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Mary Rowe,  New York City

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Mary Rowe

Mary Rowe

Vice President & Managing Director
Municipal Arts Society of New York
New York, NY USA

Mary W. Rowe is currently Vice President & Managing Director of the Municipal Art Society of New York City (, a century-old advocacy organization working to promote the livability and resilience of New York City. She recently returned to the northeast United States after several years working in the philanthropy, most recently coordinating the New Orleans Institute for Resilience and Innovation, a loose alliance of initiatives that emerged in response to the systemic collapses of 2005. Previous positions include: a fellowship and subsequent staff position as Vice President, Urban Programs with the blue moon fund of Charlottesville, Virginia, to focus on self-organization in cities as the underpinning of urban and regional social, economic and environmental resilience; President of Ideas that Matter, a convening and publishing program based on the work of Jane Jacobs based in Toronto. She is a contributor to several volumes on urban life, with a particular interest in self-organization.

October 20, 2014
Shot from Nola bridge obstructing access to the Lower 9th Ward: no pedestrians beyond this point. Photo: Mary Rowe

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 across it, is the same … Continue reading Connective Tissue Matters in the Nature of Cities

April 2, 2014

City economies as patterns of connection In a healthy functioning city, various forms of urban capital, including natural, social, cultural — and economic — are enabled to flow smoothly and flexibly, along paths that are productive and enriching to the system of which they are a part. The most efficient patterns of capital ‘flows’ in … Continue reading The Nature of a City Economy: Towards an Ecology of Entrepreneurship

June 12, 2013
Cafe Katrina. Photo: Mary Rowe

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

February 27, 2013

Jane Jacobs titled her sixth book The Nature of Economies (Random House, 2000). In the Foreword she makes explicit her intent: “The theme running through this exposition — indeed, the basic premise on which the book is constructed — is that human beings exist wholly within nature as a legitimate part of natural order in every respect. … Continue reading Urbanophilia and the End of Misanthropy: Cities Are Nature