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  • Adrian Benepe
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  • Amosh Neupane
  • Amy Chomowicz
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  • Ana Faggi
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  • Andrés Flajszer
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  • Anna Bubnova
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  • Anne Trumble
  • Antoine Faye
  • Barbara Deutsch
  • Ben Bradlow
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  • Bongani Mnisi
  • Boyi Zhou
  • Bradley Rink
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  • Buyana Kareem
  • Camilo Ordoñez
  • Candice Russell
  • Caragh Threlfall
  • Catherine Sutherland
  • Cecilia Herzog
  • Cezar Busatto
  • Chan-Won Lee
  • Joana Chan & Bryce DuBois
  • Chankook Kim
  • Chantal van Ham
  • Charlie Nilon
  • Chris Hensley
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  • Chris Jordan
  • Christine Thuring
  • Chris Payne
  • Claire Robinson
  • Claire Weisz
  • Colin Meurk
  • Daniel Feinberg
  • Dan Lewis
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  • Darlene Wolnik
  • David Burg
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  • Deborah Lev
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  • Diane Pataki
  • Diego Borrero
  • Divya Gopal
  • Doreen Adengo
  • Dusty Gedge
  • Elisabeth Peyroux
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  • Elliott Maltby
  • Emilio Fantin
  • Eric Sanderson
  • Erika Svendsen
  • Fadi Hamdan
  • Fengping Yang
  • Francois Mancebo
  • Franco Montalto
  • Gareth Haysom
  • Gavin Van Horn
  • Genie Birch
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  • Ian MacGregor-Fors
  • Irene Guida
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  • Philip Silva
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  • Sebastian Miguel
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  • Wolfgang Ansel
  • Pengfei Xie
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  • Yvonne Lynch
  • August, 2015

    August 30, 2015

    feature2
    Biocultural Diversity and the Diverse City: A Model for Linking Nature and Culture
    William Dunbar, Tokyo

    The concept of biocultural diversity— the coming together of biological and cultural diversity—is receiving more attention recently along with an awareness that elements of cultures all around the world are deeply rooted in the nature, or biological diversity, around them, and that greater cultural diversity comes with greater biological diversity....

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    August 26, 2015

    feature2
    Inspiring Urban Youth for a Biodiversity-Friendly Approach to Development
    Oliver Hillel, Montreal
    Manuela Gervasi, Montreal

    The challenge of integrated approaches We all know that we are living in a deep crisis regarding the rate of our use of natural resources. We also know that addressing these problems will have inter-related and resonating effects. Such interconnection also has good aspects. Smart catalytic action can produce benefits across many levels—science...

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    August 24, 2015

    yemenfloods 2013 FEATURE
    Risk: How Can We Put the UN, Governments, and the Public on the Same Page?
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut

    Urban populations—and the associated concentration of livelihoods and assets in cities—continue to increase worldwide, thereby increasing exposure to hazards. Coupled with aging infrastructure and housing stock, this trend leads to an increase in vulnerability. And this vulnerability is compounded by climate-change driven storms, sea-level rise, and associated flooding and landslides....

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    August 19, 2015

    Bus and Trail sign FEATURE
    Getting Our Nature On: Take a Train and Start Walking
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    How to bring together nature, fitness, and public transportation. A few weeks ago, my partner, Lluís, and I wanted to go for a two-day trek, to test some camping gear, to sleep outdoors, and to listen to birds while walking under the shade of pine trees. But we didn’t want...

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    August 16, 2015

    ©2015 National Park City, London.
    London: A National Park City
    David Goode, London

    Something very significant is happening in London. It’s a plan to make London the world’s first National Park City. Now that’s an idea that could catch on in a very big way. Over the past 18 months, a movement has been growing, drawing together Londoners who want to apply National...

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    August 12, 2015

    open mumbai exhibition FEATURE
    Let Streams of Linear Open Spaces Flow Across Urban Landscapes
    PK Das, Mumbai

    Can we re-envision our cities with a stream of linear open spaces, defining a new geography of cities? Can we break away from large, monolithic spaces and geometric structures into fluid open spaces, meandering, modulating and negotiating varying city terrains, as rivers and watercourses do? This way, the new structure of...

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    August 10, 2015

    Langer Tag der Stadtnatur - Boat at Treptower Park
    Urban Nature as Festival: Berlin’s Long Day of Urban Nature
    Katharine Burgess, Berlin

    Just before 10 am one Sunday this June, 300 people prepared for a boat ride on the River Spree, lining up in a park next to the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall. The boat was a cheerful blue and yellow passenger vessel, mostly used for river tourist excursions...

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    August 2, 2015

    TreeKitNYCFeature
    Mapping the Forest for the Trees: A Census Grows in the Five Boroughs
    Philip Silva, New York

    New York City is home to more than 600,000 street trees, according to some estimates. But good luck finding any one of those trees on a map—that is, until now. For the first time ever, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is working with thousands of volunteers to measure...

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    July, 2015

    July 26, 2015

    6. Community protests to save a polluted lake in Bangalore
    Ecologically Smart Cities: Keeping Urban Ecosystems Centre Stage in India’s Smart Cities Programme
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    On a path of accelerated urbanization, India is going through substantial changes in its land cover and land use. In 1950, shortly after Indian independence, only 17 percent of the country’s population lived in cities. Today, India’s urban population stands at 33 percent. India contains three of the world’s ten...

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    July 22, 2015

    ANother favourite garden_TOC photoFEATURE
    How Does Your Garden Grow? Stories from South African Gardeners
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    Why do we plant what we do in our personal gardens? It turns out it’s driven by a complicated mix of personal philosophy and social posturing, which sometimes are at odds. And, it turns out, in South Africa and many other countries, we don’t even plant our own gardens. This...

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    July 19, 2015

    comp model front deck
    It’s all in the Details: Two Missouri Schools Team up to Design Tornado Resistant Home
    Traci Sooter, Springfield

    Designing for resilience is a complex undertaking. As David Maddox states in The Nature of Cities Global Roundtable, “to design for resilience suggests we can identify it, plan for it” and that “It’s a steep challenge, community by community”. Identifying, planning, and designing for location-specific resilience is just what a...

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    July 15, 2015

    ManahattaTransformationEricSanderson
    The Rent is too Damned High: The Nature of Cities and the Original Gentrification
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    “The rent is too damned high.” You hear it on the subway, you hear it on the news, and you hear it exclaimed even by mild-mannered conservationists while perambulating in the park. The rising cost of urban housing is on everyone’s mind, from Mayor Bill de Blasio to the chattering...

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    July 12, 2015

    HerzogFEATURE
    Landscape, Cities, and the Pope: a Shift for a Better Future?
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    I believe that urban landscape matters! The landscape in which one grows up, matures, and lives life may be the essential factor in determining the behavior towards and empathy with nature and with other people and their cultures. The landscape can even be the way we connect to ourselves. The...

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    July 8, 2015

    Unintentionally Immersed in NatureFEATURE
    Wild in Detroit: Realizing Opportunity in a New Nature
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit

    Of all the cities in America, Detroit, Michigan may provide us with the best opportunity to discover how to create a connection to nature within an urban population. Detroit is a place of glass and asphalt and steel juxtaposed block by block with wild prairies, emerging woodlands, and re-emergent wetlands....

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    July 2, 2015

    Feature
    Open Wells and Urban Resilience
    Hita Unnikrishnan, Bangalore
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    What happens to a city’s traditional foundations of service delivery when it expands boundaries and enhances its infrastructure? Does the city still concern itself with the maintenance of the supply structures that were once essential for the city? The case of the disappearing wells and polluted lakes in the south...

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    June, 2015

    June 28, 2015

    Count me in FEATURE
    Count Me In: Urban Greening and the Return of Primates in Kampala
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    As urban areas explode around us, competition is heightened between nature and built landscapes. There is a salient competition between biodiversity on the one hand and structures—infrastructure installations—on the other. In Kampala, this competition is manifest in how deliberate actions of development clear natural areas for housing structures and infrastructure,...

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    June 23, 2015

    SanJuanCap2
    Is There Room for Ornamentals in the Gardens of “New” California?
    Diane Pataki, Salt Lake City
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    California has long been a center of gardening culture. With a mild climate and a history of agricultural expansion followed by rapid urbanization, California’s ornamental gardens are populated by plant species and cultivars imported from all over the world. Many of these exotic species have become iconic, such as the...

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    June 21, 2015

    Overall2
    How Can Local Design Impact Large Infrastructure Plans and Projects?
    Anna Dietzsch, São Paulo

    “Quem é rico anda em burrico Quem é pobre anda a pé Mas o pobre vê na estrada O orvalho beijando as frô… …Vai oiando as coisa a grané Coisas que prá modo de vê O cristão tem que andá a pé…” —Estrada de Canindé, Luiz Gonzaga “The rich travel by...

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    June 17, 2015

    IMG_3533_Stawell Street, Mentone_M.Dobbie-min
    Composing Raingardens in Performing Landscapes
    Meredith Dobbie, Victoria

    On a tree-lined boulevard that leads to the central business district of Melbourne lies a building that trains performers. Few would know that the landscape surrounding  the Victorian College of the Arts is also performing. This is one site among many in the city of Melbourne and its suburbs that...

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    June 14, 2015

    SignpoolWeschesterFeature
    How Can We Engage Residents to Conserve Urban Biodiversity? Talk to Them
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    If you are like me, when walking in some neighborhoods, you see the endless yards of turfgrass and exotic plants and you think to yourself, “How can I reach people to change their landscaping practices?” Or you may see natural areas impacted by nearby urban areas, such as ATV vehicles...

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    June 7, 2015

    GrafittiFeature
    Living Plans and Resilient, Happy, Included Citizens
    Diana Wiesner, Bogota

    (Una versión en español sigue inmediatamente después de la versión en Inglés.) Urban green areas and public spaces are key elements in urban infrastructure, mitigating environmental challenges, fulfilling social functions, and contributing to the ecosystems of the surrounding region. In Bogota, the concept of the Ecological Network (Van der Hammen...

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    June 3, 2015

    Fig 7
    Joplin Tornado Anniversary Marks Civic Ecology Successes
    Keith Tidball, Ithaca

    On May 22, 2011, a devastating EF-5 tornado forever changed the Midwestern cities of Joplin and Duquesne. The tornado was ½ mile to ¾ of a mile wide and traveled nearly thirteen miles, with winds estimated at 200 mph. The tornado took 161 lives and destroyed homes, businesses, churches, hospitals,...

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    May, 2015

    May 31, 2015

    Festival of Biodiversity
    “Community in Nature”: Reconnecting Singapore’s Urbanites with Nature
    Lena Chan, Singapore
    Linda Goh, Singapore
    Samantha Lai, Singapore
    Boyi Zhou, Singapore

    In an increasingly urbanised world, there is a growing disconnect between the people who live in cities and the natural environment. Urbanites tend to have less contact with natural habitats and biodiversity than their country or rural counterparts, and in some cases have been known to develop a disinterest or...

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    May 27, 2015

    Shkodra Albania - Chantal van HamFEATURE
    Cities, People, Business and Nature: In Search of Innovative Models of Engagement
    Chantal van Ham, Brussels

    Seek the silent places where no jarring sound is heard and nothing breaks the stillness but the singing of a bird. Nature tells her secrets not to those who hurry by, but to those who walk with quiet heart and seeing eye. —Chinese proverb I recently discovered that the word...

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    May 24, 2015

    4 Great Blue Heron  at Oaks Bottom Photo Mike HouckFEATURE
    Birds: Iconic Emissaries of Urban Nature
    Mike Houck, Portland

    Among the many lessons learned over my decades-long career in urban conservation is that iconography matters. Icons have proven to be powerful catalysts in the conservation arena, particularly in the urban context. Salmon, for example, are the quintessential representative of the natural world throughout the Pacific Northwest in both urban and...

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    May 20, 2015

    Fig3+4Feature
    Urban China’s Appetite for Land
    Judy Li, Beijing
    Xie Pengfei, Beijing

    Efficient land use for urban development is crucial for limiting urban sprawl, conserving nature around a city, and improving the livability of the city itself. In China, the unprecedented speed of urbanization over the past three decades has unfortunately resulted in widespread inefficient land use, creating problems that only some...

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    May 17, 2015

    RegularWasteDealers
    The Waste Economy as a Transformative Gendered Practice for Sustainable Resource Management in Urban Africa
    Buyana Kareem, Kampala

    Frameworks for understanding the gendered nature of urban waste management have yet to emerge and analyses on the relationship between sustainable urban resource management and waste re-use and recycling at the neigbourhood-level are few. Those that do exist are more focused on city-level industry and infrastructure. This article illustrates how...

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    May 13, 2015

    2015-03-23 11.59.40
    Regulating the Bee Buzz
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Most people would agree that honeybees need help. Concerns about their dwindling numbers and the pesticides used on the food they eat have rallied environmental activists around the save-the-bees cause. That increased awareness, combined with a host of other reasons including a movement to buy and produce local-made, organic honey,...

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    May 10, 2015

    Shillington Figure 7
    Birds are for Girls? What Children’s Media Teaches Kids about Nature and Cities
    Laura Shillington, San José, Costa Rica

    In his essay published on The Nature of Cities in 2013, Keitaro Ito asked what seems at first to be a simple question: “Where will children learn about nature?” Yet it is actually an incredibly complex question, caught up in adult ideas that romanticize both childhood and nature. Children’s understanding...

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    May 5, 2015

    CoyotesInNYC
    There’s a Social Element to the Nature in Cities
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    Thanks to a bunch of canny coyotes doing what coyotes do, we have recently been reminded of the increasing presence of nature in cities and the human interaction with nature, both in New York City and other cities. And these lessons are applicable not just to the many cities where...

