A review of Sustainability in the Global City, Myth and Practice, edited by Cindy Isenhour, Gary McDonogh, Melissa Checker. 2015. ISBN: 9781107076280. Cambridge University Press, New York City, NY, USA. 426 pages. As the introductory chapter states: “Sustainability is everywhere.” Indeed, what did we do before the introduction of the term? Sustainability in the Global … Continue reading Sustainability is Everywhere
California has long been a center of gardening culture. With a mild climate and a history of agricultural expansion followed by rapid urbanization, California’s ornamental gardens are populated by plant species and cultivars imported from all over the world. Many of these exotic species have become iconic, such as the palm trees, figs, and citrus … Continue reading Is There Room for Ornamentals in the Gardens of “New” California?
We are not in the Age of Aquarius that had brought—to some of us—radical hope about societal change and a turn toward ecology, steady state growth, and different GDP metrics, including happiness. The age was about love, unity, integrity, sympathy, harmony, understanding and trust. The Age of Aquarius was about doing things differently, building the … Continue reading Magical Thinking in the Age of Green
My view of nature in the city is often informed by my own experiences in my part of the world: Los Angeles, California. About 5 years ago I was given a Palo Verde tree which my husband and I planted in a strategic location to provide shade and beauty in the back of our four … Continue reading The Palo Verde in My Backyard
While we have been focused on the nature of cities in cities and its sublime paradoxes, one could perhaps also enlarge the city nature question to reflect on the gradual urbanization of planet Earth. Whether it is global appropriation of Earth resources by humans — human activities now appropriate nearly one-third to one-half of global … Continue reading The Ironic “Nature” of ExUrbia
Vroom, buzz, roar, hum, zzzz, whine, chuffa-chuffa, whir, putt-putt, growl and shriek. Acrid, penetrating, sweet, stomach turning, smokey, arresting. These are the sounds and smells of machines, the machines that fueled by petroleum and are ubiquitous in the urban landscape, seemingly indispensible and unavoidable to the maintenance of urban ecosystem services. The smallest patches of … Continue reading The Sounds and Smells…and Costs…of Urban Ecosystem Servicing
It is interesting that we think of nature in cities only as fauna and flora. Mineral nature—the rocks and inert resources—is the stage on which living nature is set. In cities, this means that the embedded nature all around us, that has been extracted from the Earth like the processed aggregate that we use to … Continue reading The Invisible Urban Nature All Around Us: Beyond Green to Include the Built Infrastructure
This winter I had occasion to spend a few days in the city of Albuquerque, where it was cold, dry and brown. Winter in the Southwestern United States. Trees along the Rio Grande were bare; not too many trees elsewhere. Taking the taxi back home from the Los Angeles International Airport, fondly known as LAX, … Continue reading Reflections on Cities, Seasons and Bioregions