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About The Nature of Cities

The mission of The Nature of Cities is to promote worldwide dialog about the character of green cities among a broad diversity of people, from architects to scientists, from practitioners to entrepreneurs—transformational dialog that leads to the design of better cities, that are more livable, resilient and sustainable.

TNOC is a virtual magazine and discussion site on cities as ecosystems. It is a global collective of contributors, an essay, long-form, media,  and discussion site—an idea hive—devoted to cities as social-ecological spaces, ecosystems of people, buildings, open spaces, and nature. We believe that city design with nature and public open space at the metaphorical center is key to urban resilience, sustainability, and livability.

Founded and curated by Dr. David Maddox (Urban Oikos Partners LLC, New York City, david.maddox@thenatureofcities.com. (With thanks to Mike Houck of Portland, Oregon)

Cities are fundamentally ecological spaces. They are ecosystems packed with trees and vegetation that comprise an urban forest. They house birds, insects, small mammals, diverse ecological habitats, and more. They are connected to suburban and rural areas along ecological gradients. Human well being, social justice and effective urban design is intimately connected to the health of urban ecosystems. Cities are habitat for people, and urban design with nature at the center is essential to resilience, sustainability, and livability.

We believe that the nature of cities—by which we mean cities as ecosystems of people, green and blue nature, biodiversity, and built infrastructure…habitat for people—needs more voices, more perspectives and expanded conversation about its critical importance for people and how it can be promoted, conserved, managed, and in some cases designed for the good of all.

TNOC writers are from these places.
TNOC writers are from these places.

The Nature of Cities is a platform—a virtual magazine and media sitefor a variety of content and conversations on these themes, including blogs and virtual roundtables. In the near future we will introduce other styles of conversation. We are a collaborative of 150+ writers from many disciplines and from many places around the world. New columns are published twice weekly and rotate among our roster. Virtual Roundtables, in which a dozen or so writers respond to and discuss a specific question, appear every month. Podcasts and book reviews appear more or less monthly.

We are, by design, a diverse group, and our ideas about nature in cities emerge from wide-ranging perspectives. Our contributors include activists, designers, biologists, ecologists, sociologists, economists, artists, architects, landscape architects, nature writers, leaders of community organizations, public space managers, lawyers, and leaders in international organizations. We live and work in 23 countries and six continents. The study, understanding, and management of urban nature is fundamentally multidisciplinary, and the diversity in our collective honors this fact.

From what disciplines and occupations are TNOC writers? Note that many of these people wear several hats—this chart is the first thing they call themselves, but not the only thing.
From what disciplines and occupations are TNOC writers? Note that many of these people wear several hats—this chart is the first thing they call themselves, but not the only thing.

Our intended audience is everyone interested in creating better cities that are resilient, sustainable, livable, and just—cities that effectively function as ecosystems and are better habitat for people. In our brief existence so far we have had over 200,000 visits, from over 3,000 cities and 140 countries.

We crave dialogue and comments from our readers. So please keep in touch.

Each of the opinions expressed in publications on our site are the author’s own and emerge from the vantage point of his or her discipline, but the core themes of our writing are human habitat, nature, ecosystems and biodiversity in urban settings, especially as they relate to sustainability, resilience, livability, and human well-being.

Rights to each essay and its images are held jointly by the authors and designers/photographers of the particular piece and The Nature of Cities. Rights to the site as a whole are held by The Nature of Cities.

Advisory Board:
Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
P.K. Das, Mumbai
Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro
Mike Houck, Portland
Andre Mader, Montreal
Mary Rowe, New York

The Nature of Cities® is a 501(c)3 organization (status: applied for) and is a registered trademark.

Our site launched on 12 June 2012 and was designed by Juan Pablo at jupago.com.

©2012-2015 The Nature of Cities®. The Nature of Cities if a registered trademark.  All rights reserved.