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Cities are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure
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  • Aakriti Grover
  • Abigail York
  • Adrian Benepe
  • Adrina Bardekjian
  • Alberto Tacón
  • Alexandre Guertin
  • Alexandros Gasparatos
  • Alex Russ
  • Alice Hertzog-Fraser
  • Alisa Zomer
  • Alison Benjamin
  • Aliyu Barau
  • Allison Bernett
  • Allison Palenske
  • Álvaro González Reyes
  • Amosh Neupane
  • Amy Chomowicz
  • Amy Hahs
  • Ana Faggi
  • Andréa Albuquerque G. Redondo
  • André Gonçalves
  • Andre Mader
  • Andre Ortega
  • Andrés Flajszer
  • Andrew Clements
  • Andrew Grant
  • Andrew Rudd
  • Angela Glover Blackwell
  • Angela Loder
  • Anjali Mahendra
  • Anna Backstrom
  • Anna Bubnova
  • Anna Dietzsch
  • Anne Trumble
  • Antoine Faye
  • Arjen Wals
  • Barbara Deutsch
  • Ben Feldmann
  • Ben Hecht
  • Ben Bradlow
  • Benjamin Swett
  • Betsy Hodges
  • Bill Toomey
  • Bill Sherwonit
  • Bob Sallinger
  • Bolanle Wahab
  • Bongani Mnisi
  • Boyi Zhou
  • Bradley Rink
  • Bram Gunther
  • Briana Liu
  • Brian McGrath
  • Bryce DuBois
  • Buyana Kareem
  • Camilo Ordoñez
  • Candice Russell
  • Caragh Threlfall
  • Carla Gonçalves
  • Carla Sutherland
  • Caroline Robinson
  • Catherine Sutherland
  • Cecilia Herzog
  • Cezar Busatto
  • Chan-Won Lee
  • Joana Chan & Bryce DuBois
  • Chankook Kim
  • Chantal van Ham
  • Charlie Nilon
  • Chris Garvin
  • Chris Hensley
  • Chris Ives
  • Chris Jordan
  • Chris Starkey
  • Christine Thuring
  • Chris Payne
  • Christopher Sellers
  • Claire Robinson
  • Claire Weisz
  • Claudia Misteli Fajardo
  • Claudia Zuleyka Vidal
  • Colin Meurk
  • Collins Adjei Mensah
  • Damon Hall
  • Daniel Feinberg
  • Dan Lewis
  • Daniel Zarrilli
  • Darnell Moore
  • Darlene Wolnik
  • David Brooks
  • David Burg
  • David Dixon
  • David Goode
  • David Greenwood
  • David Maddox
  • David Simon
  • Deborah Lev
  • Denise Ford
  • Denise Mouga
  • Derek Nichols
  • Diana Wiesner
  • Diane Pataki
  • Diego Borrero
  • Divya Gopal
  • Doreen Adengo
  • Dusty Gedge
  • Edna Peres
  • Eduardo Brondizio
  • E. J. McAdams
  • Elisabeth Peyroux
  • Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk
  • Elliott Maltby
  • Emilio Fantin
  • Emily Wier
  • Eric Sanderson
  • Erika Svendsen
  • Erle Ellis
  • Fadi Hamdan
  • Fengping Yang
  • Finzi Saidi
  • Fonna Forman
  • Francis Vorhies
  • Francois Mancebo
  • Franco Montalto
  • Fran Ilich
  • Frida Larios
  • Ganzeer
  • Gareth Haysom
  • Gavin Van Horn
  • David Maddox
  • Genie Birch
  • Geoffrey Davison
  • George Kinyashi
  • Georgina Avlonitis
  • Germán Gomez
  • Germán Gomez Eslava
  • Glen Hyman
  • Glenn Phillips
  • Glenn Stewart
  • Gloria Aponte
  • Harini Nagendra
  • Haripriya Gundimeda
  • Hayley Leck
  • Heather McMillen
  • Henk Ovink
  • Henrik von Wehrden
  • Henrik Waldenström
  • Henrique Mercer
  • Henry Booth
  • Herbert Dreiseitl
  • Hita Unnikrishnan
  • Huda Shaka
  • Ian MacGregor-Fors
  • Ingo Kowarik
  • Irene Guida
  • Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski
  • Jack Maher
  • Jack Travis
  • James Steenberg
  • Janet Dyment
  • Janice Astbury
  • Jaroslav Mysiak
  • Jason Schupbach
  • Jayne Engle
  • Jay Valgora
  • Jenga Mwendo
  • Jennifer Adams
  • Jennifer Baljko
  • Jimena Martignoni
  • Jim Labbe
  • Joe Lobko
  • Johan Enqvist
  • John Hartig
  • John Kostyack
  • John Marzluff
  • Jonathan Craik
  • Jonathan Stenvall
  • Jonce Walker
  • Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira
  • Josh Lewis
  • Joshua Burch
  • Juana Mariño
  • Juan Carlos Arroyo
  • Judy Li
  • Jürgen Breuste
  • Julian Goh
  • Julie Bargmann
  • Julie Goodness
  • Julie Santos
  • Kaitlin Lovell
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson
  • Karen Seto
  • Karla Dakin
  • Karolina Łukasiewicz
  • Kate Pallett
  • Kate Scherer
  • Katharine Burgess
  • Katherine Baldock
  • Kathleen Wolf
  • Kathryn Campbell
  • Kathryn Lwin
  • Katie Holzer
  • Katrine Claassens
  • Kaveh Samiei
  • Keijiro Suzuki
  • Keitaro Ito
  • Keith Bowers
  • Keith Tidball
  • Kelly Brenner
  • Kenneth Taylor
  • Ken Smith
  • Keren Bolter
  • Kerry Ross
  • Kevin Sloan
  • Kevin Songer
  • Kimberly Snyder
  • Kitty Connolly
  • Koko Warner
  • Lance Gunderson
  • Laura Booth
  • Laura Mumaw
  • Laura Shillington
  • Laura Spinadel
  • Lausanne Olvitt
  • Lena Chan
  • Leonie Fischer
  • Lesley Lokko
  • Leslie Vorraber
  • Liana Jansen
  • Hui Ling Lim
  • Linda Goh
  • Lindsay Campbell
  • Lisa Terreni
  • Lloyd Godman
  • Lorena Pasquini
  • Lorena Zárate
  • Lorenza Perelli
  • Lorenzo Chelleri
  • Louise Lezy-Bruno
  • Luciana Nery
  • Luis Sandoval
  • Luke Drake
  • Luke Engleback
  • Lynn Wilson
  • Madhumitha Jaganmohan
  • Madhusudan Katti
  • Mahim Maher
  • Manuela Gervasi
  • Mapula Priscilla Masilela
  • Mara Gittleman
  • Marcelo Lopes de Souza
  • Marcus Hedblom
  • Maria E Ignatieva
  • Marianne Krasny
  • Maria Tengö
  • Marielle Anzelone
  • Marina Alberti
  • Mariona Espinet
  • Marit Larson
  • Mark Davis
  • Mark Goddard
  • Mark Hostetler
  • Mark McDonnell
  • Mark Norman
  • Mark Simmons
  • Mårten Wallberg
  • Martha Fajardo
  • Marthe Derkzen
  • Martin Maldonado
  • Maruxa Cardama
  • Maryam Akbarian
  • Mary Mattingly
  • Mary Miss
  • Mary Rowe
  • Mary Wyatt
  • Mateo Hernández
  • Mathieu Hélie
  • Matt Palmer
  • Matt Shardlow
  • Maxime Zucca
  • Menno Welling
  • Meredith Dobbie
  • Michael Berkshire
  • Michael Jemtrud
  • Michael Mehaffy
  • Michelle Johnson
  • Mickey Fearn
  • Miguel Luna
  • Mike Feller
  • Mike Houck
  • Mike Wells
  • Mike Wetter
  • Mina Fallahzadegan
  • Mindy Thompson Fullilove
  • Miranda Gardiner
  • Mirna Goransky
  • Mitchell Chester
  • Mitchell Thomashow
  • Monica Luengo
  • Monika Lawrence
  • Mutizwa Mukute
  • Myla Aronson
  • Naomi Tsur
  • Nate Gabriel
  • Nathalie Baumann
  • Na Xiu
  • Nette Compton
  • Nik Luka
  • Nina-Marie Lister
  • Noboru Kawashima
  • Noel Hefele
  • Norbert Mueller
  • Novem Auyeung
  • Oliver Hillel
  • Olivia Aguilar
  • Olumuyiwa Adegun
  • Osvaldo Moreno
  • Pakamas Thinphanga
  • Patrice Milillo
  • Patricia Holly
  • Patrick Lydon
  • Paula Villagra
  • Paul Downton
  • Pauline Bullen
  • Paul White
  • Pedro Camarena
  • Pepe Marcos-Iga
  • Per Berg
  • Peter Werner
  • Peter Head
  • Philip Silva
  • Pierre-André Martin
  • Pippin Anderson
  • PK Das
  • Polly Knowlton Cockett
  • Rachel Holmes
  • Rachna Leveque
  • Radhika Khosla
  • Raul Pacheco-Vega
  • Rebecca Bratspies
  • Rebecca Salminen Witt
  • Renae Reynolds
  • Richard Friend
  • Richard Murray
  • Richard Scott
  • Robert Morris-Nunn
  • Robin Lasser
  • Rob McInnes
  • Rob Pirani
  • Rob Tinch
  • Roland Lewis
  • Ruishan Chen
  • Russell Galt
  • Sadia Butt
  • Saleh Ahmed
  • Samantha Lai
  • Sam Gochman
  • Sarah Bergmann
  • Sarah Bradley
  • Sarah Charlop-Powers
  • Scott MacIvor
  • Scot Spencer
  • Sebastian Miguel
  • Shawn Van Sluys
  • Sheila Foster
  • Shuaib Lwasa
  • Sidd Joag
  • Soul Shava
  • Stephan Barthel
  • Stephanie Britton
  • Stephanie Pincetl
  • Stephanie Radok
  • Steve Brown
  • Steven Handel
  • Steve Whitney
  • Stuart Gaffin
  • Sumetee Gajjar
  • Susannah Drake
  • Taida Garibovic
  • Taylor Britt
  • Teddy Cruz
  • Ted Trzyna
  • Theaster Gates
  • Thomas Elmqvist
  • Tim Beatley
  • Tim Collins
  • Timon McPhearson
  • Tina Harrison
  • Tischa Muñoz-Erickson
  • Toby Query
  • Todd Lester
  • Tom Henfrey
  • Toni Griffin
  • Toni Pujol
  • Tori Kjer
  • Traci Sooter
  • Tracy-Ann Hyman
  • Uchendu Chigbu
  • Ulrike Grau
  • Victor Beumer
  • Victoria Marshall
  • Paula Villagra & Carmen Silva
  • Vin Cipolla
  • Viviana Figueroa
  • Shubhalaxmi Vaylure
  • Whitney Hopkins
  • Will Allen
  • William Dunbar
  • Wolfgang Ansel
  • Pengfei Xie
  • Yolanda van Heezik
  • Yu Huang
  • Yunus Arikan
  • Yvonne Lynch
  • May, 2016

    May 29, 2016

    image1
    Scentimental Associations with Nature: Odor-Associative Learning and Biophilic Design
    Sam Gochman, New York City

    When you walk outside after a summer rainstorm, you know it when it hits you: that distinctly earthy, musty, yet crisp scent that flows with optimism and a desire to be in nature as you take a long, deep breath. It is the smell of rain, known as petrichor, and...

