
31 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation
NEW YORK (Nov. 4, 2012) Damage Control Fireman Louis Durante waits along Rockaway Beach in Queens, N.Y., for a dewatering team from the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17). Durante, from New York, was on leave when Hurricane Sandy struck and met the dewatering team to help dewater apartment complexes in Rockaway Beach. The U.S. Navy has positioned forces in the area to assist U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) in support of FEMA and local civil authorities following the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Terah L. Mollise/Released) 121104-N-GZ984-062
Join the conversation
May,2015 Taking “resilience” out of the realm of metaphor. How do you measure resilience in cities? How would you know if your city or your community was resilient? Keren Bolter,  Fort Lauderdale |  Cezar Busatto,  Porto Alegre |  Lorenzo Chelleri,  L'Aquila |  William Dunbar,  Tokyo |  Thomas Elmqvist,  Stockholm |  Antoine Faye,  Dakar |  Richard Friend,  Bangkok |  Lance Gunderson,  Atlanta |  Tom Henfrey,  Bristol |  Patricia Holly,  Barcelona and Nairobi |  Dan Lewis,  Barcelona and Nairobi |  Rachna Leveque,  London |  Shuaib Lwasa,  Kampala |  Timon McPhearson,  New York |  Franco Montalto,  Philadelphia and Venice |  Luciana Nery,  Rio de Janeiro |  Henk Ovink,  The Hague |  Elisabeth Peyroux,  Paris |  Catherine Sutherland,  Durban |  Pakamas Thinphanga,  Bangkok |  Claire Weisz,  New York |  Daniel Zarrilli,  New York | 
20 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation



December 17, 2014 Magical Thinking in the Age of Green Stephanie Pincetl,  Los Angeles

We are not in the Age of Aquarius that had brought—to some of us—radical hope about societal change and a turn toward ecology, steady state growth, and different GDP metrics, including happiness. The age was about...

3 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


from terra nova Feature Credit Eddie Opara
May 2, 2015 A World without Cars, as Imagined by Eric Sanderson Paul White,  New York City

A review of: Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars and Suburbs, by Eric W. Sanderson. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4197-0434-5. Abrahams, New York. 351 pages. “…and thus we layered a continent with asphalt and linoleum.”—Eric Sanderson (Terra Nova) In 2010, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West was transformed with a protected bike lane and pedestrian refuges. Overnight, speeding traffic was replaced with lighter,...

0 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


Photo: Harini Nagendra
June 26, 2013 Equity in the Urban Commons Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore

The Nature of Cities collective blog is now over a year old, during which time my friends, colleagues and co-authors have written many fascinating articles on various aspects of nature, and on people-nature interactions in urban environments. Today, in my blog, I’d like to step away from my previous two pieces—a discussion of tree diversity in Bangalore, and a tale...

0 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation


November 5, 2015 Opportunities and Challenges in Working with Volunteers in Local Parks Lynn Wilson,  Vancouver

The urge to contribute one’s time, without compensation, to benefit a closely held cause or purpose appears to be a deeply rooted human need because volunteerism is found everywhere, in various forms and for every conceivable reason. For instance, every year, more than 13 million people volunteer in Canada, 63 million people volunteer in the U.S., 20 million people volunteer...

0 Comment(s)
Join our Conversation