Meet the Author:
Mike Houck,  Portland

Search by Month
Search by Tag
Search by Category
Mike Houck

Mike Houck

Executive Director Urban Greenspaces Institute Portland, OR USA Mike Houck, Director of the Urban Greenspaces Institute (, 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 ( He is co-founder of The Intertwine Alliance (, 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.

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