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    May 28, 2016

    Picture 9
    Common threads: connections among the ideas of Jane Jacobs and Elinor Ostrom, and their relevance to urban socio-ecology
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Johan Enqvist, Stockholm
    Sheila Foster, New York City
    Mathieu Hélie, Montréal
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Michelle Johnson, New York City
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    David Maddox, New York City
    Michael Mehaffy, Portland
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore
    Raul Pacheco-Vega, Aguascalientes
    Mary Rowe, New York City
    Alex Russ, Ithaca
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles
    Arjen Wals, Wageningen
    Abigail York, Tempe

    2 Comment(s)
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    May 26, 2016

    google-maps-geographic-marker-vector_21-77236301
    Sense of Place
    Jennifer Adams, New York City
    David Greenwood, Thunder Bay
    Mitchell Thomashow, Seattle
    Alex Russ, Ithaca

    Different people perceive the same city or neighborhood in different ways. While one person may appreciate ecological and social aspects of a neighborhood, another may experience environmental and racialized injustice. A place may also conjure contradicting emotions—the warmth of community and home juxtaposed with the stress of dense urban living....

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    May 24, 2016

    Residents participating in Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful
    A Sustainable Future with Jobs and Social Harmony Starts with Urban Nature
    Buyana Kareem, Kampala

    According to the United Nations’ sustainable development framework, there are three dimensions of sustainability: (1) economic sustainability (jobs, prosperity, and wealth creation for all); (2) social sustainability (reduced vulnerability to poverty, inequality, and insecurity); and (3) environmental sustainability (production and consumption patterns that respect planetary boundaries) [Note i]. On the...

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    May 23, 2016

    reflection
    Poetry Produces the Novel Language of Future Cities
    Laura Booth, New York City

    A review of Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City. 2000. Edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis. ISBN: 1571314105. 265 pages. Buy the book. How can poems advance our understanding of nature in cities? If cities themselves are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure, it follows that these...

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    May 22, 2016

    A young boy sits on top of a flood protection wall in Metro Manila. An informal community is settled under this bridge in a part of the river that is especially vulnerable to floods. Flood markers have been put in place to provide additional warning to the community - so that they can move to higher ground in case of an emergency. But the core of the problem is of lack of access to viable housing, employment and services that drives people to live in such vulnerable locations. Photo: © Richard Friend
    Market-Based Solutions Cannot Forge Transformative and Inclusive Urban Futures
    Richard Friend, Bangkok

    There is an advertisement that is played with great frequency on television in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Even without the language, the imagery is powerful and vivid; the meaning seems unambiguous. In the setting of a sparklingly clean, modern kitchen, a young pregnant woman goes to drink a glass of what appears...

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    May 19, 2016

    WindellOskay_magnetic fields - 14
    Parks as Magnets that Shape Sustainable Cities
    Amy Hahs, Parkville, Australia

    The other day, I took my two children to the park. We clambered over rocks and logs, slid down slides, and rolled down a large grassy hill. At one stage, I stood at the top of the hill, the city skyline before me, and the sounds of happy children all...

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    May 17, 2016

    Community Garden_Steve Guttman via flickr
    Biophilic Urban Acupuncture: The Importance of Biophilia in Urban Places
    Jonce Walker, New York City

    As our cities expand and densify simultaneously, there is a need to design places to connect people to nature. If we are not careful, our commute and daily experience within the city will be nothing more than glass, steel, and concrete. This post articulates the need for biophilic interventions in...

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    May 15, 2016

    Victorian sky no words
    Ceci N’est Pas le Ciel: Biophilia, Design, and Illusions of Authenticity
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A recent post by an online design-oriented magazine devoted to things environmental declared that it had been a good week for the environment and proceeded to list a number of initiatives and new products that were almost exclusively to do with human technology. It struck me that the average tree...

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    May 12, 2016

    8_GowausSurface2PhotoJoshuaKristalFEATURE
    Look Who’s Coming to Dinner…Bacteria that Eat the Gowanus Sludge—TNOC Podcast Episode 7
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is well known throughout New York City as a nearly two-mile-long trench filled with sewage and chemicals left behind by years of neglectful pollution. Though the canal is slated for a multi-million dollar cleanup courtesy of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency...

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    May 12, 2016

    Print
    Changing Climate and Changing Cities: If You “Dress” Urban Planning Differently, You May be Able to Cope
    Paula Villagra, Los Rios
    Álvaro González Reyes, Valdivia

    We live in the city of Valdivia, located in southern Chile (40° S), known in the country for its good quality of life, high biodiversity (particularly the Valdivian temperate rain forest) and a high annual rainfall (2m average). This last point always surprises and troubles visitors, especially those who come...

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    May 10, 2016

    Chapter 3 fig 1
    Practicing Community Environmental Education in Urban Settings
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    Mutizwa Mukute, Grahamstown
    Olivia Aguilar, Granville
    Mapula Priscilla Masilela, Grahamstown
    Lausanne Olvitt, Grahamstown

    Introduction Community environmental education prioritizes community wellness, and uses learning in and about the environment as a means towards community wellness and healing. It draws from place-based, youth and community development, participatory, and resilience approaches in environmental education. Recognizing that community environmental education is an emerging field lacking a clear...

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    May 9, 2016

    feature
    Case Studies from Colombia that are Valuable Across South America
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Naturaleza Urbana. plataforma de experiencias, edited by María Angélica Mejía. 2016. ISBN 978-958-8889-69-6. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá. 208 pages. The Spanish version of the book can be downloaded here. An English version will be available in September. In 2007, people living in towns...

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    May 8, 2016

    Header_Linh Nguyen-unsplash_cc0
    Designing for a Moving Target, Part II: Ensuring Human Health in a Changing Climate
    Chris Garvin, New York City

    Predicting the future is impossible, but climate science is beginning to paint a concerning image of a future troubled by climate change. My last feature post outlined the challenges climate change poses to our cities and aging infrastructure, but climate change also endangers our health and well-being. Climate change does not just...

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    May 5, 2016

    Chapter 2 fig 3
    School Partnerships are Key to Vibrant and Sustainable Cities
    Polly Knowlton Cockett, Calgary
    Janet Dyment, Hobart
    Mariona Espinet, Barcelona
    Yu Huang, Beijing

    Introduction Urban schools—any public, private, or charter schools delivering formal primary or secondary education—are key institutions in the shaping of vibrant and sustainable cities. Imagining such cities depends on the assumptions and ideologies of those involved in the transformation of urban sites, and moving beyond perceiving urban schools as problematic...

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    May 3, 2016

    Sunny Empire_Simon Tchoukriel-unsplash_cc0
    Designing for a Moving Target, Part I: Adapting Our Buildings to a Changing Climate
    Chris Garvin, New York City
    Allison Bernett, New York City
    Chris Starkey, New York City

    High of 96°F today, much like the past week. Five days of relentless heat, and the humidity makes the city feel like a sauna that you can’t escape. The air buzzes with the sound of hundreds of window air conditioners that can’t seem to banish the heat from the buildings...

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    May 1, 2016

    CentralPark
    Environmental Education and Advancing Urbanization
    David Maddox, New York City
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Alex Russ, Ithaca

    Introduction Cities—their design and how we live in them—will be key in our struggle for sustainability and, indeed, our future. As cities grow, as they are newly created, and as more and more people choose or require them as places to live, our decisions about urban design and city-building will...

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    April, 2016

    April 30, 2016

    SAN-JUAN
    Visions of resilience: Eighteen artists say or show something in response to the word “resilience”
    Juan Carlos Arroyo, Bogotá
    David Brooks, New York City
    Katrine Claassens, Cape Town
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Ganzeer, Los Angeles
    Lloyd Godman, Melbourne
    Fran Ilich, New York City
    Frida Larios, Antiguo Cuzcatlán, Copán, and Washington
    Todd Lester, Säo Paulo
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Mary Mattingly, New York City
    David Maddox, New York City
    E. J. McAdams, New York City
    Mary Miss, New York City
    Edna Peres, Johannesburg
    Caroline Robinson, Auckland
    Finzi Saidi, Pretoria
    Keijiro Suzuki, Yamaguchi & Nagoya

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    April 28, 2016

    [1] 1776map
    lowlands—Small-Scale and Nimble Projects that Create Resilient and Just Cities
    Elliott Maltby, New York City

    A research and design framework, lowlands looks at public housing projects in environmentally vulnerable locations—specifically, low-lying lands, often on former marshes. A quick survey of New York City public housing projects demonstrates that this is a common condition; in many cases, land available for public housing wasn’t previously developed because...

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    April 26, 2016

    Rocinha ("little farm", due to its agricultural vocation until the mid 20th century), located in the rich southern zone of Rio de Janeiro, is considered one of the most populous favelas in Brazil. Most of its 70,000 inhabitants live in houses made from concrete and brick and have access to basic sanitation, plumbing, and electricity. The neighborhood has a vibrant local economy. Source: www.atw181days.wordpress.com
    They are Not “Informal Settlements”—They are Habitats Made by People
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

    According to the UN, at least one third of the global urban population suffers from inadequate living conditions. Lack of access to basic services (drinking water and/or sanitation, not to mention energy, waste recollection, and transportation), low structural quality of shelters, overcrowding, dangerous locations, and insecure tenure are the main...

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    April 24, 2016

    Trash in Myanmar
    Establishing New Models of Human Rights: Creating Clean Places to Live
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    A Burmese man surprises me with a question, an idea that will make my thoughts race for weeks. “They talk about human rights abuses and political prisoners and all of these things. Yes, these things are important,” the man says, referring to the collective, unknown “they” who create the rules...

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    April 21, 2016

    delhi-air
    Shortcomings of the Paris Accord: We Need to Combat Air Pollution at Multiple Scales
    Christopher Sellers, Stony Brook

    As world leaders gathered recently in New York to sign the momentous Paris accord to curb future carbon emissions, the air in Indian cities such as Delhi continued to scale alarming heights of befoulment, and Chinese cities such as Beijing keep struggling to curtail the roiling murk in their own skies....

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    April 18, 2016

    Mumbai stream restoration--Credit PKDas
    Justice and Geometry in the Form of Linear Parks
    David Maddox, New York City

    Here at The Nature of Cities, we write a great deal about the benefits of “green” cities, widely construed. In particular, we write that green infrastructure and biodiversity in cities have broad benefits for people, nature, and, indeed, for the world at large through their effects on sustainability and resilience....

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    April 14, 2016

    Palmira2
    Linear Parks: Meeting People’s Everyday Needs for Secure Recreation, Commuting, and Access to Nature
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Claudia Zuleyka Vidal, Cali

    In previous contributions to The Nature of Cities (for example, Das (2015); Tsur (2014)), some authors have reported successful experiences or projects of linear open spaces providing green access to more people across neighborhoods or adapting old infrastructure to modern needs. Linear parks are longitudinal areas, both green and grey,...

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    April 12, 2016

    Yurino garden_Momoka Tamura-1
    Capturing Stewardship Stories: The Unlikely Tale of a Massive Open Online Course
    Kimberly Snyder, Ithaca
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca

    From a centuries-old pear tree marking the remnants of a castle in the Czech Republic, to an urban perimeter of abandoned ammunitions dumps in Spain, to a tiny balcony in cramped New Delhi—places that people care about dot the globe. Stewards, often driven by place attachments, meanings, and memories, defy...

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    April 8, 2016

    Photo7
    Confronting the Dark Side of Urban Agriculture
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    How do you like roller coaster rides? I love them—provided that I am sitting in the operator’s cabin and not in one of the small, shaken carts frantically moving up and down. In two of my last posts, The Nurtured Golem: A Nantes Neighborhood Transforms Environmental Bad into Good, and...

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    April 5, 2016

    FIg 1
    Cities Are Home to Threatened Species. So What?
    Chris Ives, Lüneburg

    My and my colleagues’ recent research from Australia has shown that cities are hotspots for threatened species (Ives et al 2015). There is a remarkable diversity of rare plants and animals that exist alongside the places where people live and work. While results from this new study are striking, they...