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    April, 2015

    April 29, 2015

    Selgas Cano Office 2885_Iwan Baan
    Nature in View, Nature in Design: Reconnecting People with Nature through Design
    Whitney Hopkins, Vail and New York City

    “The more we know of other forms of life, the more we enjoy and respect ourselves…Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life.” — E.O. Wilson A recent, satirical New Yorker piece by Andy...

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    April 26, 2015

    hahs-SongoPark
    In the Future, Will We Build Cities for Wildlife and Design the Countryside for People?
    Amy Hahs, Parkville, Australia

    Cities have long been known as hotspots for innovation. In the past, much of this could be attributed to cities being the centralised physical location of businesses, investors, consumers, markets, and places of learning, and as nodes for connecting with other people and cities around the world. Yet in the...

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    April 21, 2015

    1) Natural vegetation. Credit Brian Ralphs
    A Spatial Overview of the Nature of Cities
    Andre Mader, Montreal

    I like to simplify what constitutes urban nature in a given area. I therefore thought it might be interesting to provide an overview and to ask whether anything is missing, or erroneously included. This article expresses my view of the variety of forms that could be included under the “nature...

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    April 16, 2015

    Parasitized Garden Acraea pupa
    A Tree Hitched to the Universe
    Russell Galt, Cape Town

    A wee garden in a windy city From a leafy suburb in the shadow of Table Mountain, I need not venture far to encounter a myriad of remarkable creatures employing clever survival strategies. Fighting, stalking, feigning, loving, dancing, stealing, and darting, biodiversity spills into and out of my garden. It...

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    April 12, 2015

    IMG_6096
    A Tech Touch: Connecting Beaches, Parks, and Big Data
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Smart city technology is going beyond data-collecting sensors in streetlights and on garbage containers. It’s expanding to beaches and parks, creating a feedback loop that will allow local Barcelona Metropolitan Area officials to better manage public spaces. This technology adds a layer of big-data information that, ideally, will help cities...

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    April 9, 2015

    8_Daejeon_garden_lydon
    What are “Garden Cities” Without a Garden Culture? How a Cultural Connection with Nature Can Build a Truly Sustainable Future
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    This marks the fourth year that my partner Suhee Kang and I have been studying, working with, living with, and learning from individuals in East Asia and the U.S. who are at the forefront of the sustainable (agri)culture movement. During this time, our primary goal has been the making of...

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    April 5, 2015

    photo5Feature2
    Chinese Urban Green Areas: Classic Gardens to a Globalized Landscape
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Na Xiu, Uppsala & Xi’an
    Fengping Yang, Uppsala

    In October 2014, we had a great opportunity to explore different green areas of several Chinese cities within the project “Sustainable green infrastructure in urban-rural areas of China based on eco-civilization,” which was sponsored by the Chinese Government. It was particularly interesting to see different types of greenery that reflects...

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    April 1, 2015

    SandCastlesWashingAwayPhoto--PaulDowntonFEATURE
    Signals and Snapshots from Semaphore: Musings on Design Guidelines for Urban Fractals
    Paul Downton, Adelaide

    The fractal idea revisited in an attempt to make the concept clearer on a day-to-day, more visceral basis. In my first blog for TNOC I outlined my concept of an ‘urban fractal’ and noted my fascination with the idea that “one might be able to identify patterns in urban systems...

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    March, 2015

    March 29, 2015

    nostalgic for Edinburgh Union canal
    Green Transport Routes Are Social-Cultural-Ecological Corridors
    Janice Astbury, London

    Since moving from Edinburgh to London, I have greatly missed my bicycle commute along the former’s Union Canal. There are similar routes in London, but they’re unfortunately not on my way to work. I have always sought out such corridors and they have sometimes influenced my destinations. In response to...

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    March 26, 2015

    Photo 2
    Unintended Consequences: When Environmental “Goods” Turn Bad
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    After a hectic start to 2015, I finally managed to slow down the pace. A few days ago, I attempted to catch up on some overdue readings—my way to keep in the loop. Among the many documents piling up on my computer desktop was this short podcast from TNOC: “Closing...

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    March 22, 2015

    Venice flood FEATURED IMAGE
    Lessons on Post-Resilience from Venice, 2015
    Franco Montalto, Philadelphia and Venice

    “Stronger than the storm.” I can’t get this phrase out of my head, nearly one week into my sabbatical move to Venice, Italy. It so happens that we arrived on a week when the moon and the winds lined up to create acqua alta (high water) for six days in...

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    March 18, 2015

    Photo4_Park(ing)DayFeature
    Neighborhood Planning for Resilient and Livable Cities, Part 2: Can ‘Nested’ Neighborhood Planning Lead to Urban Ecological Democracy?
    Jayne Engle, Montreal
    Nik Luka, Montreal

    Is neighborhood planning worth doing? We argued in our last blog entry (Part 1 of this series) that neighborhood planning has the potential to be transformative in improving community resilience, but that it also has a dark side. It can be divisive both spatially—by setting clear geographic ‘limits’ that signal exclusion or...

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    March 15, 2015

    Gallery 5 Refugee community garden Sacramento WhitmoreFeature
    Extinction of Experience: Does it Matter?
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca

    Right after I graduated from Cornell, I took off for the North Cascades wilderness. First as a student and later an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, I spent summers in Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, ice climbing out of crevasses, backpacking through Pacific Northwest old growth forests, and scaling ancient...

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    March 12, 2015

    DandilionSeedHeadAndTheMoonBirchfieldFeature
    It Is Difficult to Take In the Glory of the Dandelion
    David Maddox, New York City

    “It is difficult to take in all the glory of the Dandelion, as it is to take in a mountain, or a thunderstorm.” Charles Burchfield (1893–1967) is legendary for his watercolor landscapes, painted near his Buffalo, NY, home. His paintings are typically about nature: swamps and forests and backyards that include...

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    March 9, 2015

    Parks and plazas of Buenos Aires. Centenario and Rivadavia – Parks (above left and right); Misericordia and Pueyrredón Plazas (below left and right).
    Why Do People Use Parks and Plazas in Buenos Aires?
    Jonathan Craik, London
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Sebastian Miguel, Buenos Aires
    Leslie Vorraber, Buenos Aires

    Parks have been significant sources of open space in urban history, ranging from private, even sacred spaces to fully public spaces serving as central points of social interaction and recreation (Stanley et al. 2012). On any given day, many thousands of people spend several hours outdoors in their local park...

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    March 4, 2015

    LindsayCampbellPlantsATree
    Encountering the Urban Forest
    Lindsay Campbell, New York

    For all the critical scholarship that is written about the harnessing of volunteer labor in caring for urban trees (see, e.g., Perkins 2009), it never squared with my experience of engaging in stewardship. Following attendance at a human geography panel on ‘powerful objects’, I came to realize that my leisure...

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    March 1, 2015

    Nankeen_Night_Heron_web
    Citizen Science in the City: Lessons from Melbourne’s BioBlitz
    Chris Ives, Melbourne
    Yvonne Lynch, Melbourne
    Caragh Threlfall, Melbourne
    Mark Norman, Melbourne

    Every day, citizen scientists contribute their time and energy to support thousands of research projects around the world (Bonney et al., 2014). They collect, categorize, and analyze data, generously volunteering their time and their personal resources in return for little other than recreational enjoyment or the personal satisfaction of helping...

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    February, 2015

    February 26, 2015

    Photo: Mar Morey
    The Secret Life of Bees: Using Big Data and Citizen Science to Unravel…What Bees Are Saying about the Environment
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Once you start talking about bees, you open Pandora’s box…You’ll find small and very delicate stories behind them. Each one is interesting. — Josep Perelló, associate professor and project leader of OpenSystems UB at the Universitat de Barcelona If Josep Perelló is right about discovering the stories behind bees, Barcelona’s...

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    February 22, 2015

    boardwalk design Sasaki-RutgersFEATURE
    Marriage Therapy for Ecologists and Landscape Architects
    Steven Handel, New Brunswick

    Hello. Come in. What’s on your mind? Why have you come to chat with me? “We have such different backgrounds” Ecologists’ interest start with an exploration of the natural world, its structure and function. Architects and landscape architects start with human needs and how constructed features can answer those needs....

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    February 18, 2015

    1581_Bunting_clover_leaf_mapFEATURE
    The Nature of Holy Cities
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    While it is undoubtedly true that thousands of cities around the world share a wide spectrum of common denominators, from garbage to biodiversity, from air pollution to sophisticated bike-path networks, or from unemployment to entrepreneurship (to mention only a sample few) it is perhaps important to examine common urban denominators...

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    February 15, 2015

    Tiger hunting in India 1880’sFeature
    The Wild Beast as the Other: Framing of Urban Wildlife in Popular Imagination
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    India is on a rapid path to urbanisation. While currently only 30% of India’s population lives in cities, this is changing rapidly. Plans have been recently announced to build 100 new “smart cities” across India, with an ambitious plan that includes the proposed investment of 1.2 billion US dollars in...

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    February 11, 2015

    Radipole Lake
    Unintended Consequences Can Be Opportunities for Conservation
    David Goode, London

    In reviewing the wildlife habitats of British towns and cities for my recent book Nature in Towns and Cities (Harper Collins 2014) I became acutely aware that many of the UK’s most spectacular urban wetlands resulted from industrial activities. The most extensive of these are newly created lakes that formed...

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    February 4, 2015

    TenochtitlanFeature
    The Bright Side of Indigenous Urbanization for Biodiversity 
    Henrique Mercer, Montreal
    Viviana Figueroa, Montreal
    Andre Mader, Montreal
    Oliver Hillel, Montreal

    Over time, cities originated wherever indigenous cultures agglomerated and planned links between their settlements and peri-urban ecosystems for the provision of water, food and other goods and services. Not by coincidence, these settlements often occurred in biodiversity hotspots—and we know that historically cities were hotbeds for innovation of all sorts....

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    February 1, 2015

    Beijing Landfill
    Ways Forward from China’s Urban Waste Problem
    Judy Li, Beijing

    Urban waste management is a crucial component of our constant interaction with the environment within and around our cities. Managing waste efficiently and sustainably is a unique challenge for us all that depends on development trends, socioeconomic composition, political situation, and a host of other factors. This dependence is especially...

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    January, 2015

    January 28, 2015

    FIG7Feature
    “Growing Place” Revisited: After 12 Years, Children’s Activity in the School Biotope Project
    Keitaro Ito, Kyushu

    There has been a rapid decrease in the amount of open or natural space in Japan in recent years, particularly in urban areas due to the development of housing. Preserving these areas as wildlife habitats and spaces where children can play is a very important issue nowadays. I wrote about...

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    January 25, 2015

    wildlifecrossingFeature
    What Do Developers Think About Managing for Biodiversity in Conservation Developments? 
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Daniel Feinberg, Seattle

    Recently, a popular concept called conservation development (CD) has gained traction in many planning and design fields. CDs typically are developments where homes are clustered on small lots with the remaining areas conserved as open space, as opposed to traditional development, where homes are spread out, fragmenting the original natural...

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    January 21, 2015

    ElquiValleyGaffiti
    Designing with Nature: Insights for Drought Resilience and Carbon in Elqui Valley, Chile
    Paula Villagra, Los Rios

    Measures taken in cities to improve their adaptation to drought and for carbon sequestration are usually based on general standards to reduce water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and/or to reach an efficient use of water and energy. Normally, these proposals are introduced using ‘globalized’ technologies, which are applied everywhere...

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    January 18, 2015

    Human Developmen tIndex. Source: http://www.ourworldindata.org/data/economic-development-work-standard-of-living/human-development-index/
    Wishing You All a ‘Prosperous’ New Year—But What Does Prosperous Mean?
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai

    The year 2014 seemed a long year when it came a year ago but passed by very quickly giving way to another long New Year and fresh hope that the world would be prosperous. What does it mean for all the countries in the world to be Prosperous? It requires creating...

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    January 14, 2015

    Attractive “Task Cards” invite volunteer gardeners to track the time they donate for different activities—making it easy for a coordinator to tally up all of the volunteer time that goes into a garden each year. Photo: Philip Silva
    Making the Measure: A Toolkit for Tracking the Outcomes of Community Gardens and Urban Farms 
    Philip Silva, New York

    Community gardeners and urban farmers across North America are using an innovative research toolkit developed in New York City to measure and track the impacts of their work. A small group of dedicated gardeners created the toolkit in mid-2013 as part of the Five Borough Farm initiative of the Design...

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    January 11, 2015

    DancingInAFieldOfFlowers
    Seeing and Seeding the Potential of Urban Life
    Richard Scott, Liverpool

    Land really is the best art. I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want. —Andy Warhol The new year is a good time to look back before looking forward: this blog offers opportunity to take stock of 2014, which was...

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    January 7, 2015

    WTB 2
    Small Civic-Led Indigenous Planting Schemes: Simply Feel Good Stuff or a Real Ecological Contribution?
    Georgina Avlonitis, Cape Town
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    “Because then it becomes a beautiful self-driven machine. Nature driving people driving nature. Where the word is spread and the pride is shared and spread and it spills over (in the community). Everyone wants to feel proud of something that is on their doorstep“. —Kelvin Cochrane, baker and community-activist, Bottom...

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    January 3, 2015

    IMG_5_Drawing_Soil
    Micro_Urban: The Ecological and Social Potential of Small-Scale Urban Spaces
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Victoria Marshall, Newark

    Small-scale urban spaces can be rich in biodiversity, contribute important ecological benefits for human mental and physical health (McPhearson et al., 2013), and overall help to create more livable cities. Micro_urban spaces are the sandwich spaces between buildings, rooftops, walls, curbs, sidewalk cracks, and other small-scale urban spaces that exist in...

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    December, 2014

    December 31, 2014

    P1000536
    Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2014
    David Maddox, New York City

    It’s been a great year at The Nature of Cities. The number of contributors has grown to almost 170, and we published 100+ blogs, long-form essays, and global roundtables. Most important, we’ve attracted more and more readers: in 2015 we had 170,000+ visits from 2,812 cities in 140 countries. Thank...

