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Mary Rowe,  New York City

Cities are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure
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  • Mary Rowe

    Mary Rowe

    Mary W. Rowe is an urbanist and civic entrepreneur. She currently lives in New York City and works with government, business and civil society organizations to strengthen the economic, social, cultural and environmental resilience of the city and its neighborhoods. Her particular focus is creating local, national and international learning networks of urban practitioners developing local innovations that foster local livability and resilience, of which art and cultural heritage are key components. Her tenure in New York City follows five years of intense work in the recovering city of New Orleans post Katrina, where she helped form the New Orleans Institute for Resilience and Innovation, a loose alliance of initiatives that emerged in response to the systemic collapses of 2005. Her initial engagement in NOLA was as part of a fellowship awarded to her by 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. While at blue moon Mary developed an urban granting program to invest in specific initiatives in New Orleans, Washington DC, and New York. Her work in New Orleans included supporting a broad array of local, connected initiatives that include building the local economy, creating more open governance and data collection and sharing, fostering entrepreneurship, creating a culture of planning that supports transparent decision making and land-use, the emerging role of social media, and creating peer-to-peer learning in the emerging civil society-led innovation in the Region. Mary is an experienced facilitator, convenor and communicator on urban issues, and worked for ten years in Toronto as President of Ideas that Matter. Books to which she has contributed include What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs (Center for the Living City/New Village Press), Oil and Water…and Other things that don’t mix (LL-Publications), Toronto: Considering Self-government (The Ginger Press), Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design (Ecotone Publishing), and Ideas that Matter: The Worlds of Jane Jacobs (Island Press/Ginger Press). Mary is also a frequent contributor to an international, interdisciplinary web platform: The Nature of Cities http://www.thenatureofcities.com/

    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...

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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...

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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...

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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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    April 7, 2014

    urban gardening and farming help "personalize"...and in the process enrich...the city socially, physically...and probably economically. Developed by Phipps Houses and Jonathan Rose Companies with Dattner Architects and Grimshaw
    The sky is the limit for urban agriculture. Or is it? What can cities hope to get from community gardens and urban agriculture?
    Lindsay Campbell, New York City
    Joana Chan & Bryce DuBois, New York City
    David Dixon, London
    Alexandre Guertin, Montreal
    Gareth Haysom, Cape Town
    Madhumitha Jaganmohan, Leipzig
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    Jenga Mwendo, New Orleans
    Mary Rowe, New York City
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem
    Darlene Wolnik, New Orleans

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    April 2, 2014

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

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

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    June 12, 2013

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

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

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    February 27, 2013

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

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

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