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    April 4, 2016

    Lobki Toronto_Skyline
    Comparing Apples to Peaches: Cities in the United States and Canada
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    A review of America’s Urban Future: Lessons from North of the Border, by Ray Tomalty and Alan Mallach. 2016. ISBN: 9781610915960. Island Press. 312 pages. Buy the book. Canada and the United States share the longest unprotected border between two sovereign nations in the world. Current electoral politics in the...

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    April 3, 2016

    TNOC_Photo2
    Green Infrastructure that Creates Climate Resilience, Human Resilience, and Quality of Life in Los Angeles’ Underserved Neighborhoods
    Tori Kjer, Los Angeles

    I live in the mega-City and County of Los Angeles. Despite the urban intensity, nature still surrounds us. We are bordered by three mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean. Within our megalopolis are some of the largest regional parks in the country. Yet, with so much concrete and sprawl, it...

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    March, 2016

    March 31, 2016

    feature
    A Threatened Old Forest Tells a Story Relevant to Every Urban Forest
    Myla Aronson, New Brunswick

    As I walk through the William L. Hutcheson Memorial Forest in Somerset, New Jersey, on this unseasonably warm March morning, I admire the 250 year-old oaks, towering above, reaching to the sky. Although small (26 hectares), this forest is one of the only remaining old growth forests in New Jersey...

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    March 29, 2016

    Fig6
    Small Rain Gardens for Stormwater and Biodiversity in the City: Learning from Traditional Ways
    Keitaro Ito, Kyushu

    “For whom do all the flowers blossom in the spring?” —A phrase of Zen word in springtime These days, especially in summertime, we have heavy rain in Japan. Stormwater usually goes into concrete drains and flows into rivers. Most of the land in urban areas in our country is covered...

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    March 27, 2016

    emblematique_mille_arbres_vue_de_nuit_0698d
    Réinventer Paris: A Competition to Write History with Nature in Paris
    Nathalie Baumann, Basel

    “Réinventer Paris”, or “Reinventing Paris”, the architectural program initiated by Anne Hildago (the Socialist mayor of the French capital) in autumn 2014 does not lack ambition. When I first heard about it, I was surprised and couldn’t really believe it until spring 2015, when I was convoked by two teams...

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    March 24, 2016

    2_Arb
    How Perspectives of Field Arborists and Tree Climbers are Useful for Understanding and Managing Urban Forests
    Adrina Bardekjian, Montreal and Toronto

    When there is a storm, trees can cause damage to homes, cars, and people—ultimately, the tree itself is a casualty of a storm. At these moments, generally, the public perceives arborists as the heroes of storms—arborists remove the “problem” from their properties. But at most other times during the year,...

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    March 23, 2016

    Respect Graffiti_Bogota_2015_PhotoDavidMaddox(feature)
    Graffiti and street art can be controversial, but can also be a medium for voices of social change, protest, or expressions of community desire. What, how, and where are examples of graffiti as a positive force in communities?
    Pauline Bullen, Harare
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Ganzeer, Los Angeles
    Germán Gomez, Bogotá
    Sidd Joag, New York City
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    David Maddox, New York City
    Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

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    March 22, 2016

    Fig5-planting rain garden-12-3-2016-Castagna
    People Working for Nature in Cities: the Invisible Revolution
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    In the Third Millennium, we live in a globalized urban world, where loss of local culture and deep social segregation are happening. Climate is changing faster than predicted, hitting cities and people hard: climate-related floods, landslides, droughts, heat waves, traffic disruption, and food shortage are increasing. For instance, in Brazil,...

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    March 20, 2016

    feature
    The Royal Bats of Kano City
    Aliyu Barau, Kano

    Out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 11 is a standalone goal for urban sustainability, with defined targets and indicators. SDG 11 can help urban policy and decision-makers and local people to think about and work towards urban sustainability. Most cities in developing countries, including in Africa, lack...

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    March 17, 2016

    Scholar’s study:studio  in the Master of Fishing Nets Garden Suzhou
    What Can We Learn from Chinese Classical Gardens?
    David Goode, London

    Step off the street in Suzhou through a small door and you leave behind the bustling cacophony of a modern Chinese city to enter a different world of tranquility and calm, where natural features create a sense of being surrounded by nature in a tiny oasis that is a scholar’s...

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    March 15, 2016

    Fig 5
    From Reactive to Proactive Resilience: Designing the New Sustainability
    Nina-Marie Lister, Toronto

    Long-term sustainability necessitates an inherent and essential capacity for resilience—the ability to recover from disturbance, to accommodate change, and to function in a state of health. In this sense, sustainability typically means the dynamic balance between social-cultural, economic, and ecological domains of human behavior necessary for humankind’s long-term surviving and...

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    March 14, 2016

    Print
    Knowing vs. Doing: Propelling Design with Ecology
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles

    A review of Projective Ecologies, edited by Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister. 2014. ISBN: 1940291127. ACTAR, Harvard Graduate School of Design. 314 pages. Buy the book. Several months ago, I reviewed Landscape Imagination, a collection of essays by James Corner, a professor at University of Pennsylvania and the landscape architect who...

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    March 13, 2016

    Intro Photo
    Land Use Planning: The Critical Part of Climate Action Plans that Most Cities Miss
    Emily Wier, New Haven
    Alisa Zomer, New Haven

    Cities pledge to reduce emissions and fight climate change—but do these commitments measure up? The transport sector makes up nearly one-third of urban emissions, a factor influenced by distances traveled and modes of travel. Most cities focus on policies to reduce emissions from modes of travel, such as encouraging residents...

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    March 10, 2016

    2016-01-30 16.51.59
    Footsteps Through Thailand’s Cities and Rural Areas
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    “Thailand is what you make it.” That’s what an ex-pat Westerner who relocated here a few years ago told us when we were strolling through Nakhon Sawan, a busy city in the country’s central/lower north region. This seems true in many regards, or at least from the on-the-ground impressions we...

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    March 8, 2016

    Chinatowwn section of Bangkok—Photo 1000 Words
    We Cannot Reduce Urban Inequality Unless We Fix Inequality in Exposure to Disaster Risk
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut

    Inequality is on the rise! Recent statistics published by Oxfam on the economy of the 1 percent show that the richest 62 billionaires own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population. The report goes on to show that the wealth of the poorest half of the...

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    March 7, 2016

    feature
    How To Put Information, Transparency, and Communities at the Center of Resilience Planning
    Richard Friend, Bangkok

    A review of Planning for Community Resilience: A Handbook for Reducing Vulnerability to Disasters, by Jamie Hicks Masterson, Walter Gillis Peacock, Shannon S. Van Zandt, Himanshu Grover, Lori Felid Schwarz, and John T. Cooper Jr. 2014. ISBN: 9781610915854. Island Press, Washington. 256 pages. Buy the book. Resilience certainly is the buzzword...

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    March 6, 2016

    feature
    Why Conserve Small Forest Fragments and Individual Trees in Urban Areas?
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    For many developers and city planners, it takes time and money to plan around trees and small forest fragments. Often, the message from conservationists is that we want to avoid fragmentation and to conserve large forested areas. While this goal is important, the message tends to negate any thoughts by...

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    March 5, 2016

    Foto_2_Filandia (Colombia)
    Landscape initiatives are in operation or in development in many parts of the world. What is key to making them work and be useful? How are they good for cities?
    Steve Brown, Sydney
    Martha Fajardo, Bogota
    Carla Gonçalves, Porto, Portugal
    Monica Luengo, Madrid
    Claudia Misteli, Barcelona
    Osvaldo Moreno, Santiago
    Liana Jansen, Cape Town
    Laura Spinadel, Vienna
    Kenneth Taylor, Canberra
    Menno Welling, Zomba

    4 Comment(s)
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    March 3, 2016

    Fig 2
    Native Versus Alien Species in Fragmented Urban Natural Habitats: Who’s Winning the War?
    Luis Sandoval, San José, Costa Rica

    According to the United Nations, the second biggest problem for humanity after global warming is disorganized urbanization—urbanization without planning and integration of natural environments. Since 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of people live in urban areas, and this pattern is expected to keep increasing in the...

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    March 1, 2016

    feature
    Urban Nature that Reduces Risk in Kampala
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    I have written in previous articles (here and here) that Kampala’s urban landscape has been largely fragmented, just like the landscapes of many other cities. In fact, this is the common character of urban development. But it isn’t the only way. In this article, I illustrate the urban risks that...

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    February, 2016

    February 29, 2016

    Pipes Photo—safakcakir
    The Flint Water Crisis Illuminated by Citizen Science—TNOC Podcast Episode 6
    Philip Silva, New York

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: Federal regulations make clean drinking something close to a guaranteed right for residents of cities in the United States, but not all urban water systems are created equal. Last year, independent scientists and grassroots activists discovered a widespread problem with lead levels in the water pouring...

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    February 28, 2016

    kashmir floods-1
    Is the Deluge of Urban Areas in India a Natural Phenomenon or Irresponsible Planning?
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai

    Increasingly, cities are becoming risky and vulnerable places to live in because of climate change; it is vital to integrate natural defences with gray, or built, infrastructure for sustaining cities. The past decade, from 2005–2015, has shown us what happens when we ignore the vital signs of urban ecosystems, which...

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    February 25, 2016

    IMG_1035
    Setting Out from Bangkok. TNOC Podcast Bangkok to Barcelona 01
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: I am Jenn Baljko, and my partner Lluís and I started walking from Bangkok, Thailand, back home to Barcelona, Catalonia. Along the 12,000km journey, we’ll explore the idea of just and green cities, occasionally posting our perspectives here on The Nature of Cities—photos, podcasts, and essays on what we...

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    February 25, 2016

    IMG_0911
    Photo Essay: Life and Water at Rachenahalli Lake
    Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore

    Rachenahalli is one of the few living lakes of Bangalore, in the north of the city. It is connected to water bodies upstream and downstream, particularly Jakkur Lake in the northeast. Both of these lakes have been rejuvenated, at substantial cost, by the Bangalore Development Authority over the last decade....

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    February 23, 2016

    A woman walking along a street in the informal settlement or so-called township of Imizamo Yethu in the Cape Town suburb of Hout Bay.
    Crosstown Walk Goes Global: Reflections From a Recent UrBioNet Workshop
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    I have just returned from an exhilarating week spent in a workshop with a collection of UrBioNet members. UrBioNet is a network of researchers, practitioners, and students with an interest in urban ecology and biodiversity. It is broad in its remit: while it offers opportunities for discussion and sharing, it...

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    February 22, 2016

    feature
    Green Infrastructure is Possible, and Necessary, for Communities at Multiple Scales
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Strategic Green Infrastructure Planning: A Multi-Scale Approach, by Karen Firehock, with chapter seven by R Andrew Walker. 2015. ISBN 978-1-61091-692-9. Island Press, Washington. 138 pages. Buy the book. Almost everyone knows what urban greening looks like and how much we need it in everyday life, but few understand why...

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    February 21, 2016

    Travieso08
    Sustainable Cities Don’t Need Nature—They Need Good Design
    Philip Silva, New York

    We’ve seen a surge in new open space design initiatives here in New York City in the past decade, with projects as big and bureaucratically complex as the 2,200-acre Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island and as small and locally focused as the Bedford-Stuyvensant Community Garden in Brooklyn. Many of...

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    February 18, 2016

    Fig 3 quinoa shop
    Resilience and the Butterfly Effect: Could a Grain of Quinoa from Bolivia Influence Barcelona City Resilience?
    Lorenzo Chelleri, L'Aquila

    Edward Lorenz’s application of chaos theory to weather forecasting is better known to the general public as “the butterfly effect”, thanks to his conference presentation, “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” Lorenz’s law explains to us that there are unknown and...