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    December 21, 2014

    New York City gridlock with pedestrians. Credit.
    Forget the Damned Motor Car
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    Forget the damned motor car and build cities for lovers and friends. —Lewis Mumford, My Works and Days (1979) Humanity managed for the better part of 400,000 years without cars and did just fine. Julius Caesar, Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, Adam Smith, and Abraham Lincoln lived in cities and never drove...

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    December 17, 2014

    IMG_0447
    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 love, unity, integrity, sympathy, harmony, understanding and trust. The Age of Aquarius was about...

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    December 14, 2014

    PresJohnsonSigns WildernessAct
    Celebrating the Wilderness Act of 1964—and Celebrating Wildness in Cities
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    September 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing into United States law of the Wilderness Act. A watershed act and a cornerstone of contemporary environmentalism, it  put into place new and important safeguards on the protection and development of some of the nation’s most impressive wild areas. As we...

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    December 10, 2014

    Tempelhofer Feld Community Workshop for the park's emerging "Development & Management Plan", held on Friday November 28th in Tempelhof Airport Terminal Building. Photo: Katharine Burgess
    Community Participation in Parks Development: Two Examples from Berlin
    Katharine Burgess, Berlin

    On a Friday night at the end of November 2014, nearly 200 people arrived in the departures zone of Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport for five hours of presentations, working groups and community-led exhibitions. A projection screen stood on the baggage carousel, and former glass-walled airport offices held bulletin boards and...

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    December 7, 2014

    Aerial view of Riccarton Bush, Christchuch City. The native forest (dominated by an endemic podocarp tree, Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) is in the middle and lower left of the image (dark green) and on the right is a woodland of planted European species of trees that are now c. 150 years old. Photo: Google Earth
    If We Plant the Plants Will the Insects Follow?
    Denise Ford, Christchurch
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch

    Remnants of indigenous vegetation in urban and rural areas often are the only remaining examples of ecosystems that were once more extensive before human settlement. They are therefore vital for preserving and promoting biodiversity. Remnant vegetation also serves as a refuge for indigenous plants, fungi and animals that would not...

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    December 3, 2014

    The Urban Microbiome. Microbes in the city can be found in the atmosphere (A), water (B), buildings (C), roads (D), subways (E), soil (F), vegetation (G), combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls (H), and green roofs (J). Background Image: Alfred Hutter
    Invisible City Life: The Urban Microbiome
    Marina Alberti, Seattle

    Microbes play a key role in the function of ecosystems. They contribute to biodiversity (Fierer et al. 2012), nutrient cycling (Fenchel et al. 2012), pollutant detoxification (Kolvenbach et al. 2014), and human health (Gevers et al. 2012). Since they control the composition of the gases in the atmosphere, they also...

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    November, 2014

    November 30, 2014

    Satellite image showing distinctive patches of landscapes
    Urban Biodiversity Is Both an Educational and Public Awareness Challenge
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    I write this piece from my recent experiences with young and early career researchers at my University of Makerere in Kampala. It is a graduate conference organized by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and among students are those from the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, with...

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    November 23, 2014

    Cities with city-wide plant and bird data.
    A Study of Biodiversity in the World’s Cities
    Charlie Nilon, Columbia

    What are the global patterns of biodiversity the world’s cities?  Are urban spaces biologically homogeneous and depauperate, or do they harbor significant native biodiversity?  These are the questions of a collaborative study of biodiversity in the world’s cities. For several years researchers and practitioners have thought that cities may be...

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    November 18, 2014

    LEFT: Termite mound, Lichfield National Park. Photographer: OzStryker. License: CC Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike
RIGHT: Eastgate Center. Photographer: Mandy Patterson. License: CC-by - Attribution
    Building Ecological Services: Restoring the Ecosystem Services of the Habitats We Are Replacing with Human Development
    Whitney Hopkins, Vail and New York City

    Every year, new scientific advances indicate life is more interwoven than we ever imagined. From recent reports that reveal the cascading effects of wolves’ reintroduction to Wyoming to current studies that track the dire impact of Washington dams on the decreasing nutrient loads in Montana forests, evidence builds of a...

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    November 9, 2014

    Graphic 52
    The Emerald Necklace: Metropolitan Greenspace Planning in Los Angeles and Beyond
    Will Allen, Chapel Hill
    Claire Robinson, Los Angeles
    Mike Houck, Portland

    Introduction Mike Houck Urban Greenspaces Institute In winter 2009, Houston Wilderness hosted an inaugural meeting of what would become the Metropolitan Greenspace Alliance.  Today the Alliance is a national coalition of coalitions working in ecologically, culturally, and economically diverse communities across the US. Alliance members represent Portland, Oregon; Seattle, the...

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    October, 2014

    October 28, 2014

    Credit: Zoë Goodbrand
    The Caterpillar and the Butterfly
    Lesley Lokko, Johannesburg

    ‘There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.’         —Buckminster Fuller Architecture | Education | Landscape | Nature It’s been six months since Sweet by Nature was penned and released into the ether and in less than a week’s time,...

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    October 20, 2014

    Shot from Nola bridge obstructing access to the Lower 9th Ward: no pedestrians beyond this point. Photo: Mary Rowe
    Connective Tissue Matters in the Nature of Cities
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    The TNOC Roundtable for October 2014 focused on green corridors in cities to support nature, and the ‘natural’ ecology that resides in the city.  I am focused on the ecology of the city.  The aim of ecologists and scientists to strengthen the capacity of the city to connect nature within and...

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    October 8, 2014

    Back cover shot: Mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains above Los Angeles. From the cover of Urban Protected Areas. Photo: Steve Winter/National Geographic Society © NGS 2013. Used by permission.
    Urban Protected Areas: Important for Urban People, Important for Nature Conservation Globally
    Ted Trzyna, Claremont

    The international conservation movement traditionally has concentrated on protecting large, remote areas that have relatively intact natural ecosystems. It has given a lot less attention to urban places and urban people. About ten years ago, four of us long involved in IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, set...

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    September, 2014

    September 28, 2014

    Saint-Viateur Street in the Mile-End neighborhood of Montréal, where local residents and merchants come together to organize summer festivals called ‘Journées des bon voisins’ (2010). Photo: Nik Luka
    Neighborhood Planning for Resilient and Livable Cities, Part 1 of 3: Why Do Neighborhoods Matter and Where Are We Going Wrong?
    Jayne Engle, Montreal
    Nik Luka, Montreal

    Jane Jacobs said: ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.’ To embrace this idea that everyone has to be involved in creating cities is to recognize the vitality of neighborhoods as the scale at which most people relate...

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    September 24, 2014

    AICHI-ALL
    The UN’s Biodiversity Targets Cannot Be Achieved Without Cities. Here’s Why…
    Andre Mader, Montreal

    In 2010, the 193 national governments that were then party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a decision to endorse the “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020”—to guide their actions towards stemming the biodiversity crisis over the following 10 years. Within the Strategic Plan are contained 20 specific “Aichi...

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    September 17, 2014

    Born to be Wild IMAGE DowntonFeature
    Born to be Wild (Sort of)
    Paul Downton, Adelaide

    “Civilisation; it’s all about knives and forks.” —David Byrne As a child I was not nature-deprived. I lived in small towns and villages in rural Somerset in England, and enjoyed nature study in primary school but I know that I’ve never seen or experienced anything truly wild. I never will, and...

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    September 14, 2014

    To the left of the picture dark colours showing litter, death trees and fish, and a contaminating industry near their homes. To the right, harmony between the urban fabric and the nature nearby. Drawn by Valentina,13 years old
    We Should Look at Urban Nature More Through the Eyes of Children 
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Jürgen Breuste, Salzburg

    Environmental perception by people is complex and dynamic. Individuals are active agents in their perceptions of nature—not passive receivers of information—while the environment is a global unity on which environmental processes within cities are based. Cognitive, interpretive and evaluative components are all incorporated into the perceptual processes of individuals. The...

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    September 10, 2014

    Water bodies of Jacaperaguá watershed
    A Natural Offset for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park
    Pierre-André Martin, Rio de Janeiro

    Brazilian landscapes suffer rapid and repetitive transformations through intense and successive periods of exploitation—for example, the Brazilwood that gave the country its name, sugar cane, coffee, cattle, soy or urbanization and its infrastructural needs. Such degradation processes provoke losses of nature and biodiversity, which are hardly reversible, but restoration initiatives had...

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    September 7, 2014

    citizen made infrastructure bathroom planter
    Inviting You to Collaborate with Nature to Transform Your City
    Janice Astbury, London

    In the many current discussions about how to make cities more resilient, the potential roles of citizens and urban nature are largely overlooked. There are exceptions, including Krasny and Tidball’s work on civic ecology and that of a number of people associated with the Stockholm Resilience Centre (cf. Andersson, Barthel,...

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    September 3, 2014

    Rockaways now1
    Stewarding Memories: Caring for People, Trees, and Land 
    Lindsay Campbell, New York
    Erika Svendsen, New York City

    “We will never forget.”  After September 11 (2001), this claim was made in countless political speeches, memorial eulogies, bumper stickers, carved stones, tattoos, and tee-shirts. But we do forget.  Time rolls on.  We age.  New people are born who have no lived experience of the tragic occurrences of that day. ...

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    August, 2014

    August 31, 2014

    Dindymus_versicolor2
    Untapping the Potential of Science-Government Partnerships to Benefit Urban Nature 
    Chris Ives, Melbourne
    Yvonne Lynch, Melbourne

    Promoting urban nature is a significant challenge for local governments. As demonstrated by so many posts on this blog, it is evident that it consists of much more than simply protecting areas of high biodiversity from human activity; it is about enhancing and even creating novel forms of ‘nature’ to...

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    August 28, 2014

    Shadowed green roof. Skansen Museum, 2013
    The New Is Well Forgotten Old: Scandinavian Vernacular Experience on Biodiverse Green Roofs
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Anna Bubnova, St. Petersburg

    Green roofs are becoming more popular around the globe and are considered to be a very progressive landscape design devise in urban areas. The green roof has started to become fashionable—it is even considered as one of the “compulsory” sustainable buildings features and an important part of urban green infrastructure....

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    August 26, 2014

    MumbaiStreetTree
    The ‘Equal Streets’ Movement in Mumbai
    PK Das, Mumbai

    Roads are a significant aspect of a city’s environment, both in terms of the area they occupy as well as their socio-environmental condition. In Mumbai for example, nearly 2000 km of roads occupy approximately 40 km2 of land. This is nearly 20% of the developable land area of 240 km2...

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    August 20, 2014

    A small corn plot, adjacent to one of the many abandoned homes in Megijima. Photo: Patrick M. Lydon
    Lessons from Megijima: What Can the Loss of Culture Teach Us About Urban Nature?
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    In terms of physical implementation, we have an endless stream of good knowledge, theory, and practice for building sustainable, nature-inclusive cities; a collection reaching back for well over a century. What’s missing, I would argue, are not methods and knowledge, but a consciousness of our relationship to the environment, one...

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    August 18, 2014

    02
    The Story of Jerusalem’s Railway Park: Getting the City Back on Track, Economically, Environmentally and Socially
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    Sharing local experience is always important. However in the case of the Jerusalem Railway Park, both the process and the outcome have the level of universal relevance that make so many of the themes presented in “The Nature of Cities” essential urban reading. I refer to themes of the kind...

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    August 12, 2014

    Swift returning to the nest with a bulging throat pouch full of food. Photo David and Jackie Moreton
    Swift Action Needed
    David Goode, London

    The swifts have gone. They left about a week ago and the sky is silent over British towns and cities. By now they will be well on their way south, quartering marshes in the south of France and Spain, making for Gibraltar where they cross to Africa; airborne now until...

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    August 6, 2014

    Gainesville Map_1
    The Need to Develop Flora and Fauna Biometric Tools for Urban Planning
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    Collectively, researchers over the past 60 years (or more) have collected a good deal of data on urban biodiversity and impacts on urban plants and animals. From urban gradient studies to patch dynamic studies, we have a plethora of empirical data that suggests how various urban designs would impact various...

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    August 2, 2014

    The Nature Pyramid
    TNOC Encore: Exploring the Nature Pyramid
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    (This encore publication originally appeared at TNOC on 7 August 2012.) I have long been a believer in E.O. Wilson's idea of biophilia; that we are hard-wired from evolution to need and want contact with nature. To have a healthy life, emotionally and physically, requires this contact. The empirical evidence of this is overwhelming: exposure...

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    July, 2014

    July 28, 2014

    ImagesVacantLots
    TNOC Encore: Vacant Land in Cities Could Provide Important Social and Ecological Benefits
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    (This encore publication originally appeared at TNOC on 21 August 2012.) Walk through any major city and you’ll see vacant land. These are the weed lots, garbage strewn undeveloped spaces, and high crime areas that most urban residents consider blights on the neighborhood. In some cases, neighbors have organized to transform...

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    July 24, 2014

    Univ. Students, primary school children and local people have collaborative work for the survey and environmental management. This is also including process planning, 2013. Photo: Keitaro ITO
    Ecological Landscape Design for Urban Biodiversity, Ecological Education and Nature Restoration in Kyushu, Japan
    Keitaro Ito, Kyushu

    We have been designing school gardens, river banks, urban forests and city parks over the last 12 years. I’ve written about school garden and city park design project in former articles. The aim of these projects are to create areas for children’s play, ecological education, and biodiversity preservation that can simultaneously form...

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    July 20, 2014

    Urban agriculture is not only about food: Freiburg. Source: Wikimedia Commons
    Is There Any Type of Urban Greenspace that Addresses the Urban-Rural Continuum? Urban Agriculture
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    In my last post, I wrote that efficient urban sustainability policy should be inclusive, in the sense that it should address sustainability in an area large enough to encompass urban centers, but suburban, periurban and dependent rural, or natural places. I called for planners to abandon the “false dichotomy between...

