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Mike Houck,  Portland

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  • Mike Houck

    Mike Houck

    Executive Director Urban Greenspaces Institute Portland, OR USA Mike Houck, Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute (http://www.urbangreenspaces.org), has worked on local, regional, and national urban park and greenspace issues since 1980 when he founded the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland (http://www.audubonportland.org). He is co-founder of The Intertwine Alliance (http://www.theintertwine.org), which is dedicated to creating a world-class park, trail, and natural area system for the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region. The Alliance is also a member of the national Metropolitan Greenspaces Alliance whose members represent Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Francisco Bay Area, and Portland metropolitan greenspace initiatives.

    May 24, 2015
    4 Great Blue Heron  at Oaks Bottom Photo Mike HouckFEATURE

    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 rural areas. Salmon are especially central … Continue reading Birds: Iconic Emissaries of Urban Nature

    March 19, 2015
    16 Kensingston Garden London Photo Mike Houck

    A review of Nature in Towns and Cities. By David Goode. William Collins, New Naturalist Library. 2014. 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 the enquiring spirit of the … Continue reading Lessons from Britain’s Urban Nature Movement

    November 9, 2014
    Graphic 52

    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 San Francisco Bay Area, Los … Continue reading The Emerald Necklace: Metropolitan Greenspace Planning in Los Angeles and Beyond

    April 6, 2014
    Portland Metropolitan Greenspaces map © Mike Houck

    Tim Beatley (2000: 224) cites Portland, Oregon as one example of progressive regional, bioregional, and metropolitan-scale greenspace planning in the country. Portland is also known for its land use planning and sustainability practices. Indeed, the city has more LEED (Leadership in Environmental Design) buildings than any other city. While the nation had increased greenhouse gases … Continue reading Collective Impact: A New Model for Regional Open Space Planning

    May 29, 2013
    Heron at Tanner Spring. Photo: Michael Abbate

    I admit it, I’m obsessed with a small created wetland in NW Portland’s Pearl District. When it comes to urban greenspaces size is often overrated, meaning even a small created 200 x 200 foot faux wetlands can be both biologically and socially meaningful in intensely development urban neighborhoods. Tanner Springs is one of those sites. … Continue reading Size Doesn’t Matter—Really!

    December 15, 2012
    Figure 5 Cedar Mill Creek 2002c

    In his book Green Urbanism Tim Beatley touted Portland, Oregon as one example of progressive regional, bioregional, and metropolitan-scale greenspace planning in the U.S.  It is true that the Portland metropolitan region is well known for its land use planning and sustainable practices.  Portland itself has more LEED buildings than any other American city.  While the … Continue reading Biodiversity Planning: Finally Getting It Right in the Portland-Vancouver Metro Region

    July 3, 2012
    1 Peregrine Falcon on Bridge Photo Bob Sallinger WIDE

    The belief that the city is an entity apart from nature and even antithetical to it has dominated the way in which the city is perceived and continues to affect how it is built. The city must be recognized as part of nature and designed accordingly — Anne Whiston Spirn, The Granite Garden (1984) Coming … Continue reading Nature Nearby