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    February 16, 2016

    human footprint in northeast
    Setting Priorities with the Human Footprint, or Why I Am an Urban Conservationist
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    A frequent refrain in conservation is that we must prioritize. A cottage industry of conservation biologists, among whom I count myself, has risen to plan conservation and set priorities. And in nearly all of the hundreds or thousands of pages of conservation prioritizations that have already been published, nearly always...

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    February 15, 2016

    earth-stories-sjmqt-2016_Lydon_02FEATURE
    Intertwining People, Nature, and Place with Quilts and Thread
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of Earth Stories, an exhibition on view at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles now through February 28, 2016. The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is tucked into a rather plain looking beige building at the southern end of San Jose’s “SoFA” arts district....

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    February 14, 2016

    AGOSTO 27 2014 1147 AM (1)
    The Ecologies of Senses and Environmental Justice in Managua
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

    We experience the city through our senses. When we walk along city sidewalks or in parks, we can feel the city—we hear sounds, feel the materiality of the pavement or grass, and smell the car exhaust or freshly cut grass. These ‘sensual’ experiences of urban space are referred to as...

    2 Comment(s)
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    February 11, 2016

    icewatchfeature
    Finding My Sustainable Way
    Miranda Gardiner, Frankfurt

    I’m lost. I started my career in sustainability for my friends and family, especially for their children. I had a desire to create a planet to enjoy, not one where they have problems breathing from air pollution, or can’t go outside during the summer because it’s too hot. I felt...

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    February 9, 2016

    Expo Park Garden TPF
    The New Vocabulary of Urban Landscaping for Southern California
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles
    Kitty Connolly, Los Angeles

    The drought in California over the last few years has been long enough and sufficiently severe to compel mandatory urban water restrictions from the State Water Resources Control Board, an unprecedented policy move. The Board has also required, for the first time in state history, the reporting of per capita...

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    February 8, 2016

    BD-05_Dill and Flanigan
    Nature in Chicago: Surprisingly Wild, Surprisingly Human
    Chris Hensley, Fresno

    A review of City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness, edited by Gavin Van Horn and Dave Aftandilian. 2015. ISBN: 978-0-226-19289-5. University of Chicago Press. 377 pages. Buy the book. Normally, in these book reviews, I do my best to present a fair, unbiased account of what a book does...

    2 Comment(s)
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    February 7, 2016

    Fig 1 CCG
    Carbon Capture Gardens: A Nature-Based Solution for Managing Urban Brownfield Soils for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    Mark Goddard, Newcastle

    I may have (just) missed the 2015 International Year of Soils, so please forgive me for jumping on the soils bandwagon somewhat belatedly. Before I go further, a disclaimer—I am no expert on soils, having only relatively recently begun working on a multidisciplinary research project on carbon capture in urban...

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    February 4, 2016

    Figure 2
    A River Cresting in New Orleans: A Complex Choreography of Water, Technology and Bureaucracy that Only Sometimes Serves People and Nature
    Josh Lewis, New Orleans

    The sustainability and, indeed, future existence of New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta depends upon a complex choreography of water, bureaucracy and infrastructure. The quandary for New Orleans can be summed up like this: how can we manage North America’s largest river in a way that mitigates seasonal flooding,...

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    February 2, 2016

    Marambaia 23 Set(64)
    The Elephant in the Room: Amazonian Cities Deserve More Attention in Climate Change and Sustainability Discussions
    Eduardo Brondizio, Bloomington

    Justifiably, the Amazon region has been at the center of climate change discussions and negotiations since the late 1980s. It is not difficult to explain ‘justifiably’ when one is referring to a region of continental proportions, with unparalleled biological and cultural diversity, and whose biogeochemical cycles and atmospheric circulation processes...

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    February 1, 2016

    Viaduc des arts street 30cm 72dpi
    Ecodesign is for Citizens and Nature, not for Consumers
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs, by Jonathan Barnett and Larry Beasley. 2015. ISBN: 9781610913393. Island Press, Washington. 280 pages. Buy the book. This book has an unashamedly strong emphasis on the city of Vancouver as a model—a city that has taken a leadership role. “Hundreds of thousands” of...

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    January, 2016

    January 31, 2016

    feature
    The Value of Urban Trails
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    Mindy Fulllilove, Columbia University psychiatrist and author, likens pedestrian pathways and urban trails to arteries in the circulatory system of a city: essential conditions for creating a healthy city. There is much to be said for neighborhoods that are physically connected, and where it is possible to move across a...

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    January 27, 2016

    1. An advertisement for a 'woodsy' apartment near Bellandur lake, frothing with foam
    The Revalorization of Urban Nature, for Good and Ill
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    An image of expanding cities is associated, in most people’s minds, with the shrinking and gradual disappearance of urban nature. Yet, as life in cities becomes increasingly stressful and challenging, a gradual revalorization of urban nature is taking place across the cities of the world. The importance of urban nature is...

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    January 25, 2016

    Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris-min
    The Heart, Brain and Soul of City Parks
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    A review of Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities, by Alexander Garvin. 2010. ISBN: 0393732797. New York, USA: W. W. Norton & Company. 224 pages. And City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts, by Catie Marron. 2013. ISBN: 0062231790. New York, USA. Harper. 304 pages. Buy the books. The last part...

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    January 24, 2016

    Figure 6. Medellín
    Values that Underlie the Landscape of Cities—Those that DO and those that SHOULD
    Gloria Aponte, Medellín

    Para leer la versión en español, haga clic aquí. Coexistence between nature and urban is not a matter of experts but a matter directly related to the “civic values.​” —De las Rivas What is the shape and formal composition given by designers or people in general to nature in our cities?...

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    January 20, 2016

    Save the environment_Bogota_2015_PhotoDavidMaddox
    Creative Place-Making—This is The Nature of Graffiti
    David Maddox, New York City
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Germán Gomez, Bogotá
    Julie Goodness, Stockholm
    Mike Houck, Portland
    Todd Lester, Säo Paulo
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

    Nature is all around us. Plants, animals, soil, air and water inhabit and animate our daily lives, whether you live in the country or in the city. We are invigorated by nature. We are inspired by its creatures, their beauty, and their existential meaning. We depend on nature’s services and...

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    January 20, 2016

    Hall_Mowing a Lawn
    Can cities save bees? How can urban habitats be made to serve pollinator conservation? How can that story be better told?
    Katherine Baldock, Bristol
    Alison Benjamin, London
    Sarah Bergmann, Seattle
    Mark Goddard, Newcastle
    Damon Hall, St. Louis
    Tina Harrison, New Brunswick
    Scott MacIvor, Toronto
    Denise Mouga, Joinville
    Matt Shardlow, Peterborough
    Caragh Threlfall, Melbourne

    14 Comment(s)
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    January 16, 2016

    The streetscape of the street on which I live
    Greening Cities with an Urban Forest across Both Public and Private Domains
    Meredith Dobbie, Victoria

    At a time when the importance of trees in cities is gaining attention, the canopy cover of Australian suburbs is decreasing. Local councils’ response is to plant more trees in the public domain, but what of the private domain? A quick glance around many Australian suburbs suggests that residents do...

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    January 16, 2016

    BABA Route 2592x1944
    Where Walking and Just Cities Meet
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    “We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down.” — Robert Sweetgall, walking guru and president of Creative Walking Inc. Walking. It’s a natural, human thing to do. Whether we wander through wide open green spaces or ramble around in cities, the simple act of putting one foot in front of...

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    January 16, 2016

    feature
    To Harness Ecosystems, Conserve Them
    Anna Backstrom, Melbourne
    Laura Mumaw, Melbourne

    A review of Conservation for Cities How to Plan and Build Natural Infrastructure, by Robert I. McDonald. Island Press, Washington. 2015. ISBN: 9781610915236. 268 pages. Buy the book. In Conservation for Cities, Robert I. McDonald seeks to “guide urban planners, landscape architects, and conservation practitioners trying to figure out how to...

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    January 10, 2016

    Park
    Lessons from Tinseltown: Nature’s Role in Alleviating Homelessness
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit

    We all know that nature in the urban environment can make our lives as city dwellers infinitely better, but can it create quality of life even for the displaced among us? Winter is here in the city of Detroit, Michigan. It’s cold, and people all over this northern city are...

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    January 7, 2016

    Pedestrians and commuters negotiate their ways to work on a wintry December morning in North Bangalore
    Should Bangalore Aim to Become a Smart City?
    Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore

    There is growing recognition that cities, which already house more than half the world’s population, require increased policy and development attention. India’s policy response to the need for sustainable, resilient and low-carbon cities is the Smart City mission. According to the Indian Ministry of Urban Development, the mission promotes “cities...

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    January 4, 2016

    featurev2
    Social-Ecological Urbanism and the Life of Baltic Cities
    Stephan Barthel, Stockholm

    Jane Jacobs critiqued modernist city planning in the now classic book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961). This book is now inspiring an urban renaissance. Jacobs proposed that a city must be understood as a system of organized complexity—in other words, as an ecosystem—and that any intervention...

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    January 4, 2016

    beijingfeature
    Leveraging Urban Form to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in China
    Xie Pengfei, Beijing

    A review of Towards Low Carbon Cities in China: Urban form and greenhouse gas emissions, edited by Sun Sheng Han, Ray Green and Mark Y. Wang. 2015. ISBN: 9780415743310. Routledge, New York. 216 pages. Buy the book. Urban morphology has a great impact on greenhouse gas emissions, a viewpoint supported...

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    December, 2015

    December 29, 2015

    lake_bhattarahalli_shainaaz_PhotoBy_Arati Kumar-Rao
    Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2015
    David Maddox, New York City

    Today’s post is offered as a celebration of some of the content from 2015—a taste…a combination of TNOC writing from around the world that is a combination of diverse, widely read, a novel point of view, or somehow disruptive in an useful way. Certainly all 350+ TNOC essays and roundtables are great...

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    December 20, 2015

    Photo 1
    Biocultural Diversity for Healthy Cities
    William Dunbar, Tokyo

    At the heart of the concept of biocultural diversity is the idea that much of culture is based in the natural world, so a diversity of cultures and cultural phenomena arises from a natural environment with great natural or biological diversity. Human culture and productive land uses can actually promote...

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    December 16, 2015

    lake_bhattarahalli_shainaaz_PhotoBy_Arati Kumar-Rao
    Photo Essay: Untold Stories of Change, Loss and Hope Along the Margins of Bengaluru’s Lakes
    Marthe Derkzen, Amsterdam

    Before becoming India’s information technology hub, Bengaluru was known for its numerous lakes and green spaces. Rapid urbanization has led to the disappearance of many of these ecosystems. Those that remain face a range of challenges: residential and commercial construction, pollution and waste dumping, privatization, and so on. Today, Bengaluru’s...

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    December 14, 2015

    3
    Sowing the Seeds of Green Urbanism: ‘Spring is Here and the Time is Right for Planting in the Streets’
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of The Revolutionary Urbanism of Street Farm: Eco-Anarchism, Architecture and Alternative Technology in the 1970s, by Stephen E. Hunt. 2014. ISBN 978-1-906477-44-8. Tangent Books, Bristol. 246 pages, including 16 pages of illustrations. Visions of cities draped in vegetation are now de rigueur for any architect, planner or urbanist...

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    December 13, 2015

    YellowTrumpet-flower_Tecoma_stans_InTheStreetsOfBogota_2013_MHS
    Increasing the Native Plants of Colombian Cities
    Mateo Hernández, Bogotá

    I remember when I was a child growing up in Bogotá, the capital and largest city of Colombia, located in the cool, high-altitude environment of the Andean mountain range. Street and park trees were almost all of a few widely planted species: eucalypts, pines, cypress, acacias and ash. In a...

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    December 9, 2015

    Slide18
    Branch Waters Urbanism: A Concept of Landscape That Organizes the Chaos of “Jungle Cities”
    Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth

    Part one: natural potential from mega math Never before on the Earth or in the entire history of the human condition has something like a megacity been possible, until Tokyo and Mexico City appeared in 1950. Typically defined as a metropolis with 10 million residents or more, projections by the...