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    July 16, 2014

    Kan river valley after rehabilitation. The urban river has been transformed to a big urban gutter!                 Source: hamshahrionline.ir
    Tehran, the City of River Valleys, Needs a Landscape Ecological  Approach to the Design and Planning of Its Waterways
    Kaveh Samiei, Tehran

    “A goal of landscape ecological urbanism might be to design and plan cities to increase, rather than to decrease, ecosystem services. This suggests exciting new areas of research in landscape and urban planning, from ways to measure landscape.” —Frederick Steiner, Landscape ecological urbanism: Origins and trajectories. (Steiner, 2011) Cities should...

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    July 6, 2014

    A street in Delhi. Photo: David Maddox
    The Puzzle of Delhi’s Air Pollution
    Radhika Khosla

    The recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Ambient Air Pollution for 2014 showcases a variety of alarming results: across 1600 cities from 91 countries, and covering the period from 2008 to 2013, the cities with the lowest levels of urban air quality in the world lie in India. Delhi...

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    June, 2014

    June 25, 2014

    Figure 2. Different intervention types (landscape management to the left and landscape design to the right) at the Los Patos and Mendez lagoons, Concepción. Photos: Paula Villagra
    What Do People See in the Landscape? The Metamorphosis of Ecosystem Services After Disaster
    Paula Villagra, Los Rios

    My interest in learning about the services that natural areas provide to the community begun after the earthquake that hit south-central Chile on February 27, 2010. Though no major infrastructure damage occurred, the earthquake, tsunami and countless aftershocks caused great fear in the population, who were in particular insecure to...

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    June 22, 2014

    tea with sparrows
    The Rhythms of City Life
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno

    A friend once told me about the time he started finding dry dog food pellets mysteriously appearing in his pockets every time he put on a freshly laundered and dried pair of pants. Dr. Will Turner had a dog, of course, and recognized the pellets as the same kind he offered his...

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    June 18, 2014

    Local kids throwing seed bombs
    Driving Social and Ecological Change: My Experiment with Guerilla Gardening
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    Spurred on by some students who asked me earlier in the year what sort of personal activism I pursue in relation to my views around the importance of forwarding and preserving functioning urban ecologies, I decided to embark on a bit of guerilla gardening in the form of a seed...

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    June 15, 2014

    Mannahatta2409.org is an on-line forum to help New Yorkers develop and share sustainable and climate-resilient designs for New York City.
    It’s Up to You: A Vision for 90% Less Greenhouse Gases for Manhattan’s Fourteenth Street
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    If Thoreau were alive today, he might move to Brooklyn, not the woods. Cities of the early 21st century are where life can be lived most intensely, the place for sucking, routing, shaving, and driving life into the corner, as Thoreau famously described the purpose of his retreat to Walden...

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    June 11, 2014

    Sea images A2
    Blue Urbanism: Connecting Cities and the Nature of Oceans
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    While we are increasingly a planet of cities, we must not forget that we live and share space on the blue planet. We rarely put these two realms (or words) together, but we must begin to. By some estimates, two-thirds of our global population lies within 400 kilometers of a...

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    June 8, 2014

    Aerial views of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen.
    The Rise of Resilience: Linking Resilience and Sustainability in City Planning
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    Cities around the world are making plans, developing agendas, and articulating goals for urban resilience, but is urban resilience really possible? Resilience to what, for what, and for whom? Additionally, resilience is being used in many cases as a replacement for sustainability, which it is not. Resilience and sustainability need...

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    June 1, 2014

    New Zealand native bellbird. Photo: www.naturewatch.org.nz
    What Species Return? Natural Disasters and the Nature of Cities, Part II
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch

    In my first blog way back in December 2012 I introduced you to the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and the devastation that followed to our beautiful “Garden City”. And also to vegetation studies that I initiated in the “Residential Red Zone” (RRZ), where c. 8,000 properties were abandoned...

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    May, 2014

    May 28, 2014

    Manjunath-B-An-intact-peri-urban-lake-managed-by-the-local-village.jpg
    The Cooperative Governance of Urban Commons
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    From my office, on the 9th floor of a tall building in an academic campus in Bangalore, I have a birds-eye view of the city’s peri-urban surroundings. To the west, I can see a 6-lane high-speed highway choked by traffic, full of people frenetically commuting from their homes in city...

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    May 18, 2014

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    The Palo Verde in My Backyard
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    My view of nature in the city is often informed by my own experiences in my part of the world: Los Angeles, California.  About 5 years ago I was given a Palo Verde tree which my husband and I planted in a strategic location to provide shade and beauty in...

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    May 14, 2014

    Kololo suburb turned civil area in Kampala. Photo: Shuaib Lwasa
    Weaving Nature for Biodiversity Enhancement in African Urban Landscapes
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    This article is a follow up on the worldview on urban nature that illustrated the fragmentation of urban natural landscapes. The aim of this article is to take the discourse further by assessing possible approaches for appropriate mixes of built up form and nature that can be integrated through reconfiguring...

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    May 11, 2014

    Beijing Central Business District
    China’s New Urbanization Plan: Obstacles and Environmental Impacts
    Jack Maher, Beijing
    Xie Pengfei, Beijing

    On 16 March 2014, China’s State Council released the “National New-type Urbanization Plan,” a long-awaited top-down effort to utilize urbanization as an engine for economic growth in the near future. The plan details an ambitious series of goals the government seeks to accomplish by 2020. However, speeding up the urbanization...

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    May 7, 2014

    Chart of the survey – in the Box the translation and percentages of different professional fields interested in Urban Ecology (note that Landscape Architecture is really inexpressive due to the lack of formal education in the area)
    Education, Communication and Mobilization: Is Urban Ecology the Way Forward for Urban Planning and Design in Brazilian cities?
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    Talking about biodiversity and nature in cities? If you do this in Brazil it will probably sound weird to a lot of educated people, including professionals and researchers on urban and ecological areas. And that’s exactly what I do most of the time. Actually, it is interesting how I got...

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    April, 2014

    April 30, 2014

    The abundance of sticker dots placed by survey respondents representing values and negative qualities associated with green spaces in the Lower Hunter Region of NSW, Australia.
    A Values-Based Approach to Urban Nature Research and Practice
    Chris Ives, Melbourne

    The concept of values is frequently brought up in relation to environmental issues, and discussions about urban nature are no exception. In particular, values are frequently at the heart of dialogue about urban ecosystem services, especially in relation to economics and monetary valuation. This was demonstrated by the recent ‘roundtable’...

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    April 27, 2014

    Coral nursery in Singapore Photo: National Parks Board of Singapore
    Marine Biodiversity Conservation in Coastal Cities: Tales from Singapore
    Lena Chan, Singapore

    The main picture prefacing the news article by Roger Harrabin on the BBC website on 8 April 2014 on the final draft report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a stark black and white scene of strong high waves breaking against sea-walls.  It drives home the point...

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    April 23, 2014

    15.	Mountain biker enjoying Hartland Mountain Bike Park.  Photo: Jamie Cameron
    Nature Needs Half
    Lynn Wilson, Vancouver

    Nature Needs Half is a concept under consideration in the Capital Regional District (CRD)[End note 1]. Simply put, Nature Needs Half means saving fifty percent of an area’s lands and waters for nature. This concept recognizes the impact of humans upon the land, while also acknowledging that we need to...

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    April 19, 2014

    Ecological
Chasm,
drawing
by
Rachel
Wilson
©
2014
    Sweet by Nature: African Cities and the Natural World
    Lesley Lokko, Johannesburg

    Spring in Brussels. Balmy weather, traffic jams, helicopters hovering in skies of pale, duck-egg blue. Politicians, policy-makers and lobbyists rub shoulders with the G4S security personnel tasked with their safety. The guards outnumber their charges, and by some margin. The hotels and train stations are full. Lufthansa is on strike. ...

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    April 14, 2014

    Fig. 3 A 134 ha remnant native Plains Grassland reserve located 20 km from Melbourne’s Central Business District. Photo: M. J. McDonnell
    Four Ways to Reduce the Loss of Native Plants and Animals from Our Cities and Towns
    Mark McDonnell, Melbourne
    Amy Hahs, Parkville, Australia

    The actions we undertake under the banner of “creating biodiversity-friendly cities” are about more than just conservation, they are about managing urban biodiversity in a broader sense. Frequently in our discussions of this topic, two distinct but interdependent ideologies tend to emerge. First, we begin by talking about how to...

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    April 9, 2014

    NYC
    Natural Parks Define American Cities
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    With almost all of my career (and most of my adult life) spent working in or around city parks, I was recently surprised to learn an astonishing fact. In American’s largest cities, more than half contain park systems that are more than 50 percent “natural.” In fact, in America’s 10...

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    April 6, 2014

    Portland Metropolitan Greenspaces map © Mike Houck
    Collective Impact: A New Model for Regional Open Space Planning
    Mike Houck, Portland
    Mike Wetter, Portland

    Tim Beatley (2000: 224) cites Portland, Oregon as one example of progressive regional, bioregional, and metropolitan-scale greenspace planning in the country. Portland is also known for its land use planning and sustainability practices. Indeed, the city has more LEED (Leadership in Environmental Design) buildings than any other city. While the...

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    April 2, 2014

    Socialentrepreneurscoworkingshot
    The Nature of a City Economy: Towards an Ecology of Entrepreneurship
    Vin Cipolla, New York City
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    City economies as patterns of connection In a healthy functioning city, various forms of urban capital, including natural, social, cultural — and economic — are enabled to flow smoothly and flexibly, along paths that are productive and enriching to the system of which they are a part. The most efficient...

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    March, 2014

    March 31, 2014

    Van Riebeeck's Hedge
    Heritage Trees of Cape Town (Continued)
    Russell Galt, Cape Town

    Cape Town sprawls beneath the majestic Table Mountain in the heart of the mega-diverse Cape Floral Kingdom. With 3.74 million inhabitants, it is South Africa’s second most populous city. Despite the obvious ecological stressors resulting from the city’s high metabolism and rapid expansion (ca. 1.4% per year), a spectacular richness...

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    March 24, 2014

    Urban sprawl in the Paris metropolitan region, near Versailles: Where are the limits? Photo : Medy Sejai, Wiki 2005.
    It’s Not Only City Design—We Need To Integrate Sustainability Across the Rural-Urban Continuum
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    Nearly 70% of the world population lives in urban areas and nearly 75% of economic activity is located therein. Urban areas concentrate not only wealth but also extreme poverty and environmental degradation. Despite the significant progress in urbanization, still a billion people live in the slums of urban areas. Thus...

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    March 18, 2014

    The value of ecosystem services can be expressed as (1) recognized value, the bulk of which includes cultural and aesthetical values that are often possible to express only in non-monetary terms; (2) demonstrated value, where it is possible to calculate a potential substitution cost in monetary terms (e.g. the replacement cost of wild pollinators); and (3) captured value, where there is a market that determines a value, often priced in monetary terms (water, food, fiber, etc). (Modified after TEEB 2010)
    Simulation Models Are Fantastic Tools for Engagement
    David Maddox, New York City

    A lot of recent discussion around urban planning, resilience, and sustainable cities has included ideas about community engagement. How do we get the public more engaged in urban planning in ways that are effective — that honors good design, evidence-based science and community desires? Having decided that community engagement is...

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    March 12, 2014

    Mumbai’s seafronts as dumping grounds. Photos: PK Das
    Ecology Rights and City Development Plans: The Case of Mumbai
    PK Das, Mumbai

    Mumbai’s development plan is revised every twenty years. The revision process of the current plan is underway for preparation of a new plan for 2014-2034, to be launched some time later this year. Amongst many issues that active citizens and environmental groups have flagged is that of ecology and environment....

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    March 9, 2014

    Dull grey boring wall transformed by ‘commissioned’ graffiti for The People’s Market  at West Lakes Shore, South Australia. Photo: Paul Downton
    Graffiti on the Path and the Nature of Public Space
    Paul Downton, Adelaide

    The nature of cities is inextricably tied to the nature of public space and this blog is about just a small part of that ‘nature’. It was inspired by what appeared to be graffiti on a public footpath that runs along the street where I live, in sunny Semaphore, South...

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    March 2, 2014

    UrbanDevelopment
    Why We Need an Urban Sustainable Development Goal
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm

    Next year, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted by the United Nations after the Millennium Declaration, are set to expire. The next set of global development goals, which are supposed to be even more environmentally focused — the Sustainable Development Goals — are currently under discussion at the UN and...

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    February, 2014

    February 26, 2014

    Fig. 2 In Buenos Aires city native (Zenaida auriculata) and exotic doves (Columba livia) are very abundant in compacted build areas with higher population density. They dominate especially in neighborhoods with lower presence of parks.
    Buenos Aires Tries to Design for Biodiversity
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    Recently Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, has begun a transformation to reduce the urban processes that have negative effects on biodiversity. The city has an area of 202 square kilometers and a population of 2.9 million. Every day up to four million people enter in the city from...

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    February 23, 2014

    Photo: Jose Puppim de Oliveira
    The UN in the Urban Anthropocene
    Oliver Hillel, Montreal
    Jose Puppim, Montreal

    Today, we live in the ‘Urban Anthropocene’. This expression combines the global trend towards urbanization and the neologism ‘Anthropocene’, the term an ecologist would be forced to use these days to describe Homo sapiens as the key structuring species that could determine, alone, the fate of Earth’s life forms. For...

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    February 19, 2014

    Oily sheen on Newtown Creek, 7 July 2006. Photo: Riverkeeper
    Greenpoint’s Environmental Benefit Fund as a Model for Community Participation
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City

    At first glance, Greenpoint seems much like many other ethnically diverse New York City neighborhood struggling with rapid gentrification. Traditional neighborhood businesses jostle for space with trendy new restaurants and shops, while developers hype luxury high-rise development proposals. But, underneath the ground, something is very different. Between the late 1800s...

