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Timon McPhearson,  New York

Cities are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure
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  • Timon McPhearson

    Timon McPhearson

    Assistant Professor The New School New York, NY USA Dr. Timon McPhearson is Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology at The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center in New York City where he teaches urban ecology, sustainability and resilience. He earned his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources from Rutgers University, held a postdoc at Columbia University, and worked as a biodiversity scientist at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. His research seeks to improve resilience and sustainability of urban social-ecological systems including the EU funded Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES) project, the MillionTreesNYC Urban Forest Restoration study, the ICLEI Urban Biosphere (URBIS) Initiative, and the UN CBD Cities and Biodiversity Outlook (CBO), a global assessment of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services.

    May 19, 2015

    NEW YORK (Nov. 4, 2012) Damage Control Fireman Louis Durante waits along Rockaway Beach in Queens, N.Y., for a dewatering team from the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17). Durante, from New York, was on leave when Hurricane Sandy struck and met the dewatering team to help dewater apartment complexes in Rockaway Beach. The U.S. Navy has positioned forces in the area to assist U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) in support of FEMA and local civil authorities following the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Terah L. Mollise/Released) 121104-N-GZ984-062
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    Taking “resilience” out of the realm of metaphor. How do you measure resilience in cities? How would you know if your city or your community was resilient?
    Keren Bolter, Fort Lauderdale
    Cezar Busatto, Porto Alegre
    Lorenzo Chelleri, L'Aquila
    William Dunbar, Tokyo
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Antoine Faye, Dakar
    Richard Friend, Bangkok
    Lance Gunderson, Atlanta
    Tom Henfrey, Bristol
    Patricia Holly, Barcelona and Nairobi
    Dan Lewis, Barcelona and Nairobi
    Rachna Leveque, London
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Franco Montalto, Philadelphia and Venice
    Luciana Nery, Rio de Janeiro
    Henk Ovink, The Hague
    Elisabeth Peyroux, Paris
    Catherine Sutherland, Durban
    Pakamas Thinphanga, Bangkok
    Claire Weisz, New York
    Daniel Zarrilli, New York

    20 Comment(s)
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    January 3, 2015

    IMG_5_Drawing_Soil
    Micro_Urban: The Ecological and Social Potential of Small-Scale Urban Spaces
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Victoria Marshall, Newark

    Small-scale urban spaces can be rich in biodiversity, contribute important ecological benefits for human mental and physical health (McPhearson et al., 2013), and overall help to create more livable cities. Micro_urban spaces are the sandwich spaces between buildings, rooftops, walls, curbs,...

    6 Comment(s)
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    July 28, 2014

    ImagesVacantLots
    TNOC Encore: Vacant Land in Cities Could Provide Important Social and Ecological Benefits
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    (This encore publication originally appeared at TNOC on 21 August 2012.) Walk through any major city and you’ll see vacant land. These are the weed lots, garbage strewn undeveloped spaces, and high crime areas that most urban residents consider blights on...

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    July 7, 2014

    Holzer picture_urban youth
    How much should we worry about exotic species in urban zones? How do we reduce damage from exotic invasives when management resources are limited? Are there conflicts between management or eradication efforts and building general support for urban biodiversity?
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    David Burg, New York City
    Mark Davis, Saint Paul
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Katie Holzer, Davis
    Madhusudan Katti, Fresno
    Deborah Lev, Portland
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Matt Palmer, New York City
    Toby Query, Portland
    Glenn Stewart, Christchurch
    Paula Villagra & Carmen Silva, Los Rios, Chile
    Peter Werner

    24 Comment(s)
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    June 8, 2014

    Aerial views of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen.
    The Rise of Resilience: Linking Resilience and Sustainability in City Planning
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    Cities around the world are making plans, developing agendas, and articulating goals for urban resilience, but is urban resilience really possible? Resilience to what, for what, and for whom? Additionally, resilience is being used in many cases as a replacement...

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    March 3, 2014

    Grey Infrastructure such as Portland's Combined Sewer Overflow "big pipe" (LEFT) is essential to the city's efforts to clean up the Willamette River by virtually eliminating sewer overflows, but it it is a single, purpose "out of sight,out of mind" solution with none of the additional benefits provided by green infrastructure such as Portland's Park Blocks (RIGHT) which attenuate stormwater, reduce urban heat island effect, provide migratory bird habitat and beautify downtown Portland.  RIGHT: At the other range of the size spectrum built green infrastructure like this curb extension not only protects the city's $1.44  billion investment in its Combine Sewer Overflow program by keeping stormwater out of the city's grey, piped system but also create a more aesthetic green street and contributes to traffic calming, improving quality of life in the neighborhood.
    Many believe that better information on the monetary value of ecosystem services is critical for getting cities to adopt more green infrastructure solutions to issues such as storm water management, heat island, storm surge, etc. True? What are the key knowledge gaps for convincing cities to invest in ecosystems services?
    Taylor Britt, Houston
    Nette Compton, New York City
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Mike Houck, Portland
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Rob McInnes, London
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Franco Montalto, Philadelphia and Venice
    Steve Whitney, Seattle

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    May 19, 2013

    CentralParkNYC
    Getting Beyond Plant PR: Accounting for Both Services and Disservices of Urban Green Infrastructure
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    How do the benefits of urban green infrastructure stack up against the costs? We need to better understand the services and disservices generated by urban green infrastructure in order to build better decision support tools for improved planning and management...

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    January 20, 2013

    HurricaneSandyPhotobyMarkOlsen
    Wicked Problems, Social-ecological Systems, and the Utility of Systems Thinking
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    We had a “wicked problem” on our hands when Hurricane Sandy struck the US eastern seaboard on October 29th, 2012.  Sandy was dramatic, destroying 72,000 homes, causing tens of billions of dollars in infrastructural damage, displacing thousands of residents (many...

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    August 21, 2012

    ImagesVacantLots
    Vacant Land in Cities Could Provide Important Social and Ecological Benefits
    Timon McPhearson, New York

    Walk through any major city and you’ll see vacant land. These are the weed lots, garbage strewn undeveloped spaces, and high crime areas that most urban residents consider blights on the neighborhood. In some cases, neighbors have organized to transform...

    32 Comment(s)
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