    17 Comment(s)
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    December 8, 2015

    Goal
    An explicitly urban Sustainable Development Goal has been adopted by the UN (#11). Now what? Where could it go wrong?
    Genie Birch, Philadelphia
    Ben Bradlow, Boston
    William Dunbar, Tokyo
    Peter Head, London
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Hui Ling Lim, Singapore
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala
    Jose Puppim, Johor Bahru / Cambridge / Rio
    Andrew Rudd, New York City
    Karen Seto, New Haven
    David Simon, Gothenburg
    Bolanle Wahab, Ibadan
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

       

    6 Comment(s)
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    December 6, 2015

    compressed 8 This alleyway is a park
    Discounting Our Engagement and Betraying Our Affections for Urban Nature
    Janice Astbury, London

    When Montréal’s Parc Oxygène was bulldozed in June 2014, a local newspaper article aptly spoke of a ‘neighborhood in mourning.’ The narration of its destruction by a neighbor is heart-wrenching (1). This small park in the midst of high rises was an urban oasis made and looked after by its...

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    December 3, 2015

    One of the big parks in Tokyo, Japan. Photo Maria Ignatieva
    Can Large Parks be Urban Green Saviors?
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Richard Murray, Stockholm
    Henrik Waldenström, Stockholm

    A review of the Large Parks in Large Cities conference, Stockholm, 2-4 September 2015. The prognosis for urbanization is challenging—in the next 40 years, urban population will double. Under the growing pressure of modern urban development, large parks are valued by people more than ever. From the beginning of city...

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    December 2, 2015

    Nature Rx
    Nature: Medicine for Cities and People
    Chantal van Ham, Brussels

    Whilst urbanization has brought many benefits to society, it increasingly denies people of opportunities for the mental, spiritual and physical health benefits from nature. Over the last decade, there has been an alarming global increase in diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes [Note 1]. The...

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    November, 2015

    November 29, 2015

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

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

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    November 24, 2015

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

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

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    November 23, 2015

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

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

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    November 22, 2015

    Dubai smog 2
    Air Pollution: Urban Myths and Realities
    Huda Shaka, Dubai

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

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    November 18, 2015

    Pic2
    Neighborhood Planning for Resilient and Livable Cities, Part 3 of 3: Montréal’s Green, Active and Healthy Neighborhoods Project
    Nik Luka, Montreal
    Jayne Engle, Montreal

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

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    November 15, 2015

    Up close and personal: portrait of a moose standing beside the window of an Anchorage home. Used with permission of Alaska Department of Fish and Game
    Close Encounters of the Moose Kind
    Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

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

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    November 10, 2015

    Encyclical banner
    Reflections on “Laudato Si, On Care For Our Common Home”
    Mike Houck, Portland

    Pope Francis, City Planner After reading Pope Francis’ Laudato Si, On Care For Our Common Home, I was moved to select references I felt relevant to efforts in Portland to integrate nature into the city and weave nature into the fabric of our urban and urbanizing neighborhoods. I sent a...

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    November 9, 2015

    feature
    History, the Detroit River and Building an International Wildlife Refuge Right
    David Goode, London

    A review of Bringing Conservation to Cities: Lessons from Building the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, by John H. Hartig. 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9921007-4-2. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI. Ecovision World Monograph Series. 282 pages. John Hartig is currently the refuge manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge....

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    November 5, 2015

    #18
    Opportunities and Challenges in Working with Volunteers in Local Parks
    Lynn Wilson, Vancouver

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

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    November 5, 2015

    More_Angkor_Trees_(1503334934)
    Green Form and Function versus Green Nativism: In changing urban spaces full of novel ecosystems and natural assemblages, is native purity a viable option?
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    Erle Ellis, Baltimore
    Leonie Fischer, Berlin
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno
    Ingo Kowarik, Berlin
    Mark McDonnell, Melbourne
    Colin Meurk, Lincoln, NZ
    Matt Palmer, New York City
    Bill Toomey, Sandy Hook
    Yolanda van Heezik, Dunedin
    Paula Villagra, Los Rios

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    November 2, 2015

    FH_ExteriorUrban Wall Paper
    Abandoned and Auctioned, an Old House Finds a Future in Flowers
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit

    A review of Flower House Detroit, which ran October 16-18, 2015 at 11751 Dequindre St, Hamtramck, Michigan. Once again, something amazing and ephemeral has appeared in Detroit. Flower House Detroit (which was actually located in the city of Hamtramck, 2 square miles enveloped by the city of Detroit) was, at its...

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    November 1, 2015

    A1537-17
    How the White House Went Green: The Environmental Legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    Which American president administration of the last century has the strongest record on preserving the environment and natural beauty? Presidents Theodore or Franklin Roosevelt, who created the National Wildlife Refuge System (protecting 230 million acres) and established the Civilian Conservation Corps, putting 2.5 million people to work building trails and...

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    October, 2015

    October 28, 2015

    Root fungi 131120141765
    Life in the Trees
    Geoffrey Davison, Singapore
    Lena Chan, Singapore

    Roadside trees are not merely roadside trees. Roadside trees are living condominiums, packed with other organisms. They are functioning communities, complete with food chains, predators and prey, nutrient capture, nutrient cycling and recycling, and an organisational hierarchy. They extend their influence vertically upwards, horizontally and downwards. They are ecosystems in...

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    October 26, 2015

    feature1
    Granny Flats and a Sponge House: Rethinking Necessities for the Future of Communities Along the Los Angeles River
    Allison Palenske, Edinburgh

    A review of “Shelter,” an exhibition on view at the Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles until Nov. 6, 2015. Although recent efforts to mitigate the characteristic poor air quality and largely suburban character of Los Angeles have been the focus of much debate and action, the city still faces...

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    October 25, 2015

    FishMarketFeature
    A Collaborative Project in City Planning for Urban Biodiversity in Japan
    Keitaro Ito, Kyushu

    From 2014, we have been taking part in a project in city planning for urban biodiversity in Fukutsu city, Japan. Our lab (Keitaro Ito laboratory, Kyushu Institute of Technology) has been directing the project in collaboration with Fukutsu city and high school students from Fukuoka Koryo high school and Fukuoka...

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    October 23, 2015

    2. Backwell.Glover
    The Case for All In Cities
    Angela Glover Blackwell, New York

    People of color are at the center of a demographic shift that will fundamentally change the global urban landscape. From the growing proportions of Latino, Asian, and African American residents in resurgent cities of the United States, to the diversifying capitals of Europe and the booming metropolises of Asia, Africa,...

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    October 23, 2015

    22.-Freeman-Wilson
    Home-Grown Justice In a Legacy City
    Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary

    I am the mayor of a legacy city, a city that rose and fell on the fluctuations of an industrial marketplace.  Like Detroit, Cleveland, and dozens of other cities that have experienced continuous population and job loss since their peak, my hometown of Gary, Indiana, once provided the backbone of...

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    October 23, 2015

    6. Hecht
    How To Build a New Civic Infrastructure
    Ben Hecht, Washington

    In the United States of America cities have long been gateways to opportunity. For centuries, people from all over the country and the world, including my own grandparents, came to our cities chasing the promise of a better life. America’s bargain with its citizens, rich and poor was, in many...

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    October 23, 2015

    12. Bargman
    Justice from the Ground Up
    Julie Bargmann, Charlottesville

    Soil contamination is a baseline condition for most of the sites I’ve worked on over the past two decades. The toxic imprint derives from industry—steel production, shipbuilding, fabrication of automobile and machine parts, to name just a few—in both urban and rural settings. But it also comes from lead-containing gasoline...

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    October 23, 2015

    9. cruz-forman
    Public Imagination, Citizenship and an Urgent Call for Justice
    Teddy Cruz, San Diego
    Fonna Forman, San Diego

    1. A just city repositions inequality The conversation about justice and the city must begin with directly confronting social and economic inequality and prioritizing them as the main issue around which institutions must be reorganized. Contemporary architectural and urban practices must engage this political project head-on. We must question the...

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    October 23, 2015

    4. Travis
    Resistance, Education and the Collective Will of the Just City
    Jack Travis, New York City

    What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune, the consumer has got to dance. That’s the way it is. We used to be a producer—very inflexible at that,...

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    October 23, 2015

    14. Spencer
    The Long Ride
    Scot Spencer, Baltimore

    If you have never been to Baltimore, you should come to visit. From Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, you can ride the light rail to downtown in 25 minutes for one of the best deals in the country. If you ride the train between Boston and Washington, you can...

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    October 23, 2015

    5.Gates
    Up From the Basement: The Artist and the Making of the Just City
    Theaster Gates, Chicago

    Governance, despite its own hopes for a universality of exclusion, is for the inducted, for those who know how to articulate interests disinterestedly, those who vote and know why they vote (not because someone is black or female but because he or she is smart), who have opinions and want...

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    October 23, 2015

    18. Moore
    Urban Spaces and the Mattering of Black Lives 
    Darnell Moore, New York

    It was close to midnight. A youngish, jovial-looking white woman with russet colored hair ran by me with ostensive ease. She donned earphones and dark, body-fitting jogging attire. I was walking home from the A train stop and along Lewis Avenue, which is a moderately busy thoroughfare that runs through...

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    October 23, 2015

    24. Schupbach
    Why Design Matters
    Jason Schupbach, Washington

    My vision for a just city is one where design and its power as a tool against inequality is leveraged for the benefit of all residents. As the director of design programs at the National Endowment for Arts, and one of the U.S. government’s primary advocates for good design, I...

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    October 23, 2015

    19. Griffin_RE
    Defining the Just City Beyond Black and White
    Toni Griffin, New York City

    When I think about the just city, it’s always black and white I was born in Chicago the evening before President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Growing up on the south side of Chicago meant that on an average day, I rarely saw or...

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    October 23, 2015

    13.Thompson-Fullilove
    An Antidote for the Unjust City: Planning to Stay
    Mindy Thompson Fullilove, New York City

    In 1993 or thereabouts I entered a contest for women to depict what they did on a particular day. That day, I went to meetings early in the morning at Harlem Hospital. I took photos of the abandoned buildings on West 136th, where I parked my car, and photos of...

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    October 23, 2015

    1.-Hodges
    Creating Universal Goals for Universal Growth
    Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis

    There is a difference between equality and equity. Equality says that everybody can participate in our success and equity says we need to make sure that everybody actually does participate in our success and in our growth. A just city is a city free from both inequity and inequality. We...

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    October 23, 2015

    10. Goransky
    Justice that Serves People, Not Institutions
    Mirna Goransky, Buenos Aires

    The purpose of this essay is to share some considerations about the meaning of “just City” from the perspective of a lawyer dedicated to the reform of justice administration and, in particular, to the design of systems that promote, encourage and facilitate the approach of justice for the people. This...

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    October 23, 2015

    15. Bradlow
    A Democratic Infrastructure for Johannesburg
    Ben Bradlow, Boston

    There are two main legacies that define urban inequality in South Africa: housing and transport. Apartheid was not only a racial ideology. It was also a spatial planning ideology. Johannesburg’s development into a wealthy, white core of business and residential activity, with peripheral black dormitory townships, was a result of...

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    October 22, 2015

    21. Sutherland
    Cape Town Pride. Cape Town Shame
    Carla Sutherland, Cape Town

    I have lived in an array of fascinating cities, and visited a host of others. I have loved many (New York, Hong Kong, Harare and Berlin); been miserable in a few (London and Pretoria); oddly disappointed by some (San Francisco, Dublin and Sydney) overwhelmed by others (Shanghai and Cairo); and...