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    February 16, 2014

    New York City’s capped Fresh Kills Landfill with the Manhattan skyline in the distance. Photo: Nathan Kensinger
    Digging Ourselves Deeper
    Andrew Rudd, New York City

    0 There’s an old saying about defecating and eating and not doing both in the same place. It is usually applied to interpersonal relations but serves just as well for industrial ones. And it is particularly relevant to mining. Certainly we don’t want to mine directly upstream of water intake sites,...

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    February 12, 2014

    Large parts of the southern Lake shore was planted with reeds where a popular system of recreational boardwalks was built. Photo: Maria Ignatieva
    Hammarby Sjöstad — A New Generation of Sustainable Urban Eco-Districts
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Per Berg, Stockholm

    Hammarby sjöstad (Hammarby Lake City) is an urban development project directly south of Stockholm’s South Island. This is no doubt the most referenced and visited spot among Scandinavian examples of implemented eco-friendly urban developments. Hammarby is included in many publications, for example in the recent Ecological Design by Nancy Rottle...

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    February 9, 2014

    Image 5: When a long branching soi meets a big road with a sky train. Credit: Khim Pisessith and Grape Nalintragoon
    Bangkok: Beautiful Mess
    Victoria Marshall, Newark

    Walking in Bangkok is a messy experience. It is impossible to predict a change of grade or width of sidewalk under your feet. That is if there is a sidewalk. Similarly it is impossible to predict if the next building you walk past will be a shop house, condominium, bungalow,...

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    February 5, 2014

    JerusalemGazellPhotoAmirBalabanFeature
    Biblical Gazelles Will Soon be Welcoming Visitors to Israel’s First Urban Nature Park
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    The City of Jerusalem has been subject to geopolitical and religious conflict for more than three millennia, ever since King David chose it as the site for the capital of the Kingdom of Judah. His choice has often been criticized, because of the inherent difficulty in supplying water to the...

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    February 2, 2014

    1.	A flock of bohemian waxwings feeds on rose hips fruit in a south Anchorage yard. Photo credit: ©Kim Behrens
    Becoming More Aware of Our Avian Urban Neighbors: The Christmas Bird Count and Other Citizen Science Opportunities
    Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

    Kim Behrens and I are driving slowly through my Turnagain neighborhood on a snowy mid-December afternoon, when a legion of songbirds prompts us to pull over to the curb, grab binoculars, and scramble out of her truck. In deepening grayness, we stand in open-mouthed amazement among yards that have been...

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    January, 2014

    January 29, 2014

    Photo: Radhika Khosla
    Efficient Roofs for Efficient Buildings: Building Blocks for Energy Efficient Cities in India
    Radhika Khosla

    I recently relocated to New Delhi after more than a decade — a set of years which entailed rapid economic growth for India. Infrastructure development in cities around the country is booming and it is difficult to travel for too long without meeting the rising towers of concrete and shining...

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    January 26, 2014

    A pair of lesser flamingos in Mumbai’s busy port area.  Photo: Madhusudan Katti
    Biodiversity Can Flourish on an Urban Planet
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno

    Mention the word biodiversity to a city dweller and images of remote natural beauty will probably come to mind — not an empty car park around the corner. Wildlife, we think, should be found in wild places, or confined to sanctuaries and national parks. But research shows that cities can...

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    January 22, 2014

    Crowds gather at hourly intervals in Cologne Zoo to watch an eagle alight on its handler's arm as he stands among them. Photo: Andre Mader
    What Is the Point of Zoos?
    Andre Mader, Montreal

    What’s a zoo to you? “Zoo” was one of the first words I learned to say, and the local zoo was my favorite place to visit as a child. I can’t be sure that it was that experience which led me to decide, at an early age, to pursue a...

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    January 19, 2014

    Children playing in the project site. Photo: Keitaro Ito
    Involving Children in the Design of Park Renovations to Create Green Places for Play with Urban Nature
    Keitaro Ito, Kyushu

    The “Megurizaka pond renovation” project started in 2008 by creating a place for children to play and help restore nature to a small part of Kitakyushu City in southern Japan. The aim was to create an area for children’s play and ecological education that could also form a part of...

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    January 15, 2014

    Red-shouldered Hawk in San Francisco. Photo: Walter Kitundu
    A Matter of Scale: Connecting Human Design Decisions with Decisions Made by Wildlife
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    Ok, if you can look past my anthropomorphic statement that wildlife make decisions, the topic I would like to address deals with the adoption and use of ecological principles by the design community. Patch size, landscape connectivity, edge effects, corridor ecology, landscape ecology, and metapopulation theory are just a few...

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    January 12, 2014

    Overall view of the city of Valdivia, where is possible to see the Valdivia River, the promenade and fluvial market, the city center with the cathedral, the coastal mountain at the right and the wetland areas at the far left. Photos: Paula Villagra
    Can Devastated Landscapes Inspire Planning and Adaptation?
    Paula Villagra, Los Rios

    Changes that cause major disruptions in human settlements, such as those triggered by earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, can give rise to new landscapes that reveal a natural cycle, which is part of the territory where cities grow and develop. These landscapes emerge particularly in cities exposed to recurrent natural...

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    January 5, 2014

    Trees mapped by volunteers at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy in Brooklyn, working with TreeKIT. Source: TreeKIT
    Three M’s for Empowering Volunteer Urban Foresters: Mobilizing, Mapping, and Monitoring
    Philip Silva, New York

    Local governments planted millions of young trees on urban streets throughout the United States during the first decade of the 21st Century. From Los Angeles to New York, large cities made prodigious investments in urban reforestation and wrote off the expense as a relatively thrifty way of dealing with some...

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    January 2, 2014

    MumbaiNullahs©OPENMUMBAI_PKDAS
    Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2013
    David Maddox, New York City

    A new vision of ecologically sophisticated cities has been gaining momentum. Today, in increasing numbers, scientists, designers, and practitioners create useful knowledge about the nature of cities through research and action that inspires public debate and decision makers. More citizens are becoming more engaged in the conversation about urban nature — a conversation...

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    December, 2013

    December 23, 2013

    00007
    Rediscovering Eco-cities—Is this Possible in the Era of Globalization?
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai

    Another revolution  the “ecological revolution” is required to go back and live in co-existence with nature. Recently I have been to Auroville, an experimental universal township in Tamilnadu and Puduchhery of southern India. This was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa known as “The Mother”. Auroville came to be known...

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    December 18, 2013

    West Hayden Island Dredge Area 2011 (19)2
    Lessons from a One-eyed Eagle
    Bob Sallinger, Portland

    By all rights a one-eyed bald eagle is a doomed bird. Imagine trying to catch a salmon or a brush rabbit with no depth perception. Oh eagles will scavenge and occasionally steal food from one another, but roadkill and kleptoparasitism will only get you so far in life…or so the...

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    December 14, 2013

    Save the rhino girl
    What Does Urban Nature-Related Graffiti Tell Us? A Photo Essay from the City of Cape Town
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    Graffiti, revered and loathed by turn, provides insights into societal attitudes and perceptions. In this short photo essay I present nature-related graffiti from the City of Cape Town. Cape Town still bares the hallmarks of apartheid with significant race-based development and wealth discrepancies. It is situated in the middle of...

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    December 10, 2013

    Photograph 1: Farmers in a rural Indian village spread a millet crop on the road, so that urban motorists can drive their vehicles onto the dried ears, crushing them to make it easy to remove the loosened grains. Thus, rural areas take advantage of their connection with cities to reduce the manual labor involved with manual threshing of crops. Photo: Harini Nagendra
    The Village within the City—Rurality in the Era of Globalization
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    Popular descriptions of urbanization these days often describe humanity as having entered a “new urban era“, with more people living in cities today than they do in rural areas. Urban areas have a large footprint of impact on the rural countryside, and the line between the urban and the rural is...

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    December 4, 2013

    biophilic cities postcards_Page_1
    Launching the Global Biophilic Cities Network
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    Nature provides immense emotional, spiritual and health benefits to residents of cities. There is little wonder then as to why many of us in the urban planning and design fields see nature as central and essential to all that we do and to imagining the future of cities. The concept...

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    November, 2013

    November 26, 2013

    The ExUrban hills outside Los Angeles. Photo: Stephanie Pincetl
    The Ironic “Nature” of ExUrbia
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    While we have been focused on the nature of cities in cities and its sublime paradoxes, one could perhaps also enlarge the city nature question to reflect on the gradual urbanization of planet Earth.  Whether it is global appropriation of Earth resources by humans — human activities now appropriate nearly...

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    November 20, 2013

    The subtropical forests at Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, NZ. Photo: Glenn Stewart
    To See Biodiversity Downunder, Visit a National Park…or a City
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch

    When the first European colonists arrived on the islands of New Zealand a little over 150 years ago they were met by an essentially forested landscape with very unfamiliar plants and animals. The dramatic and breath-taking scenery ranged from geysers, boiling mud pools and volcanoes in the north to magnificent,...

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    November 13, 2013

    Storm damage along the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York, as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  Photo by Terah L. Mollise/U.S. Navy from Wikimedia Commons
    The Catch-22 of Resilience
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    Ecologists who study how ecosystems change over time know there is a balance between resilience and adaptation.  Resilience is a measure of how long it takes for an ecosystem to return to a previous state.  For example, how many decades will it take for a forest to regrow after a...

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    November 10, 2013

    “Jardin d´Éole” – Novo parque na zona norte da Cidade: ecossistema arenoso no lado direitor, com pequeno alagado construído na extrema direita. Photo: Cecilia Herzog
    People Take Over Nature in Cities with their Own Hands
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    Em Português. Urban food production is gaining momentum with launching of books, seminars and congresses, websites and social media. Some cities have programs to promote people-nature direct contact through vegetable gardens — common or in allotment gardens. Urban dwellers are becoming more and more engaged in cultivating and collaborating in common...

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    November 6, 2013

    Kyanja Edible Landscape, Plot level planning, Kampala City Council, 2006
    A Worldview of Urban Nature that includes “Runaway” Cities
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    This article presents an alternative perspective on urban nature that extends the debates on ecology in cities to ecology of cities. In Africa, and particularly Kampala, where we have undertaken research on various aspects of urban development, we are increasingly confronted by a realization that urban built up components are...

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    November 4, 2013

    ‘Supertrees’, Singapore. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Supertree_Grove,_Gardens_by_the_Bay,_Singapore_-_20120712-02.jpg
    The Urban-Nature Continuum: Different ‘Natures’, Different Goals
    Chris Ives, Melbourne

    The question of what exactly we are working towards when we talk about nature in the city has been bothering me for some time now. I work as a research fellow in conservation science at RMIT University, Melbourne, and much of my time is spent working on challenges to do...

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    October, 2013

    October 30, 2013

    Barton Creek
    Up the Creek, With a Paddle: Urban Stream Restoration and Daylighting
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    A few weeks ago I visited Austin, Texas to participate in the SXSW Eco conference. Staying across the street from Austin’s large and beautiful convention center, I was astonished to discover a green ravine immediately adjacent to the mammoth building, at the bottom of which was a slow moving creek...

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    October 26, 2013

    fig4
    Striving Towards Ecocity: Experience from Huainan, China
    Xie Pengfei, Beijing

    China’s rapid urbanization in the last 30 years has brought about many problems. The country is now facing a huge challenge to balance economic development with environmental conservation and social stability. Sustainable development is in the spotlight: how can we build a better city that can provide a better life...

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    October 20, 2013

    A block on Edgewood / Aldeah / Alexander Avenue, 1 km north of previous image. Photo: Charles Nilon
    Everyone Has Contact with Nature but that Nature Is Not the Same
    Charlie Nilon, Columbia

    Lessons from a small city Much of the urban ecology literature focuses on the world’s largest cities, and many of the Nature of Cities bloggers have written about these places. Blog posts have discussed the challenges of conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services in London and New York City, planning for...

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    October 14, 2013

    Photo: Kate Pallett (www.greenpop.org )
    Encountering “The Nature of Cities” through Tree Planting
    Kate Pallett, Cape Town

    I have planted lots of trees around schools in Cape Town. Each experience has been profoundly different from the next, but there have been common threads running through each experience — muddy feet and hands; the strong stem of a young tree as I carry it from the bakkie to...

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    October 9, 2013

    STEW-MAP NETWORK FIGURE 3
    Who Cares for the City?
    Erika Svendsen, New York City

    In 2002, I was working full-time as a social science researcher for the US Forest Service in New York City.  My colleague Lindsay Campbell and I visited with leaders of the urban greening movement at that time — from community gardeners and park volunteers to environmental justice activists and tree...

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    October 6, 2013

    Child with dragonfly at one of CRD Regional Parks’ interpretive programs. Photo by Deborah Kerr.
    What People Really Want From Their Regional Parks System
    Lynn Wilson, Vancouver

    Since 1966, the Capital Regional District (CRD) in British Columbia, Canada (Map 1 below) has developed an outstanding park and trail system, which today is perhaps one of the finest regional park systems in North America [Note 1].  Primarily a natural areas system encompassing three biogeoclimatic zones (Map 2), CRD...

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    October 2, 2013

    Grey-headed Flying-fox in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Ian Kitchen
    Cities as Refugia for Threatened Species
    Mark McDonnell, Melbourne

    When we conjure up images of animals in temperate cities we think of such pesky creatures as pigeons, cockroaches, English sparrows, crows, rats and mice, while in other cities around the world urban dwellers encounter geckos, Indian mynas, monkeys, raccoon-dogs and baboons. In all of these cases, the organisms have...

