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Philip Silva,  New York

Cities are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure
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  • Philip Silva

    Philip Silva

    TreeKit, Cornell University Ithaca, NY USA Philip Silva is a Ph.D. student in Natural Resources at Cornell University. His work focuses on informal adult learning and participatory action research in social-ecological systems. For the past four years, Silva taught courses in urban forestry, environmental history, and design at The New School. In 2011, Silva was one of 25 national leaders convened by the US Forest Service to participate in the “Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests” task force. He has worked with some of NYC’s leading environmental organizations, including Sustainable South Bronx, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Just Food, and the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance. Philip is a recipient of the 2010 iLAB Residency of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature, and Dance (“iLAND”) and a 2009 Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. He currently serves as co-founder and co-director of TreeKIT, an initiative to measure, map, and collaboratively manage urban forests. A native of Newark, NJ with a graduate degree in urban policy analysis, Silva is dedicated to exploring nature in all of its urban expressions.

    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...

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    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

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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...

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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...

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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 Ottawa
    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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    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 Kudryavtsev, 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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    January 5, 2014

    Trees mapped by volunteers at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy in Brooklyn, working with TreeKIT. Source: TreeKIT
    Three M’s for Empowering Volunteer Urban Foresters: Mobilizing, Mapping, and Monitoring
    Philip Silva, New York

    Local governments planted millions of young trees on urban streets throughout the United States during the first decade of the 21st Century. From Los Angeles to New York, large cities made prodigious investments in urban reforestation and wrote off the...

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    June 9, 2013

    Photo: Philip Silva
    Street Art, Slow Work, and Stories: Three Values for Civic Ecology Practices in Cities
    Philip Silva, New York

    In cities throughout the United States, thousands of people are gearing up for another busy summer of growing vegetables in community gardens and caring for street trees planted along the sidewalk’s edge. Self-organized, volunteer-based, and focused on improving both communities...

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    January 9, 2013

    HouseLisbon2
    From Banlieue to Biophilia: Thinking About Nature as a Basis for Urban Design
    Philip Silva, New York

    My second contribution to the Nature of Cities blog was scheduled to fall around that awkward moment at the start of the New Year when productivity is at its lowest ebb. Instead of sitting down to the task at my...

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    July 31, 2012

    NYCSewer
    Cyborgs, Sewers, and the Sensing City
    Philip Silva, New York

    Cities have long been seen as the antithesis – or, at least, the absence – of nature. Yet in recent years, environmentalists started rethinking their long-held prejudices against urban areas. The rise of neighborhood-based environmental justice movements, beginning in the 1980’s,...

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