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    October 22, 2015

    11. Herzog
    A City That Is Blue, Green and Just All Over
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    Since humans settled about 10,000 years ago, we have significantly altered and explored the landscape to create the civilization we now have. The landscape has been a source of material and non-material resources, feeding us in all senses. Ecologically rich landscapes associated with technologies were essential for all societies to...

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    October 21, 2015

    Image 2_credit_Russell Galt
    Paleo Cities and the Return of the Hunter Gatherer
    Russell Galt, Cape Town

    Why do you feel and behave the way you do? Have you ever noticed how incredibly adept you are at bargain-hunting in the local supermarket; beachcombing for washed up treasures; or foraging for mushrooms, nuts, and berries? Have you ever wondered why sweet melodies of birdsong and fertile meadows of...

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    October 21, 2015

    26. Maddox
    Cities in Imagination
    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 new descriptive goals. Surely we have not lost our desire for sustainable cities, with...

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    October 21, 2015

    17. Mancebo
    Ceci n’est pas une pipe: Unpacking Injustice in Paris
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    “We all know the sound of two hands clapping. But what is the sound of one hand clapping?” says a famous Zen Koan. At first consideration, it seems impossible to conjecture about the “just city” without having already in mind what is an “unjust city,” and vice versa. But my opinion is that this...

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    October 20, 2015

    8. Cardama
    Turning to the Flip Side
    Maruxa Cardama, Brussels

    On the flipside you can do anything (…) the flipside bring a second wind to change your world. Encrypted recipes to reconfigure easily the mess we made on world, side B —Song ‘Flipside’, written by Nitin Sawhney and S. Duncan My brainstorming for this essay started thinking about the comprehensive list...

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    October 20, 2015

    25.deSousa
    A Just City is Inconceivable without a Just Society
    Marcelo Lopes de Souza, Rio de Janeiro

    Once upon a time the city was called the “marvelous” one: Rio de Janeiro, cidade maravilhosa. Rio was the birthplace of samba, chorinho and bossa nova; internationally famous for supposedly being a city of fun and carnival 365 days a year, it has been the capital city of Brazilian proverbial...

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    October 19, 2015

    Transportation improvement in Bogotá. A green roof at the bus stop. Photo: Ana Faggi
    Urban Latin America: How’s it Going?
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of the status of and need for green urban work in Latin America as of 2015. Throughout the Latin American continent, metropolitan areas and intermediate cities are growing rapidly with their individuality and particular regional features. More than 80 percent of the population in Latin America lives in...

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    October 19, 2015

    3. Maher
    Karachi and the Paralysis of Imagination
    Mahim Maher, Karachi

    You want to read about a vision of a just Karachi? The contract killer ($50 a hit) ripping up the road behind Disco Bakery on his Honda 200CC and the secret service colonel cracking skulls in a Clifton safehouse will both cite one vision: Dubai. This happens to also be the...

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    October 19, 2015

    7. Zarate
    Right to the City for All: A Manifesto for Social Justice in an Urban Century
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

    [The Right to the City is] the right to change ourselves, by changing the city. —David Harvey, 2008  The cities we have The cities we have in the world today are far from being places of justice. Whether in the South, the North, the West or the East, the cities...

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    October 19, 2015

    23. Das
    Claiming Participation in Urban Planning and Design as a Right
    PK Das, Mumbai

    I believe that Urban Planning & Design (UP&D) should be considered a ‘Right’ and brought to public dialogue. The democratization of UP&D would be a significant step towards the achievement of just and equal cities. Exercising this right would be an effective means for bringing about much-needed socio-environmental change. The...

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    October 19, 2015

    16. Xie
    Turning Migrant Workers into Citizens in Urbanizing China 
    Xie Pengfei, Beijing

    One of the root causes of inequity is urban and rural differentiation China is experiencing a massive migration to the cities, mostly due to the availability of jobs and better facilities. But the way the government administers citizenship also creates inequity and poverty. Since the founding of the People’s Republic...

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    October 19, 2015

    20. lokko
     In It Together
    Lesley Lokko, Johannesburg

    “[A city where] everything comes together . . . subjectivity and objectivity, the abstract and the concrete, the real and the imagined, the knowable and the unimaginable, the repetitive and the differential, structure and agency, mind and body, consciousness and the unconscious, the disciplined and the trans-disciplinary, everyday life and...

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    October 18, 2015

    feature
    The Quest for Governance Modes on Sustainable Urbanization
    Buyana Kareem, Kampala
    Olumuyiwa Adegun, Johannesburg
    Collins Adjei Mensah, Cape Coast, Ghana
    Saleh Ahmed, Tucson
    Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski, Barcelona
    Ruishan Chen, Shanghai
    Uchendu Chigbu, Munich
    Aakriti Grover, Delhi
    Alice Hertzog-Fraser, Zurich
    Tracy-Ann Hyman, West Indies, Jamaica
    George Kinyashi, Dodoma, Tanzania
    Hayley Leck, London
    Karolina Łukasiewicz, Kraków
    Martin Maldonado, Cordoba
    Andre Ortega, Manila
    Lorena Pasquini, Cape Town
    Alisa Zomer, New Haven

    However complex the urban sustainability question is, the facts are clear to all. Over the next four decades, the global urban population is expected to nearly double, with the vast majority of this happening in Asian and African cities; if we do not rethink and coalesce our approaches and practices,...

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    October 14, 2015

    feature
    Dealing with Complex Urban Systems and Uncertainty: Insights from Northeast Thailand
    Richard Friend, Bangkok
    Pakamas Thinphanga, Bangkok

    It is now coming to the end of the rainy season—the point in the year at which the reservoirs across Thailand should be approaching maximum storage levels in order to provide the water resources that are needed for the full range of water uses through the dry season. But as...

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    October 12, 2015

    cover
    Are Individual Practitioners of Civic Ecology the Answer to Sustainability?
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    A review of Civic Ecology, Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up, by Marianne E. Krasny and Keith G. Tidball. 2015. ISBN: 9780262028653. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 328 pages. This is a book that seeks to highlight the heroic efforts of individuals to make a difference in the quality of life...

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    October 11, 2015

    Paris_Car_Free
    A New Reconnection Agenda for People and Nature
    Chris Ives, Lüneburg

    I have recently started working on a new project that will explore how reconnecting people with nature can help transform society towards sustainability (see http://leveragepoints.org). ‘Connectedness with nature’ has recently become a buzz phrase, with scientists, journalists and practitioners talking about the problems of disconnection, the benefits of reconnection, and...

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    October 7, 2015

    feature
    Towards Building Community Resilience in a Coastal Town in the South of Chile: Before Measuring, Explore Planning Tools
    Paula Villagra, Los Rios
    Mina Fallahzadegan, Los Rios

    In Chile, over recent years, there has been increasing attention to the concept of community resilience, especially in facing natural disasters. Community resilience is the capacity of a community to adapt to changes that occur after natural disasters. Such adaptation capacity is vital for satisfying survival needs (e.g. food and water),...

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    October 5, 2015

    feature
    Rah! Rah! for Rail: Solving Transportation in Cities
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    A review of Rail and the City: Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint While Reimaging Urban Space, by Roxanne Warren. 2014. ISBN: 9780262027809. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 336 pages. Like a dog with a bone, some of us just can’t let go of the notion of rail in cities. I’m certainly one...

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    October 4, 2015

    14 Eden Project domes
    Why We Need Design Guidelines for Urban Non-Humans
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    Earlier this year I had the good fortune to be invited to speak at a remarkable ‘Global Conference’ in Chantilly, France. The title of the session I was to contribute to was translated into English as ‘An urbanism built on a priority for fauna and flora’. This, it seems, was...

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    September, 2015

    September 30, 2015

    11_Hometown Memorial_Babylon FEATURE
    September 11, 2015: An Event Ethnography of Living Memorials
    Lindsay Campbell, New York City
    Erika Svendsen, New York City
    Heather McMillen, New York City
    Novem Auyeung, New York City
    Rachel Holmes, New Haven
    Michelle Johnson, New York City
    Renae Reynolds, New York City

    A reading of names. A procession. Placing flowers on memorials. Music. Moments of silence. Tolling of bells. Certain abiding symbols and gestures give structure to our memorial remembrances. In particular, we have come to expect a ritual formality and consistency at the World Trade Center site for remembering September 11,...

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    September 29, 2015

    HurricaneSandyPhotobyMarkOlsen
    What is the insurance value of urban ecosystems and their services?
    Victor Beumer, Delft
    Henry Booth, West Chester
    Mitchell Chester, Miami
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Alexandros Gasparatos, Tokyo
    Jaroslav Mysiak, Venice
    Rob Tinch, Brussels
    Henrik von Wehrden, Lüneburg
    Francis Vorhies, Divonne-les-Bains
    Koko Warner, Bonn

    2 Comment(s)
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    September 28, 2015

    feature2
    Stormwater Management as Both Utility and Amenity
    Ben Feldmann, Los Angeles

    A review of Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, by Stuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker. 2015. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-266-2 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-266-7. Island Press, Washington. 284 pages. Stormwater is a topic of great interest, especially now that the plight of water has been heightened by environmental pollution, dwindling...

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    September 27, 2015

    Photo 10
    The Nurtured Golem: A Nantes Neighborhood Transforms Environmental Bad into Good
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

     At the end of my last post, Unintended Consequences: When Environmental “Goods” Turn Bad, I raised the idea that sometimes environmental “bads” can also turn good, and that it usually works better when nobody “looks”. I mean that this process works better when the inhabitants take ownership of their living...

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    September 23, 2015

    feature
    What Pope Francis Might Do to Advance Climate Justice During His Visit to New York
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City

    Pope Francis visits the United States in late September 2015.  He will speak in Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia, including an address at the United Nations and to a full Congress. His visit will be an opportunity for reflection and—who knows—might possibly be a turning point in the United...

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    September 21, 2015

    feature
    Move Slow and Connect People with Nature: The Economics of Happiness in Jeonju
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of the International Conference on the Economics of Happiness, held on September 3-5, 2015 in Jeonju, South Korea. “We need to re-establish the link between city and land.” At the opening ceremony of the Economics of Happiness conference, we were happily greeted with this statement from the event’s...

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    September 20, 2015

    feature
    Shrink-ing Times Square
    Andrew Rudd, New York City

    1. What’s the matter with Times Square?  Several years ago, Helle Søholt, CEO of Gehl Architects, said that New York would be the most sustainable city in the world if only it fixed its streets. Million Trees NYC is one effort in that direction, as is the CitiBike bike share...

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    September 16, 2015

    realtimefood-05
    Social Practice Artwork: A Restaurant and Garden Serving up Connections to Urban Nature
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    Can an urban garden help us remember what it means to be human? Three months ago, we opened a slightly audacious restaurant and garden in a working-class suburb of Osaka, Japan with the intent of connecting people more deeply with food and nature in their neighborhood. Experimental and temporary in...

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    September 14, 2015

    Email sent from: "Dundas, Deborah"  ddundas@thestar.ca  Subject: FW: Science, Arrivals, April 19 new wild cover Date: 13 April, 2015 10:36:03 AM EDT the new wildEmail sent from: Sarah Murdoch [mailto:smurdoch49@gmail.com] Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 1:27 PM To: Dundas, Deborah Cc: Sarah Murdoch Subject: Science, Arrivals, April 19 new wild cover
    The Myths of Alien Species: An Alternate Perspective on “Wild”
    Divya Gopal, Berlin

    A review of The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation, by Fred Pearce. 2015. ISBN 978-0-8070-3368-5 / ISBN 978-0-8070-3369-2. Beacon Press, Boston. 245 pages. The New Wild is an intriguing book that looks at non-native species and nature in new light, challenging popular notions of ‘nativism,’ ‘wild’ and nature’s...