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    September, 2013

    September 27, 2013

    Resilience Achitypes
    Building Cities that Think Like Planets
    Marina Alberti, Seattle

    This essay is adapted from Marina Alberti Cities as Hybrid Ecosystems (Forthcoming) and from Marina Alberti “Anthropocene City”, forthcoming in The Anthropocene Project by the Deutsche Museum Special Exhibit 2014-1015 Cities face an important challenge: they must rethink themselves in the context of planetary change. What role do cities play in...

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    September 23, 2013

    soldier w daughter drawing hand
    Outdoor Recreation, Restoration and Healing for Returning Combatants
    Keith Tidball, Ithaca

    In the recently released book Greening in the Red Zone, I and many of my colleagues argued that people who have recently experienced surprise, shock and other perturbations (such as created by disasters and war) often demonstrate a significant interest in greening and ecological restoration activities. Those of us who...

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    September 18, 2013

    ForestBeltSt2
    St. Petersburg: Towards Integrated and Sustainable Green Infrastructure
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala

    Compared with other countries, Russia came relatively late to the world of market economy. It was a quite painful process as the Socialist planned economy changed to the demands of the market and working with private investors. Rapid urbanisation and new rules of planning require searching for new approaches to...

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    September 11, 2013

    SONY DSC
    Rebuilding After Hurricane Sandy—A Blueprint for a Better Future for People and Wildlife
    John Kostyack, Washington, D.C.

    While I was enjoying my August beach vacation, the federal government was releasing its plan for rebuilding the New York City metro area and the New Jersey shore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I grew up in the New Jersey suburbs and spent many summers on the Jersey shore,...

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    September 8, 2013

    Schöneberger Südgelände, Berlin. Photo: Ana Faggi
    The Power of Unkempt Wilderness in the Hearts of Berlin and Buenos Aires
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    Today I would like to celebrate the First Congress of the Society for Urban Ecology (SURE), which took place at the end of July in Berlin, just in the place where urban ecology emerged as a discipline. And also I’ll consider what our discipline of urban ecology has to say...

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    September 1, 2013

    Treaty Tree—The Treaty Tree was previously known as the Old Slave Tree of Woodstock. Photo: Russell Galt
    Trees as Starting Points for Journeys of Learning About Local History
    Russell Galt, Cape Town

    Have you ever sat beneath an old urban tree and wished that it could talk? Many times older than any human, yet always rooted to one location, imagine the stories that the tree could share and the wisdom it could impart. Such trees could have led extraordinary lives, witnessing profound...

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    August, 2013

    August 25, 2013

    A small park in Midtown Manhattan (53rd St), with a waterfall and a green wall. Green walls may reduce up to 40dB of outdoor noise and vibration. Photo: David Maddox
    Designing the Urban Soundscape
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm

    City planners have often many and innovative solutions for how to create a ’good urban milieu’. However, these ideas are mainly focused on accommodating visual aesthetics with necessary practical matters for transport, waste and energy. The dynamic sound perspectives in the urban environment, such as sonic diversity and acoustic ecology,...

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    August 21, 2013

    Urban ‘renewal’ Swansea, South Wales 1977 Drawing: Paul Downton
    Form, Function, and Cultural Memory: Recalling the Nature of Cities
    Paul Downton, Adelaide

    Yesterday upon the stair I met a man who wasn’t there He wasn’t there again today Oh, how I wish he’d go away        — William Hughes Mearns 1922 Learning to forget When the early settlers headed west across the American continent their cultural baggage weighed lightly when...

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    August 18, 2013

    © Open Mumbai PK Das
    Open Mumbai: Re-envisioning the City and Its Open Spaces
    PK Das, Mumbai

    41% of the total land area in the densely built city of Mumbai must be reserved as open spaces. A change in the mindset, along with not so radical changes in the development plan, can make this city very eco sensitive and a sustainable urbanized centre to live in. We feel...

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    August 14, 2013

    View from an urban park with Melbourne in the background. Photo: Parks Victoria
    Expanding the Guest List at City Parks
    Kathryn Campbell, Victoria

    The health benefits of the natural environment One of the most important factors in promoting good health and preventing chronic disease is regular physical activity; ranked second only to tobacco control. With less than a third of Australians getting enough physical activity, this is leading to increased risks of chronic...

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    August 11, 2013

    Denver Comic Con founder Charlie LaGreca, in center. Photo: Denver Post
    A Comic Book Sparks Kids Toward Environmental Justice
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City

    In my first blog post for The Nature of Cities, I wrote about environmental justice as a bridge between traditional environmentalism and an increasingly urban global population. I suggested that we had work to do to makes environmental concerns salient to a new, ever-more urban generation. Since then, I have...

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    August 7, 2013

    Wagner’s ‘Tristan Chord’ (highlighted in orange)
    Tuning Out / In
    Andrew Rudd, New York City

    Ten years ago this month, in 2003, northeastern North America experienced the second most widespread blackout in history. That August evening, toward the end of my three-hour commute home on foot, a nearly full moon rose over the soft brownstone canyons of Park Slope, Brooklyn. Candlelit stoops hosted small, spontaneous parties...

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    July, 2013

    July 31, 2013

    Fig 14. Urban Portico Section. Credit: Wendy Van Kessel
    Who Creates the Art of Urban Practice?
    Victoria Marshall, Newark

    This blog post takes the form of a seminar report. It is a reflection of the work of the City in Environment class of spring 2013 at The New School, New York. It is also a reflection on urban practice. In this class student explored and interrogated many terms that...

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    July 28, 2013

    NumberOfTuristsCharDham
    Ecological Disasters and the Hidden Truth
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai

    “Human use, population, and technology have reached that certain stage where mother Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.” ― Dalai Lama XIV I am writing this blog as I am deeply disturbed by the colossal tragedy that happened in Kedarnath and Rambada region of Uttarakhand State on 15 June...

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    July 26, 2013

    Hooded cranes at Suncheon Bay
    Nature in Movement: Bird Flyways as Engines of Economic Growth and Conservation for City Managers
    Oliver Hillel, Montreal

    In our transition from rural to urban life (arguably the largest ever migration of humans on Earth), we lose contact with Nature—that we already knew. It is not easy to find ways to raise awareness of the beauty, as well as the critical role, that living beings, all 30 million...

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    July 21, 2013

    Children’s activity in the school biotope. Finding small insects and herbs, 2005. Photo: K. Hidaka
    “Growing Place” in Japan—Creating Ecological Spaces at Schools that Educate and Engage Everyone
    Keitaro Ito, Kyushu

    Where will children learn about nature? There has been so much building and housing in Japan that we’ve lost open space and natural areas. Where will children learn about nature? Where do they engage with the nature world? To solve this problem, we wanted to design biotopes within school grounds....

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    July 17, 2013

    Sea-floor-like ceiling detail at La Pedrera. Photo: André Mader
    Barcelona—Gaudi’s City
    Andre Mader, Montreal

    I am currently typing away at a hairdresser in Tarragona, in Spain, while my wife receives a pre-wedding facial. That is the reason for our presence in Spain. Our families will soon descend on a tiny village in the mountains of Catalonia, from South Africa and Japan. This background information...

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    July 14, 2013

    A brown bear female with three cubs walks along a trail that’s popular with walkers and bicyclists. Photo: Alaska Department of Fish and Game
    Living with Bears: A Continuing Challenge in Alaska’s Urban Center
    Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

    We’re now deep into summer, which in Anchorage means that conflicts between the city’s human residents and our wild neighbors are at a peak. Most of the problems involve black and grizzly bears, but moose have also made headlines in the local daily newspaper (“Woman stomped by moose at Kincaid...

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    July 10, 2013

    São Paulo durante as manifestações na Avenida Paulista, o  centro econômico e financeiro da cidade visto de dentro da Horta do Ciclista trabalho do grupo de “Hortelões Urbanos” – cidadãos que estão preocupados com alimentação saudável e contato direto com a natureza. Crédito: Fernanda Danelon
    It Is Time to Really “Green” the Marvelous City
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    A versão em Português segue imediatamente. In my last TNOC article, I wrote about the city of Rio de Janeiro’s rich biodiversity and the huge transformations that the city is going through, boosted by the international events that are already taking place here: 2013 FIFA Confederations Soccer Cup happened in...

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    July 7, 2013

    maderafrontyard
    To Make Real Change for Urban Biodiversity—Follow the Money
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    I am going to take an iconoclastic view on how to conserve urban biodiversity in the real world: we do not need more research on defining the problem or defining the benefits of conserving biodiversity. I think we have enough models and empirical data to know which path to go...

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    July 3, 2013

    Kee Gompa. Photo: Madusudan Katti
    We’re Not In a Village Anymore
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno

    “Your stomach is empty since yesterday. Let me make you some soup,” said the monk to me as I took deep breaths to try and get more oxygen to my altitude-sickened body, “it may help with your nausea too.” As I nodded weakly, he went back into the kitchen, in...

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    June, 2013

    June 30, 2013

    img6
    How Would You Design an Urban Eco-village?
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch

    What would you do if you had the opportunity to design and build a new village or city? These opportunities do not come around often, so when one does we have to make the most of it!! The opportunities abound in Christchurch after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011....

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    June 26, 2013

    Photo: Harini Nagendra
    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...

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    June 23, 2013

    Peregrine eyases on Portland's Fremont Bridge. Photo: Bob Sallinger
    Subterranean Homesick Peregrine
    Bob Sallinger, Portland

    As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, I thought I would tell a story from back when the City of Portland (Oregon) first was beginning to grapple with the implications of the listing of a species found in our urban environment. In 1993 residents of the...

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    June 19, 2013

    Photo: Stephanie Pincetl
    The Sounds and Smells…and Costs…of Urban Ecosystem Servicing
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    Vroom, buzz, roar, hum, zzzz, whine, chuffa-chuffa, whir, putt-putt, growl and shriek. Acrid, penetrating, sweet, stomach turning, smokey, arresting. These are the sounds and smells of machines, the machines that fueled by petroleum and are ubiquitous in the urban landscape, seemingly indispensible and unavoidable to the maintenance of urban ecosystem...

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    June 16, 2013

    Two coyotes in a park in New York City, photographed by a motion-triggered stationary camera.  Photo credit: Gotham Coyote Project
    Valuing Urban Wildlife: Critical Partners in the Urban System or Scary, Disgusting Nuisances?
    Matt Palmer, New York City

    Urban parks and green infrastructure are often touted for their benefits in providing for urban biodiversity. There have been several posts about this subject in this blog—by Tim Beatley, Thomas Elmqvist, Russell Galt, Bill Sherwonit, Bob Sallinger, and others—and it’s clear that a core of scientists, designers, planners, and community...

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    June 12, 2013

    Cafe Katrina. Photo: Mary Rowe
    Granular Resilience: Paying Attention to the Local
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    Cities, like nature, are all about the details. Granular. Fine-grained. Cellular. Each of these describes what we see in cities as unique, what defines them as places: small details that differentiate them from anywhere else and add up to a web of connections we call the city. I am writing...

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    June 9, 2013

    Photo: Philip Silva
    Street Art, Slow Work, and Stories: Three Values for Civic Ecology Practices in Cities
    Philip Silva, New York

    In cities throughout the United States, thousands of people are gearing up for another busy summer of growing vegetables in community gardens and caring for street trees planted along the sidewalk’s edge. Self-organized, volunteer-based, and focused on improving both communities and the environment, these “civic ecology” practices often pick up...

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    June 5, 2013

    Photo: Tim Beatly
    Naming and Claiming in Cities of Nature—Why We Should Worry About Our Inability to Recognize Common Species
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    What we choose to name and the names we choose to remember, for the places, people and things around us, says a great deal about what is important to us. It is commonly said, and accurately so I believe, that we will not care about what we do not recognize....

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    June 2, 2013

    New York City with the Hudson River.  Photo by Eric W. Sanderson
    Cities Are Our Streams
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    The following is an excerpt from my new book, Terra Nova:  The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs (Abrams, June 2013), which is about, at least in part, how cities can fit into nature: Many years ago, before I moved to the city, I had a job in the...

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    May, 2013

    May 29, 2013

    Heron at Tanner Spring. Photo: Michael Abbate
    Size Doesn’t Matter—Really!
    Mike Houck, Portland

    I admit it, I’m obsessed with a small created wetland in NW Portland’s Pearl District. When it comes to urban greenspaces size is often overrated, meaning even a small created 200 x 200 foot faux wetlands can be both biologically and socially meaningful in intensely development urban neighborhoods. Tanner Springs...

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    May 26, 2013

    Landscape-like eco building; Monterey Bay Shores Ecoresort.
Designed by Thomas Rettenwender and Brent Bucknum for Rana Creek Habitat Restoration and BSA Architects.
http://www.earthrisedesign.com/files/MPC-pub090709.pdf
    Architecture and Urban Ecosystems: From Segregation to Integration
    Kaveh Samiei, Tehran

    “Architects have been aware of the issues for some time, of course, but the proportion of those committed to sustainable and ecological practices has remained small. And until recently, much of the work produced as sustainable architecture has been of poor quality. Early examples were focused mainly around the capacities...

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    May 22, 2013

    Mission_Blue_Butterfly_Kirke_Wrench_Photo_Contest_Feature
    40 Years of Success Protecting Backyard and Endangered Species
    John Kostyack, Washington, D.C.

    2013 is the 40th anniversary of two important moments in wildlife conservation history. In 1973, Congress enacted and President Nixon sign into law the Endangered Species Act. The ESA has become the U.S.A.’s most important wildlife conservation law, helping rescue from extinction the American bald eagle, the Florida panther, and...

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    May 19, 2013

    CentralParkNYC
    Getting Beyond Plant PR: Accounting for Both Services and Disservices of Urban Green Infrastructure
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    How do the benefits of urban green infrastructure stack up against the costs? We need to better understand the services and disservices generated by urban green infrastructure in order to build better decision support tools for improved planning and management of urban ecosystems that support human health and well-being. Urban...

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    May 15, 2013

    butterfly
    Though There is Method, There is Madness In It: How Silos of Methods Impede Cross-Cutting Research
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    I have three jobs—lecturer, facilitator of academic research, and mother of two nature-engaged kids. My three experiences lead me to think we have a core problem in urban social-ecology: that we let our fealty to discipline-specific methods get in the way of true multidisciplinary work that is key to real...

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    May 12, 2013

    drawingmachine_godard
    The Sensori-Motor City
    Brian McGrath, New York City

    How can we measure the ways in which we perceive, are affected by, act and reflect on the nature of the city? The human body is a sensor-motor apparatus within a mutually moving nature-culture continuum. This sensori-motor apparatus has a vast capability of quickly evaluating vast amounts of information and...

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    May 8, 2013

    Slide02
    The Cities We Want: Resilient, Sustainable, and Livable
    David Maddox, New York City

    Resilience is the word of the decade, as sustainability was in previous decades. No doubt, our view of the kind and quality of cities we as societies want to build will continue to evolve and inspire a new descriptive goal. Surely we have not lost our desire for sustainable cities,...

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    May 1, 2013

    CP Tree Play_5(Photo: Erika Svendsen)
    Rock, Tree, Human
    Erika Svendsen, New York City

    As a Brooklyn (New York) resident for over 15 years, I’ve never thought much about whether or not I was living on high ground, within a floodplain or an evacuation zone, or how I might secure my windows during a storm.  Recent hurricanes in my city have changed my perception...

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    April, 2013

    April 28, 2013

    Bike
    The Bicycle is a Catalyst for Nature Conservation
    Russell Galt, Cape Town

    Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race. —H.G. Wells Fast, efficient and individualistic, the bicycle is no ordinary mode of transport. It’s a church, a gym, a community creator, a cash printer, a protest placard, a dopamine generator,...

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    April 24, 2013

    Re-words
    Mechanisms of Resilience & Other ‘Re-Words’ in Urban Greening
    Keith Tidball, Ithaca

    I recently gave a talk at the Horticulture Society of New York’s annual Healing Nature Forum: Planting the Seeds of Health and Sustainability. As could be expected, there was a lot of talk about Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath, and the role of greening. This, of course, is of great interest to...

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    April 21, 2013

    5_Grounds of KTPH Hospital, Singapore
    Windows with a Biodiversity View
    Lena Chan, Singapore

    Three books inspire me greatly.  They are (a) ‘Biophilia’ by E.O. Wilson, (b) ‘Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity’ by Eric Chivian and Aaron Bernstein, and (c) ‘Biophilic Cities’ by Tim Beatley. Written almost thirty years ago, the first postulated that it is imprinted in our DNA that...

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    April 17, 2013

    15. dlandstudio Sponge Park Rendering
    Parks as Green Infrastructure, Green Infrastructure as Parks: How Need, Design and Technology Are Coming Together to Make Better Cities
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    In my work at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and more recently with the Trust for Public Land, I have been fortunate to be involved at the nexus of landscape architecture, civil engineering, urban design, environmental management, park planning, and many related areas.  Over the last...

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    April 14, 2013

    Kunming_Road_1999-2010
    Patch Reflection
    Victoria Marshall, Newark

    Urban Design practices have always been created in response to emerging and overlapping city models and the disciplinary contexts designers find themselves in. I have found that the urban ecology framework of Patch Dynamics has been key in allowing me to see how city models such as the megalopolis and...

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    April 8, 2013

    ILLUSTRATION_8
    Prospective Urbanism—Using Science and Fiction to Imagine a New Way for Urban Nature
    Pierre-André Martin, Rio de Janeiro

    A versão em Português segue imediatamente. Une version en français apparaît immédiatement après la version portugaise. Designing nature is a challenging task in an urban environment. For example, how can a 38 years old individual (myself) safely edit a 3.8 billion years old system (Nature)? It is quite a test...

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    April 3, 2013

    NNP - Landsat (2005)
    Reimagining Nairobi National Park: Counter-Intuitive Tradeoffs to Strengthen This Urban Protected Area
    Glen Hyman, Paris

    Nairobi is a bustling city of over 3 million people, many of whom are stuck in traffic for hours each day. One effort to mitigate these wasteful jams involves construction of additional motorways. But with little space specifically reserved for these new arteries, their proposed routes involve some delicate tradeoffs....

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    March, 2013

    March 31, 2013

    IMAGE 3 Downton TNOC2 Wheatfield
    Straw Polls, Dodos and the Value of Landscape
    Paul Downton, Adelaide

    The premises on which we build our cities and construct civilisation, and the extent and means by which we include nature in our cities depends on what values we choose to adopt. Our capacity to engage with the processes of nurturing the nature of our cities depends on how we...

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    March 27, 2013

    Fig 2
    Urban Sustainability and Resilience—Why We Need to Focus on Scales
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm

    Two of the most debated and challenging concepts in urban development are sustainability and resilience. How are they related? Do they mean approximately the same thing or are they distinctly different and can misunderstandings lead to undesired outcomes? In this essay I will try to clarify the concepts, discuss two...

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    March 24, 2013

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    Vegetation Changes Associated with Coastal Tourist Urbanization
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    Evidence from many cities around the world shows that urbanization is a widespread process that homogenises biota as ecological communities become more alike one another through the introduction and extinction of species. On account of this process, there is great concern about the conservation of local biodiversity, which may suffer...

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    March 20, 2013

    _IGP3557-1
    Working Beyond Park Boundaries to Benefit Public Health in Victoria, Australia
    Kathryn Campbell, Victoria

    Since writing my last blog in October 2012, I returned to Victoria, Australia, at the conclusion of an exciting two year secondment to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada. The focus there was on further embedding biological diversity (biodiversity) and human health matters in the...

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    March 17, 2013

    8_GowausSurface2PhotoJoshuaKristalFEATURE
    Dolphin as Metaphor for the Limits of Environmental Law
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City

    On January 25, 2013, a dolphin swam into Brooklyn, New York’s Gowanus Canal. Poor dolphin! Gowanus canal is a 1.8 mile long Superfund site—a toxic stew of pesticides, heavy metals and PCBs masquerading as “the waters of the United States” (to use the language of the Clean Water Act). A...

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    March 13, 2013

    green roof atop hyllie mall in ma lmö, sweden ©alessandro scotti
    Intensiveness and Extensiveness in Our Urban Landscape
    Andrew Rudd, New York City

    Much of urban history has emphasized density and centrality in city form. Though some environmentalists question the sustainability of such intensive land use, recent studies have shown that urban density correlates positively with resource efficiency and reduced emissions. At the same time, innovations in transport technology have historically allowed cities...

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    March 10, 2013

    JMD_RemocionB
    Critical Questions to Integrate Ecologies and Economies Across Urban-Rural Gradients
    Juana Mariño, Bogota

    “A sustainable city is one which contributes to sustainable development, and to do this it must have a high level of urbanization. (…) Without urbanization, it’s nearly impossible to have important development and growth in the economy.To have a city that generates wealth, prosperity and jobs for young people, you...

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    March 3, 2013

    2RelocatableGarden
    Temporary Nature’s Potential for Resilience and Liveability
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch

    In my last blog I introduced to you the earthquakes that devastated Christchurch city beginning back in September 2010. I had been wondering about what I might share with you in my next blog and when I was driving thru the city the other day and spotted a field of...

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    February, 2013

    February 27, 2013

    Web
    Urbanophilia and the End of Misanthropy: Cities Are Nature
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    Jane Jacobs titled her sixth book The Nature of Economies (Random House, 2000). In the Foreword she makes explicit her intent: “The theme running through this exposition — indeed, the basic premise on which the book is constructed — is that human beings exist wholly within nature as a legitimate part of...

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    February 24, 2013

    6. waxwing eating mtn ash berry
    Musings on Winter’s Darkness and the Ways that Birds Brighten Urban Lives
    Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

    My enchantment began on a Saturday morning, shortly before solstice and not long after I’d moved from Anchorage’s lowlands to the city’s Hillside area. Lolling in bed, I glanced outside. And there, before me, were several black-capped chickadees flitting about a backyard spruce. Wonderful, I thought. Here’s a chance to...

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    February 20, 2013

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    In Terms of Conserving Biodiversity—How Functional is a Conservation Development?
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    I recently blogged about how we could construct urban communities that conserve biodiversity. On private lands marked for development, one strategy to conserve biodiversity is to build a conservation development (CD). CD is an approach to the design, construction, and stewardship of a development that achieves functional protection of natural...

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    February 17, 2013

    Brest sous le soleil couchant
    Port Cities and Nature: The Experience of Brest Métropole Océane and the Maritime Innovative Territories International Network
    Oliver Hillel, Montreal

    Une version en français suit immédiatement dans cet espace. Just as human activities change the face of our planet, the habits of maritime and port city residents have a disproportionate influence on the fate of coastal and marine biodiversity. We already know that what happens to life on Earth will...

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    February 13, 2013

    FalseBayCapeTown
    What We Want and What We Don’t: Forging an Urban Nature that Works for Everyone
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    Its 11 o’clock on a Saturday night and my husband and I have just returned home from a dinner party. Driving home we encountered Chital deer (Axis axis) grazing outside the Table Mountain National Park boundary and right on the verge of a busy highway. These deer don’t belong here,...

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    February 10, 2013

    NativeGarden-Fresno
    Water and the City: A Dispatch From an American Frontier Town
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno

    Out in the no longer so Wild West of America, a war is brewing. At the fringes of the great southwestern deserts, in the shadows of the high Sierra Nevada mountains, lies the great Central Valley of California, a primary battleground for this war — a war over water. The war...

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    February 6, 2013

    6_Heritage trees in Lal Bagh
    Biodiversity and the City—Challenges for India
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    A predominantly rural country, India is rapidly urbanizing. Although only 30% of India’s population lives in cities now, this proportion is expected to increase to 50% in the next two decades. It is becoming increasingly important, therefore, to have a good understanding of the processes that shape ecology and conservation...

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    February 3, 2013

    GlobalEcologicalFootprint
    Urban Ecological Footprint and Bequeathing a Livable Future
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai

    “Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction” — M K Gandhi Will we have enough resources to consume and survive if 60% of the world’s population becomes urbanized by 2030? Are our cities self-sufficient entities? How are we going to satisfy the huge appetite of the...

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    January, 2013

    January 30, 2013

    Sallinger Raptor Cam RTH 5-31-10 120-B
    Fire Escape Red-tails
    Bob Sallinger, Portland

    I blogged previously about the importance of integrating urban wildlife into our urban stories, poems, myths and culture in a piece entitled Souvlaki Coyote. Just as we integrate our built and natural environments, we must also repopulate our imaginations with images of wildlife that adhere to an urbanized context. This month...

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    January 27, 2013

    SummerGardenAfterRestoration
    Historic Gardens – Where Nature Meets Culture – Can be Urban Biodiversity Hotspots
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala

    I was lucky to be born in St. Petersburg, Russia, the city of museums and parks.  My first scientific passion was exactly historical imperial gardens.  Traditionally gardens have been seen as very special places, as paradises where people can enjoy sounds of water and birds, can rest their eyes on...

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    January 22, 2013

    extreme_events
    Planning Under Uncertainty: Regime Shifts, Resilience, and Innovation in Urban Ecosystems
    Marina Alberti, Seattle

    Cities face unprecedented challenges.  Global environmental change is placing increasing pressure on ecosystem functions and their ability to support human activities.  The exponential growth of human activities is a key driver of such change, so much so that Planet Earth has certainly entered a new Epoch—the Anthropocene, in which humans...

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    January 20, 2013

    HurricaneSandyPhotobyMarkOlsen
    Wicked Problems, Social-ecological Systems, and the Utility of Systems Thinking
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    We had a “wicked problem” on our hands when Hurricane Sandy struck the US eastern seaboard on October 29th, 2012.  Sandy was dramatic, destroying 72,000 homes, causing tens of billions of dollars in infrastructural damage, displacing thousands of residents (many of whom are still displaced), and completely disrupting one of...

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    January 16, 2013

    JapaneseKnotweed
    Our Changing Urban Nature: Time to Embrace Exotic Species? (Or at Least Some of Them)
    Matt Palmer, New York City

    Cities are melting pots.  I expect we understand this metaphor best as it relates to human beings. Cities around the world grow because people keep moving into them.  People move from nearby rural areas, from other regions in the same country, or from around the world.  When they arrive, they...

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    January 13, 2013

    SoundFeature
    Celebrating the Natural Soundscapes of Cities
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    In recent presentations about green cities and green urbanism I often play for audiences several common natural sounds, to see whether they recognize what they are hearing.  Here is one of the sounds I often play—something commonly heard in communities in the eastern US. Click here for a mystery nature...

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    January 9, 2013

    HouseLisbon2
    From Banlieue to Biophilia: Thinking About Nature as a Basis for Urban Design
    Philip Silva, New York

    My second contribution to the Nature of Cities blog was scheduled to fall around that awkward moment at the start of the New Year when productivity is at its lowest ebb. Instead of sitting down to the task at my own snow-bound desk in upstate New York, I find myself...

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    January 6, 2013

    Policy & planning (no credit required)
    Key Factors in Sustaining the Local Ecological Agenda
    Andre Mader, Montreal

    One hundred ninety two national governments and the EU have signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), pledging to work towards its three objectives (see here).  In reality, much of the onus falls on local governments although, often, neither level is aware of this nor how it should take place....

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    January 2, 2013

    DuneNYC
    The Strategy of Sanderlings and the Tactics of Terrapins: What Was Hurricane Sandy Trying to Tell New York City?
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    Like an ancient prophet, armed with forebodings of doom and destruction, Hurricane Sandy bore down on New York City in the early hours of 30 October, 2012.  An extra-tropical cyclone, a thousand miles wide and armed with hurricane strength winds, Sandy was only eight days old.  A fitful infant terrible,...