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    September 12, 2015

    feature2?
    Popup Parks Reveal the Nature of Cities
    Amy Hahs, Parkville, Australia

    September 18 is Park[ing] Day, a day when metered car parking spaces are transformed and reclaimed for other purposes. This annual event was first held in the USA in 2005, but has now grown to include Park[ing] Day events in cities around the world. In looking at the innovation and creativity...

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    September 8, 2015

    feature2
    What Makes a “Great” City Park? The Beholder Sees
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    A review of Great City Parks; Second Edition, by Alan Tate with Marcella Eaton. 2015. ISBN 978-0-415-53802-2/ ISBN 978-0-415-53805-3/ ISBN 978-1-315-75071-2. Routledge, New York. 344 pages. In this thoughtful and detailed documentation of “great” city parks, which is enlivened  by spare and insightful opinions, I am reminded of the series...

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    September 7, 2015

    feature
    Civic Ecology Meets EdX: An Experiment in Online Social Learning and Action
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca

    A pop-up garden in Kiev, volunteer “spotfixes” along sidewalks in Bangalore, and a flower garden planted atop a deadly landslide after an earthquake in Japan. These and other civic ecology practices are expanding in number. But how do we connect people across these disparate practices and places so that we...

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    September 2, 2015

    JerusalemLinearParkFeature
    A New Urban Paradigm: Our Way of Looking at Cities Needs to Be Turned Inside-Out
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    According to the old urban paradigm, cities are crime-ridden, car-infested, unhealthy and over-crowded centers of humanity. Could we conceivably cherish nature, respect others, grow our own food, earn a reasonable living, and enjoy a healthy and equitable urban environment? Reversal of the old urban paradigm is not yet a given,...

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    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 12, 2015

    GreekGreenRoofPhotoAndrewClementsFEATURE
    Why don’t all public buildings have green roofs? Or all large private buildings (e.g. businesses)? Would this be a good idea? What would it take to make it happen and to make it worthwhile?
    Maryam Akbarian, Tehran
    Wolfgang Ansel, Nürtingen
    Nathalie Baumann, Basel
    Michael Berkshire, Chicago
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City
    Amy Chomowicz, Portland
    Andrew Clements, Corinth
    Karla Dakin, Denver
    Stuart Gaffin, New York
    Dusty Gedge, London
    André Gonçalves, Goiânia
    Ulrike Grau, Mexico City
    Angela Loder, Denver
    Amosh Neupane, Middlebury
    Matt Palmer, New York City
    Kerry Ross, Calgary
    Kaveh Samiei, Tehran
    Julie Santos, London & Buenos Aires
    Kate Scherer, New York
    Mark Simmons, Austin
    Kevin Songer, Jacksonville
    Christine Thuring, Sheffield

    16 Comment(s)
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    August 10, 2015

    3-Still-underwater
    Glasgow Made the Clyde and the Clyde Made Glasgow
    Allison Palenske, Edinburgh

    A review of “Clyde Reflections,” an art film by Stephen Hurrel and  Ruth Brennan, on exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland. The west coast of Scotland has been known to enchant, with its rough coastal edges, intricately carved islands, charming towns, and an aquatic landscape that...

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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 3, 2015

    The High Line, in New York City. Photo: David Maddox
    James Corner on Reading and Imagining the Landscape
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles

    A review of The Landscape Imagination: The Collected Essays of James Corner 1990—2010, by James Corner. 2014. ISBN 9781616891459. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 320 pages. James Corner’s prolific writing from the past two decades invites readers on a journey to discover the elusive medium of landscape. As one of the...

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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 27, 2015

    Copenhagen harbor swimming
    Get Your Blue Mind On
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    A review of the “Urban Blue,” the Blue Mind Five Summit, which took place on May 11, 2015 in Washington, D.C. “Get your blue mind on!” is a frequent expression and admonition of Wallace J. Nichols, known simply as “J” to most of us. J has been a leading thinker,...

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    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 20, 2015

    Crosswalk
    How Tactical Urbanism “Adds Up”
    Sarah Bradley, Montreal

    A review of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change, by Anthony Garcia and Mike Lydon. 2015. ISBN 9781610915267. Island Press, Washington. 256 pages. Tactical Urbanism: it’s one of the buzz words in the emerging people-centred planning paradigm. If you do a Google News search of the term, you’ll find articles from...

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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 13, 2015

    Trees by Henri Edmond Cross, 1909, Graphite and watercolor on paper
    Trees of Life and Fruitful Relationships
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of Arboreal Architecture: A Visual History of Trees, an exhibition on view at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, now through July 20, 2015. The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford is a beacon for global arts and culture in Silicon Valley—it opened its doors in 1894, nearly a century...

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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 7, 2015

    SarteFeature
    Sustainable Design is Useful, Beautiful, and Connected to People
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Sustainable Infrastructure. The Guide to Green Engineering and Design, by S. Bry Sarté. 2010. ISBN 978-0-470-45361-2. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ. 364 pages. Sustainable infrastructure design—from water, energy, material flows, built systems—is the art of seeking solutions that address ecology, engineering and culture as interconnected realms. In...

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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 30, 2015

    Science-Practitioner Feauture
    10 scientists and 10 practitioners walk into a bar…what would they talk about? How can research and knowledge generation be co-created to better support practitioners and evidence-based decision making?
    Myla Aronson, New Brunswick
    Georgina Avlonitis, Cape Town
    Keith Bowers, Charleston
    Sarah Charlop-Powers, New York
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai
    Bram Gunther, New York
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Amy Hahs, Parkville, Australia
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut
    John Hartig, Detroit
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Michael Jemtrud, Montreal
    Deborah Lev, Portland
    Louise Lezy-Bruno, Paris
    Yvonne Lynch, Melbourne
    Ian MacGregor-Fors, Veracruz
    Charlie Nilon, Columbia
    Diane Pataki, Salt Lake City
    Jose Puppim, Johor Bahru / Cambridge / Rio
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit
    Eric Sanderson, New York
    Philip Silva, New York

    32 Comment(s)
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    June 29, 2015

    Feature(RichardScott)
    Sustainability is Everywhere
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    A review of Sustainability in the Global City, Myth and Practice, edited by Cindy Isenhour, Gary McDonogh and Melissa Checker. 2015. ISBN: 9781107076280. Cambridge University Press, New York. 426 pages. As the introductory chapter states: “Sustainability is everywhere.” Indeed, what did we do before the introduction of the term? Sustainability...

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    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 22, 2015

    beijingfeature
    Cities FOR People
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    A review of People Habitat: 25 Ways to think about Greener, Healthier Cities, a collection of essays by F. Kaid Benfield. 2014. ISBN: 9780989751100. Island Press, Washington. 304 pages. Cities are arguably the greatest achievement of our human species. They are such an impressive naturally-occurring phenomenon: popping up over 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 11, 2015

    Citizens at work. Photo: Janice Astbury
    To Grow a Garden, Invest in Organizing
    Derek Nichols, Buffalo

    A review of Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook, by LaManda Joy. 2014. ISBN-10: 160469484X. ISBN-13: 9781604694840. Timber Press, Portland. 224 pages. Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook is exactly that. This comprehensive resource is perfect for backyard gardeners wanting to go communal, community organizers wanting to impact their...

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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 5, 2015

    Mountain lion in Santa Monica MountainsFEATURE
    Lions and Roaches and Boars, Oh My! Cities are Full of Animals
    Chris Hensley, Fresno

    A review of Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle, by Tristan Donovan. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-56976-067-3. Chicago Review Press, Inc., Chicago. 256 pages. From red foxes in London and wild boars in Berlin to cockroaches in New York City and slugs in Miami, Feral Cities is full of...

    4 Comment(s)
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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 26, 2015

    feature
    Nature, New York, and the Practice of Paying Attention
    Philip Silva, New York

    A review of Still the Same Hawk, edited by John Waldman. 2012. ISBN: 9780823249893. Fordham University Press, New York. 160 pages. “Dualism is the defining quality of urban nature.”  Thus begins John Waldman’s introduction to Still the Same Hawk, a grab bag book of “reflections on nature and New York”...

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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

    Clownfish co-existing with sea anemone Photo credit- Karenne Tun
    An Urban Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
    Taida Garibovic, Zadar, Croatia

    A review of Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections between Cities and Oceans by Timothy Beatley. 2014. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-405-5 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-405-8. Island Press, Washington. 165 pages. Timothy Beatley, a recognized environmental urbanist and planner, has recently been working on the concept of sustainable communities and resilient cities. In particular, the author’s...

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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 19, 2015

    NEW YORK (Nov. 4, 2012) Damage Control Fireman Louis Durante waits along Rockaway Beach in Queens, N.Y., for a dewatering team from the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17). Durante, from New York, was on leave when Hurricane Sandy struck and met the dewatering team to help dewater apartment complexes in Rockaway Beach. The U.S. Navy has positioned forces in the area to assist U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) in support of FEMA and local civil authorities following the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Terah L. Mollise/Released) 121104-N-GZ984-062
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    Taking “resilience” out of the realm of metaphor. How do you measure resilience in cities? How would you know if your city or your community was resilient?
    Keren Bolter, Fort Lauderdale
    Cezar Busatto, Porto Alegre
    Lorenzo Chelleri, L'Aquila
    William Dunbar, Tokyo
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Antoine Faye, Dakar
    Richard Friend, Bangkok
    Lance Gunderson, Atlanta
    Tom Henfrey, Bristol
    Patricia Holly, Barcelona and Nairobi
    Dan Lewis, Barcelona and Nairobi
    Rachna Leveque, London
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Franco Montalto, Philadelphia and Venice
    Luciana Nery, Rio de Janeiro
    Henk Ovink, The Hague
    Elisabeth Peyroux, Paris
    Catherine Sutherland, Durban
    Pakamas Thinphanga, Bangkok
    Claire Weisz, New York
    Daniel Zarrilli, New York

    20 Comment(s)
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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...

    2 Comment(s)
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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 13, 2015

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

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

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    May 12, 2015

    Image 8 - photo of the Golden Gate National Recreation Aea
    Bringing Cities to Nature at the 2015 George Wright Society Conference
    Lynn Wilson, Vancouver

    A review of “Engagement, Education & Expectations—The Future of Parks & Protected Areas,” the George Wright Society’s 18th bi-annual conference, which took place in Oakland, California from March 29-April 3, 2015. A new energy is emerging around the importance and relevance of connecting urban dwellers with nearby nature to realize a full range of human...

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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, Managua & Montreal

    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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    May 2, 2015

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

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

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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, London

    “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 21, 2015

    BirdsBy(copyright)JoshuaBurch
    Imaging the urban wild: Fourteen photographers and artists show and talk about their work
    Joshua Burch, London
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Mike Feller, New York City
    Andrés Flajszer, Barcelona
    Mike Houck, Portland
    Chris Jordan, Seattle
    Robin Lasser, Oakland
    Monika Lawrence, Bemidji
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    David Maddox, New York City
    Chris Payne, New York City
    Eric Sanderson, New York
    Jonathan Stenvall, Stockholm
    Benjamin Swett, New York City

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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 16, 2015

    Boxer Bob Wanders in the Mansion Ruins by Robin Lasser
    Artists, Vagabonds, and an Accidental Nature Reserve in San Francisco Bay
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art and Culture, an exhibition curated by Robin Lasser, Danielle Siembieda, and Barbara Boissevain at SOMArts, San Francisco, USA.  For such a far-reaching social and ecological exposition, Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art and Culture centers on a surprisingly small piece of man-made land...

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    April 15, 2015

    fig-9-P1270211-300dpi
    What Is Civic Ecology? 25 Definitions. TNOC Podcast Episode 004
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: Marianne Krasny and Keith Tidball of Cornell’s Civic Ecology Lab convened a workshop in Annapolis Maryland, at the offices of The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, or SESYNC. (I [David Maddox] facilitated.) The workshop was a gathering of 25 scholars and practitioners, come to talk about civic...

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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 2, 2015

    GreenInfrastructureFEATURE
    Complex and Useful, Green Is Infrastructure
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Green Infrastructure: A Landscape Approach, by David C. Rouse and Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa. 2013.  ISBN: 978-1-611900-62-0. Report Number 571. Planning Advisory Service. American Planning Association. 157 pages. Available here.  This PAS Report, in line with the current principles of sustainability, discusses green infrastructure (GI) as the visible...

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    April 1, 2015

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

    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 30, 2015

    Re-words
    Where Can Civic Ecology Lead? TNOC Podcast Episode 003
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: A conversation about civic ecology between Lance Gunderson, a landscape ecologist from Emory University in Atlanta; Caroline Lewis, of Climate Leadership Engagement Opportunities, or CLEO, in Miami; and Arjen Wals, a professor of social learning and sustainable development at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Climate change and other stresses...

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    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 19, 2015

    16 Kensingston Garden London Photo Mike Houck
    Lessons from Britain’s Urban Nature Movement
    Mike Houck, Portland

    A review of Nature in Towns and Cities, by David Goode. 2014. William Collins, New Naturalist Library. ISBN: 9780007242405. ISBN 10: 0007242409. 417 pages. The newest title in The New Naturalist Library, Nature in Towns and Cities by Dr. David Goode, is true to the series’ dual goals of “recapturing...

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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 17, 2015

    Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore. Photo: Atelier Dreiseitl
    Daylighting and restoring urban streams, ponds and wetlands can provide huge ecological and social benefits. Are such restorations “worth it”? What are the pitfalls? How can we demonstrate these benefits and elevate them in the public discourse so that urban wetlands become urban planning priorities?
    Adrian Benepe, New York City
    Keith Bowers, Charleston
    Meredith Dobbie, Victoria
    Susannah Drake, New York City
    Herbert Dreiseitl, Überlingen
    Marit Larson, New York City
    Chan-Won Lee, Changwon
    Kaitlin Lovell, Portland
    Alberto Tacón, Valdivia

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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 5, 2015

    QuebecParliamentGarden
    Apples and Tomatoes: Comparing Community Gardens and Municipally Sponsored Urban Agriculture
    Mara Gittleman, Brooklyn

    A review of Public Produce: Cultivating our Parks, Plazas, and Streets for Healthier Cities, by Darrin Nordahl. 2014. Island Press, Washington. ISBN: 9781610915496. 224 pages. When Darrin Nordahl first published Public Produce: the New Urban Agriculture in 2009, most urban agriculture took place in community gardens, backyard gardens, and urban farms....

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    March 4, 2015

    LindsayCampbellPlantsATree
    Encountering the Urban Forest
    Lindsay Campbell, New York City

    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, Lüneburg
    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 19, 2015

    Jamaica Bay terns NYC 4 copy
    Illuminating New York Harbor
    Rob Pirani, New York

    A review of Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, Revised Edition, by John Waldman. 2012. Fordham University Press, New York. ISBN: 9780823249855. 160 pages. 38 black and white illustrations. New York Harbor is a murky place by nature. The mixing of fresh and salt waters,...

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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 8, 2015

    GriffinJustCityGraphic
    Closing the Sustainability and Equity Gap: What Does it Mean to be both a Green and Just City? TNOC Podcast Episode 002
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: Cities face many challenges with competing solutions: climate change, economic inequality, lack of access to resources and opportunities, and social and political conflict. Can we plan and design for outcomes that serve nature, provide nature-based solutions to real urban problems, and support human rights?...

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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 31, 2015

    BeatleyKidsLookingatBirdsFeature
    Is there such a thing as a “bird friendly city”? What does it look like? What does it not look like? Why bother?
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville
    Luke Engleback, Tunbridge Wells
    Dusty Gedge, London
    David Goode, London
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno
    John Marzluff, Seattle
    Bongani Mnisi, Cape Town
    Glenn Phillips, New York City
    Kaveh Samiei, Tehran
    Ken Smith, New York
    Yolanda van Heezik, Dunedin
    Maxime Zucca, Paris

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    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 26, 2015

    urbanaccupuncture_featured2
    Common Sense Urban Tools to Change Cities, Via Curitiba
    Sebastian Miguel, Buenos Aires

    A review of Urban Acupuncture: Celebrating Pinpricks of Change that Enrich City Life, by Jaime Lerner. 2014. Island Press, Washington.  ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-583 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-583-6. 143 pages.  For traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a method to stimulate specific points of the body to change or regulate a specific pathology and benefit the...

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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 9, 2015

    ParticipationCities4People2
    Participation and Urban Open Space. TNOC Podcast Episode 001
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: The Nature of Cities was invited to create a session at the 2014 Smart Cities Expo in Barcelona: “Participation and the Role of Green and Open Space in Cities”. This Episode is a back stage conversation among the panelists after the presentations. The session, led by...

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    January 9, 2015

    Review_Advice2
    Practical Advice for the Design of Greenways
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Designing Greenways: Sustainable Landscapes for Nature and People (Second Edition), edited by Paul Cawood Hellmund and Daniel Somers Smith. 2006. ISBN 1-55963-325-5. Island Press, Washington. 270 pages.  Greenways (GW)—from  wide wild areas to narrow urban trails—are linear bands of land and water designed and managed for multiple purposes such as...

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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 6, 2015

    Garden by the Bay, Singapore. Design credit: Grant Associates. Photo: Darren Chin
    Urban water fronts have typically been sites of heavy development and often are sites of pollution or exclusive access. But they have enormous potential benefits. How can we unlock these benefits for everyone? Are there ecological vs. social vs. economic tradeoffs?
    Mitchell Chester, Miami
    PK Das, Mumbai
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Andrew Grant, Bath
    John Hartig, Detroit
    Roland Lewis, New York
    Joe Lobko, Toronto
    Robert Morris-Nunn, Hobart
    Rob Pirani, New York
    Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Miami
    Andréa Albuquerque G. Redondo, Rio de Janeiro
    Bradley Rink, Cape Town
    Hita Unnikrishnan, Bangalore
    Jay Valgora, New York
    Mike Wells, Bath

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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 4, 2014

    131203_IMG_0563
    How can different ways of knowing—and of producing knowledge—be useful for understanding and managing urban ecosystems?
    Doreen Adengo, Kampala
    Adrina Bardekjian, Montreal and Toronto
    Sadia Butt Sadia Butt, Toronto
    Lindsay Campbell, New York City
    Luke Drake, New Brunswick, New Jersey
    Bryce DuBoise, Ithaca
    Johan Enqvist, Stockholm
    Nate Gabriel, New Brunswick, New Jersey
    Tischa Muñoz-Erickson, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico
    Camilo Ordoñez, Halifax
    Philip Silva, New York
    James Steenberg, Toronto

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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, London

    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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    November 2, 2014

    The celebration of the living (who reflect upon death). Apulia, Italy 2010. Photo: Emilio Fantin
    How can art (in all its forms), exhibits, installations and provocations be a better catalyst to raise awareness, support and momentum for urban nature and green spaces? 
    Jennifer Adams, New York City
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    Marielle Anzelone, New York City
    Stephanie Britton, Byron Bay, NSW
    Pauline Bullen, Harare
    Tim Collins, Glasgow
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Lloyd Godman, Melbourne
    Julie Goodness, Stockholm
    Noel Hefele, Brooklyn
    Todd Lester, Säo Paulo
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Elliott Maltby, New York City
    Mary Miss, New York City
    Lorenza Perelli, Chicago
    Stephanie Radok, Adelaide
    Lisa Terreni, Wellington
    Shawn Van Sluys, Guelph

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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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    October 5, 2014

    Photo: SEGC CityLab Universidad de los Andes
    Do urban green corridors “work”? It depends on what we want them to do. What ecological and/or social functions can we realistically expect green corridors to perform in cities? What attributes define them, from a design and performance perspective?
    Diego Borrero, Cali
    Kelly Brenner, Seattle
    Lena Chan, Singapore
    Geoffrey Davison, Singapore
    Susannah Drake, New York City
    Marcus Hedblom, Uppsala
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Chris Ives, Lüneburg
    Tori Kjer, Los Angeles
    Kathryn Lwin, London
    Pierre-André Martin, Rio de Janeiro
    Colin Meurk, Lincoln, NZ
    Toni Pujol, Barcelona
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch
    Marten Wallberg, Stockholm
    Na Xiu, Uppsala & Xi’an
    Irene Guida, Venice

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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, Melbourne

    “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

    MudMaiden2
    What is the meaning and role of the “sacred” in the design and management of urban green space and the building of cities that are both green and livable?
    Pedro Camarena, Mexico City
    Lindsay Campbell, New York City
    Jayne Engle, Montreal
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Mickey Fearn, Raleigh
    Divya Gopal, Berlin
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Jimena Martignoni, Buenos Aires
    Erika Svendsen, New York City
    Maria Tengö, Stockholm
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem
    Gavin Van Horn, Chicago
    Shawn Van Sluys, Guelph
    Diana Wiesner, Bogota
    Kathleen Wolf, Seattle
    Mary Wyatt, Annapolis

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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 City
    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, Lüneburg
    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 7, 2014

    Holzer picture_urban youth
    How much should we worry about exotic species in urban zones? How do we reduce damage from exotic invasives when management resources are limited? Are there conflicts between management or eradication efforts and building general support for urban biodiversity?
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    David Burg, New York City
    Mark Davis, Saint Paul
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Katie Holzer, Davis
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno
    Deborah Lev, Portland
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Matt Palmer, New York City
    Toby Query, Portland
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch
    Paula Villagra & Carmen Silva, Los Rios, Chile
    Peter Werner

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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 9, 2014

    3-year old walking on Elmer Avenue, a green street pilot project in Sunland, CA
    Environmental education in cities focuses on youth and community development, restoring ecosystems, building green infrastructure, and more. But is urban environmental education really anything new? What should its goals and practices look like?
    Janice Astbury, London
    Chankook Kim, Cheongju, South Korea
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    Alex Russ, Ithaca
    Miguel Luna, Los Angeles
    Pepe Marcos-Iga, Tucson
    Candice Russell, Los Angeles
    Soul Shava, Johannesburg
    Philip Silva, New York
    Shubhalaxmi Vaylure, Mumbai

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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

    L1040254
    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 12, 2014

    According to available studies, around 60% of the housing in Mexico has been built by the people. Similar percentages can be found in several countries of the Global South. The dualistic conceptualization of formal-informal does not captures the richness and diversity of these processes, and usually translates into limited governmental interventions and very often in its criminalization. We prefer to understand them as --social production of habitat--, a self-managed effort from communities and families to realize their right to housing and their right to the city. References: Among others, please refer to some of the following publications: Enrique Ortiz F. y Ma. Lorena Zárate (eds.), Vivitos y coleando. 40 años trabajando por el hábitat popular en América Latina, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana y HIC-AL, México, 2002; Enrique Ortiz Flores y Ma. Lorena Zárate (eds.), De la marginación a la ciudadanía: 38 casos de producción y gestión social del hábitat, Fundación Forum Universal de las Culturas, HIC y HIC-AL, Barcelona, 2005; y Rino Torres, La producción social de vivienda en México. Su importancia nacional y su impacto en la economía de los hogares pobres, HIC-AL, México, 2006.
    A Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on Cities and Human Settlements is competing for a place among the final United Nations SDGs that will be approved in 2014. If there were an explicitly Urban SDG, what would it look like? What should it say?
    Yunus Arikan, Bonn
    Genie Birch, Philadelphia
    Ben Bradlow, Boston
    Maruxa Cardama, Brussels
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Julian Goh, Singapore
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala
    Anjali Mahendra, Delhi
    Mary Rowe, New York City
    Andrew Rudd, New York City
    Kaveh Samiei, Tehran
    Karen Seto, New Haven
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

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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, Lüneburg

    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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