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    December, 2012

    December 30, 2012

    South Village-1
    Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2012
    David Maddox, New York City

    Cities are ecological spaces.  But only relatively recently has this new vision of ecologically sophisticated cities gained momentum.  Today, in increasing numbers, scientists, designers, and practitioners create useful knowledge about the nature of cities through study and research that can inspire public debate and decision makers.  Thinkers imagine how to...

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    December 19, 2012

    ChristchurchQuake3
    Natural Disasters and the Nature of Cities
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch

    Environmental traumas are here.  Global climate is a reality that is bringing extremes in weather as we have seen recently with the devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy in the northeast of the USA.  And in the last several years there have been massive earthquakes that have devastated cities in Japan,...

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    December 15, 2012

    Figure 5 Cedar Mill Creek 2002c
    Biodiversity Planning: Finally Getting It Right in the Portland-Vancouver Metro Region
    Mike Houck, Portland

    In his book Green Urbanism Tim Beatley touted Portland, Oregon as one example of progressive regional, bioregional, and metropolitan-scale greenspace planning in the U.S.  It is true that the Portland metropolitan region is well known for its land use planning and sustainable practices.  Portland itself has more LEED buildings than any...

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    December 12, 2012

    CopperMine
    The Invisible Urban Nature All Around Us: Beyond Green to Include the Built Infrastructure
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    It is interesting that we think of nature in cities only as fauna and flora.  Mineral nature—the rocks and inert resources—is the stage on which living nature is set.  In cities, this means that the embedded nature all around us, that has been extracted from the Earth like the processed...

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    December 9, 2012

    Image
    Can Smartphones Save Urban Natural History?
    David Goode, London

    In 2008 the London Natural History Society celebrated its 150th anniversary with a conference on ‘London’s Natural History: past, present and future’. I was asked to consider future prospects. What changes might we expect in London’s natural history in fifty year’s time, and what are the prospects for the Society?...

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    December 6, 2012

    CT_CM_08
    Parking Lots and Rice Paddies: Designing Resilient Urban Water Systems
    Brian McGrath, New York City

    I left Springfield to study architecture in 1974, two years after passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972. The first watershed association in the U.S. was established the Connecticut River Watershed Council two years before my birth in 1952. I can measure my return to the Connecticut River Valley...

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    December 2, 2012

    1-COBERTURA-SOLO-LEGENDAS-INGLES
    A Green Dream to Counter “Greenwashing” in Brazilian Cities
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    I have always thought – I am really lucky because I live in a city with rich biodiversity that still remains in patches spread in the hills and close to the ocean. In spite of other problems we have, being close to nature is a great asset that attracts countless...

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    November, 2012

    November 28, 2012

    PradoMarti(Havanna)(PhotoDMaddox
    We’re Number 1* (*Depending): The Values Embedded in “Most Green City” Lists
    David Maddox, New York City

    Who doesn’t love a list? The 100 richest people in the world. The best guitar players of all time. The most beautiful beaches in the world. The world’s “greenest cities”. The USA’s most livable cities. The most resilient cities. For people interested in the particular theme of the list, the lists...

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    November 18, 2012

    Aerial view of part of Singapore. Photo by Wong Tuan Wah.
    From International Committment to Local Action: The Singapore Experience
    Lena Chan, Singapore

    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) currently has 193 Parties. It is indeed a challenge for each of the Parties, as a nation, to implement their commitments to an international convention like the CBD. How can each Party know how successful it has been in fulfilling its obligations to the...

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    November 14, 2012

    CBO back cover
    Let’s Reinvent the Wheel: Helping Local Governments Protect Nature
    Oliver Hillel, Montreal

    Coming just out of the whirlwind of the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Hyderabad, India, from 8 to 19 October 2012, there are many reasons to celebrate. The Convention brings together the governments of 192 countries to discuss policies, actions...

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    November 10, 2012

    RENDER 3
    Putting Nature Back Into the Natural Beauty of Rio de Janeiro
    Pierre-André Martin, Rio de Janeiro

    It is an irony that despite the magnificent natural beauty of Rio de Janeiro, the city itself is largely devoid of functioning nature. It is now time for Rio to not only to host global events such as the World Cup and Olympics, but to host its primary nature, not...

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    November 7, 2012

    Hyderabad
    Maintaining Functioning Urban Ecosystems Can Significantly Improve Human Health and Well-Being
    Kathryn Campbell, Victoria

    With the global urban population expected to double to around 6.5 billion by 2050, the future outlook for biodiversity can be positive, particularly if biodiversity is seen as a part of the solution to some of our most urgent development challenges. Biodiversity underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on which...

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    October, 2012

    October 29, 2012

    EPSON DSC picture
    The Green Leap: Can We Construct Urban Communities that Conserve Biodiversity?
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    For the first time in our history, more people live in urban vs. rural areas and humans continue to move into cities. Cities have huge impacts on our natural resources. Urban dwellers consume vast amounts of energy, produce waste, and alter landscapes to the point where native plant and animal...

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    October 26, 2012

    Slide3
    Botanical Gardens: More Than Places at Which the Plants Are Labelled
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    Botanical gardens (BGs) are places where people like to be. They provide not only amenities and relaxation for the visitors but opportunities to learn about plants and their environment. In many cases they represent one of the few opportunities for city dwellers to connect with nature. At the same time...

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    October 22, 2012

    Children came into the fishway and thinking how to use the stones for the ecosystem near the river mouth, 2012. Photo: Keitaro ITO
    Hands-On Habitat Volunteers—A Key to the Future of the Environmental Movement
    John Kostyack, Washington, D.C.

    The near absence of any discussion of the environment in the presidential debates has led me to think about the state of the U.S. environmental movement. In one sense, conservationists in the U.S. should be proud of all that we have accomplished in cleaning up our air and water, restoring...

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    October 17, 2012

    South Village
    Neighborhoods and Urban Fractals—The Building Blocks of Sustainable Cities
    Paul Downton, Adelaide

    Urbanisation is spreading across the face of the planet at an unprecedented rate. Most of it is opportunistic; ad hoc development and shanty towns rather than master plans. Virtually none of it, planned or otherwise, incorporates the elements of natural capital that are needed to create sustainable cities. Every time...

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    October 14, 2012

    Coyotes
    Embracing Environmental Justice to Green Our Cities
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City

    The future of the environmental movement lies in the world’s cities. In 2008, for the first time in human history, more of us lived in urban environments than in any other setting.  This trend is only going to accelerate as human population approaches the 10 billion (!) mark by the...

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    October 10, 2012

    Zebra
    No More Elsewheres
    Andrew Rudd, New York City

    The frogs of suburban Nairobi Four years ago I moved to Nairobi and repaired the concrete-lined fish pond on my property. Soon thereafter the frogs appeared unbidden. Their performance generally begins with a single peep or croak and rapidly crescendos into something so dramatic and deafening that it feels more...

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    October 7, 2012

    BangaloreKids WIDE
    A Tale of Two Lakes: Collective Action in Cities
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    There is no single path to sustainability. As Thomas Elmqvist wrote in a recent blog post, each city has its own challenges and opportunities for sustainable growth, and yet we all have much to learn from each other. Reading the past weeks of blogs on the Nature of Cities has...

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    October 3, 2012

    Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)
    Cities and Biodiversity Outlook—Unprecedented Opportunities Lie Ahead in Greening Urban Expansion
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm

    The world is increasingly urban, interconnected, and changing. If current trends continue, by 2050 the global urban population is estimated to double and be around 6.5 billion. Most of future urban growth is expected to happen in small and medium-sized cities, not in megacities, and approximately 60% of the projected...

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    September, 2012

    September 30, 2012

    BombCraterGarden2
    Greening in the Red Zone: Thoughts on Disaster, Resilience and Community Greening in the Peopled Landscape
    Keith Tidball, Ithaca

    At the international conference Resilience 2008, which gathered more than 600 leading scientists, business leaders and politicians in Stockholm, Sweden, I was struck by the Changing Matters art exhibit that explored resilience themes. One of the artists, Jon Brunberg, shared a piece called 19 Years, a one-minute Flash animation that...

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    September 25, 2012

    Celadon_Photo_300dpi
    Designing Integrated Ecologies: Real Estate, Ecosystems, and Everyday Perception
    Victoria Marshall, Newark

    In 1990 the municipal landfill of the City of Elizabeth, New Jersey (near New York City) was officially closed and a leachate system, layers of cleaner soils, and two brand new wetlands were constructed. The landfill, located on the waterfront on Newark Bay, on top of the mouth of a...

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    September 18, 2012

    Bald Eagle
    Rediscovering Wildness—and Finding the “Wild Man”—in Alaska’s Urban Center
    Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

    I have been getting quite the education on “The Nature of Cities” these past few months, while taking in the perspectives of academics, ecologists, naturalists, architects and urban designers, educators, and conservationists (some contributors wearing several hats). I have been impressed—and at times overwhelmed—by the scope of research, activism, and...

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    September 11, 2012

    FishInWall
    Souvlaki Coyote and other Tales of Urban Wildlife
    Bob Sallinger, Portland

    Much of the fabulous writing on The Nature of Cities blog site to date has focused on integrating the built and natural environment, erasing, or at least softening the lines that separate the natural and the manmade. I would like to shift focus a bit and explore the intersection between...

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    September 5, 2012

    SaoPaolo,BR
    Cities and Biodiversity: A Call for Up-Scaled Action
    Russell Galt, Cape Town

    For all of us working in the field of “cities and biodiversity”, it is well worth reflecting on our achievements. We can take personal satisfaction knowing that we contribute to a meaningful cause with tangible results. Every scientific paper, policy-brief and newsletter, every side event, meeting and presentation, every phone...

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    August, 2012

    August 28, 2012

    BaismanRun
    Architecture, Ecology and the Nature-Culture Continuum
    Brian McGrath, New York City

    The Venetians built a remarkable city made up of close-knit island neighborhoods within a briny lagoon, centered on fresh ground water cisterns in the middle of sand filled public plazas called campi. There are few cities where one feels so in touch with nature, in the stone of the buildings,...

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    August 21, 2012

    ImagesVacantLots
    Vacant Land in Cities Could Provide Important Social and Ecological Benefits
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    Walk through any major city and you’ll see vacant land. These are the weed lots, garbage strewn undeveloped spaces, and high crime areas that most urban residents consider blights on the neighborhood. In some cases, neighbors have organized to transform these spaces into community amenities such as shared garden spaces,...

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    August 14, 2012

    coyote with pups
    Discovering Urban Biodiversity
    Matt Palmer, New York City

    The world is losing its biological diversity – or biodiversity – at an alarming rate. The primary force driving this is habitat degradation. When the places where animals, plants, fungi, and the myriad other organisms live are converted to other uses, conditions change and the prior residents often move on or...

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    August 7, 2012

    DucksCentralPark3
    Exploring the Nature Pyramid
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    I have long been a believer in E.O. Wilson’s idea of biophilia; that we are hard-wired from evolution to need and want contact with nature. To have a healthy life, emotionally and physically, requires this contact. The empirical evidence of this is overwhelming: exposure to nature lowers our blood pressure,...

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    July, 2012

    July 31, 2012

    NYCSewer
    Cyborgs, Sewers, and the Sensing City
    Philip Silva, New York

    Cities have long been seen as the antithesis – or, at least, the absence – of nature. Yet in recent years, environmentalists started rethinking their long-held prejudices against urban areas. The rise of neighborhood-based environmental justice movements, beginning in the 1980’s, forced us to confront the human side of pollution and...

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    July 24, 2012

    Fig4-2
    Let us champion “Biodiversinesque” landscape design for the 21st century
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala

    I started my research as a landscape architect and urban ecologist in St. Petersburg, Russia. My home town is one of the biggest European cities and it is famous for numerous historical landscapes. In that time (1990’s) investigation of urban biotopes was a novelty. Passion for the history of landscape...

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    July 17, 2012

    Manahatta
    Cities of Nature
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    Many entries in this collective blog about the nature of cities will focus your attention on the nature that remains in cities, defined in terms of those patches of semi-natural habitat, the green bits, which are found in all cities, and which can be encouraged or discouraged by human action. ...

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    July 10, 2012

    Figure 4
    Connecting the Wonderful Landscapes of Rio de Janeiro
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    (Nota: A versão em Português segue imediatamente.) The tropical urban landscapes of Rio de Janeiro, a city of 6.3 million inhabitants, are really impressive and unique. It is the outcome of five centuries of nature-human interaction. Last week UNESCO elected part of the city as a World Cultural Heritage. It...

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    July 3, 2012

    1 Peregrine Falcon on Bridge Photo Bob Sallinger WIDE
    Nature Nearby
    Mike Houck, Portland

    The belief that the city is an entity apart from nature and even antithetical to it has dominated the way in which the city is perceived and continues to affect how it is built. The city must be recognized as part of nature and designed accordingly — Anne Whiston Spirn,...

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    June, 2012

    June 25, 2012

    Hawk WIDE
    Colonisation and Creativity: Two of the Drivers in Urban Ecology
    David Goode, London

    Over the past two weeks I have experienced two very different aspects of urban ecology.  The first centered on a pair of peregrine falcons nesting close to where I live in the city of Bath.  The second was a visit to the Olympic Parklands which have been created for the...

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    June 18, 2012

    LAVeg
    Reflections on Cities, Seasons and Bioregions
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    This winter I had occasion to spend a few days in the city of Albuquerque, where it was cold, dry and brown. Winter in the Southwestern United States. Trees along the Rio Grande were bare; not too many trees elsewhere. Taking the taxi back home from the Los Angeles International...

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    June 12, 2012

    ParkReverie
    Introducing “The Nature of Cities”
    David Maddox, New York City

    Sitting in the southern end of Central Park in New York City a few weeks ago, I found myself at what is called the “Literary Walk”. Statues of Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Shakespeare and others decorate a cathedral of elm trees that line a wide path. It was a...

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