Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

The Untamed City and its Indivisible Connection with Nature
Shuaib Lwasa,  Kampala

The impacts associated with city functions, economic, environmental, mobility, extend well beyond their administrative boundaries. But the contemporary and dominant frameworks and systems for managing cities have always determined what activity is allowable, where, and how the infrastructure and any developments pertaining to the function would be developed. Thus, functionality of cities has been defined by secondary activities—industry, transportation and services—which...

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

What Can We Learn from Past Successes? Thirty Years of Urban Ecology Action in London
David Goode,  Bath

Looking back over 50 years working as an ecologist some things stand out as real success stories. Camley Street Natural Park in London is one of these. On the day that I started work as Senior Ecologist at the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1982 I learnt that the Council had decided to convert a derelict coal yard at the...

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GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

Artists in Conversation with Air in Cities
Carmen Bouyer,  New York |  Tim Collins,  Glasgow |  Karahan Kadrman,  Istanbul |  Maggie Lin,  Hong Kong |  Patrick M. Lydon,  San Jose & Osaka |  Jennifer Monson,  Urbana |  Fanny Retsek,  San Jose |  Julia Stern,  Paris |  Cecilia Vicuña,  Santiago & New York |  1 Comment(s)
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REVIEWS
PODCAST

Rewriting the Book on Urban Transportation Design
David Bragdon, New York

A review of Global Street Design Guide. From the Global Designing Cities Initiative. ISBN: 9781610917018. Island Press. 442 pages. Buy the book. Streets are often the biggest share of publicly-owned land in a city. All too often, they’re conceived and managed only as thoroughfares for motor vehicles. A whole set of standards has been imposed to judge the effectiveness of streets solely on...

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RECENT ESSAYS...

The Human Disconnect in Trash Management
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

We walk through Mashhad, Iran, and start giggling like children. “Look how clean everything is! There are trash bins, and parks with good exercise equipment, and wide sidewalks you can actually walk on without being sideswiped by motos, rickshaws, bicycles and cows! Oh, how nice… they painted the park benches! And, people are sitting on the grass, having a picnic,...

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Making the Invisible Visible: Mapping Civic Environmental Stewardship
Laura Landau, New York
Lindsay Campbell, New York City
Erika Svendsen, New York City

Worldwide, cities are grappling with aging infrastructure, shifting populations, and changing weather patterns, necessitating the use and expansion of green space in equitable and creative ways. Many are embracing a transition from the sanitary city—comprised of siloed functions and grey infrastructure—to the sustainable city—comprised of regenerative and distributed systems that require ongoing coordination. At the same time, municipal budget constraints...

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To Create a Movement to Repair & Unify our Fragmented & Disfunctional Urban Landscapes
PK Das, Mumbai

Broken and disparate urban landscapes are common experience. The multitude of issues and concerns that are causing such conditions are not new; neither are responses of those who are committed to ideas of sustainability. Yet, discussions of the causes and responses have to be repeated many times over, in order to strengthen our forces or build new ones where there...

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Metropolis under Emergency: A Board Game to Plan Resilient Cities while Considering Place Attachment
Paula Villagra, Valdivia

To plan resilient cities is a complex task. It involves making decisions that involve the built, social, economic, and environmental development of a territory, including unexpected changes, such as those caused by extreme natural events. The effects of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and fires, among other disturbances, need to be studied, anticipated and included in the planning process of cities,...

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RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

Ecosystems for everyone: Who should have access to the myriad benefits of ecosystem services and urban nature? Everyone. Does everyone? No. How will we achieve this moral imperative?
Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski,  Barcelona  |  Georgina Avlonitis,  Cape Town |  Julie Bargmann,  Charlottesville |  Nathalie Blanc,  Paris |  PK Das,  Mumbai |  Marthe Derkzen,  Amsterdam |  Maggie Scott Greenfield,  New York |  Fadi Hamdan,  Beirut |  Nadja Kabisch,  Berlin |  Jim Labbe,  Portland |  Francois Mancebo,  Paris |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Flaminia Paddeu,  Paris |  Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie |  Andrew Rudd,  New York City |  Suraya Scheba,  Cape Town |  Marcelo Lopes de Souza,  Rio de Janeiro |  Hita Unnikrishnan,  Bangalore |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota |  Pengfei XIE,  Beijing | 
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Imagine an “ecological certification” for urban design. What are such a certification’s key elements?
Ankia Bormans,  Cape Town |  Katie Coyne,  Austin |  Sarah Dooling,  Austin/Boston |  Nigel Dunnett,  Sheffield |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Sarah Hinners,  Salt Lake City |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Jason King,  Seattle |  Marit Larson,  New York City |  Nina-Marie Lister,  Toronto |  Travis Longcore,  Los Angeles |  Colin Meurk,  Christchurch |  Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City |  Mohan Rao,  Bangalore |  Aditya Sood,  Delhi | 
29 Comment(s)
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Are cities ecosystems—analogous to natural ones—of nature, infrastructure and people? Does thinking about cities in this way help us think about urban design?
Marina Alberti,  Seattle |  Erik Andersson,  Stockholm |  Sarah Dooling,  Austin/Boston |  Paul Downton,  Melbourne |  Thomas Elmqvist,  Stockholm |  Nancy Grimm,  Phoenix |  Dagmar Haase,  Berlin |  Dominique Hes,  Melbourne |  Kristina Hill,  Berkeley |  Madhusudan Katti,  Raleigh |  Francois Mancebo,  Paris |  Clifford Ochs,  Oxford |  Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie |  Stephanie Pincetl,  Los Angeles |  Rob Pirani,  New York |  Richard Register,  Berkeley |  Eric Sanderson,  New York |  Alexis Schaffler,  Berkeley/Johannesburg/Cape Town |  Vivek Shandas,  Portland |  David Simon,  Gothenburg |  Jane Toner,  Melbourne |  Yolanda van Heezik,  Dunedin |  Ken Yeang,  Kuala Lumpur |  David Maddox,  New York City | 
3 Comment(s)
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To whom does a city’s nature belong? Is it a common pool resource, or a public good? And who decides?
Amita Baviskar,  Delhi |  Lindsay Campbell,  New York City |  James Connolly,  Barcelona |  Sheila Foster,  Washington, DC |  Phil Ginsburg,  San Francisco |  Jeff Hou,  Seattle |  Marianne Krasny,  Ithaca |  Mary Mattingly,  New York City |  Oona Morrow,  Berlin |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Raul Pacheco-Vega,  Aguascalientes |  Michael Sarbanes,  Baltimore |  Philip Silva,  New York |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota | 
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MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2012
David Maddox,  New York City

Cities are ecological spaces.  But only relatively recently has this new vision of ecologically sophisticated cities gained momentum.  Today, in increasing numbers, scientists, designers, and practitioners create useful knowledge about the nature of cities through study...

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PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

The Story of Jerusalem’s Railway Park: Getting the City Back on Track, Economically, Environmentally and Socially
Naomi Tsur,  Jerusalem

Sharing local experience is always important. However in the case of the Jerusalem Railway Park, both the process and the outcome have the level of universal relevance that make so many of the themes presented in “The Nature of Cities” essential urban reading. I refer to themes of the kind that not only have immense impact on a specific local...

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PLACE &
DESIGN

Prospective Urbanism—Using Science and Fiction to Imagine a New Way for Urban Nature
Pierre-André Martin,  Rio de Janeiro

A versão em Português segue imediatamente. Une version en français apparaît immédiatement après la version portugaise. Designing nature is a challenging task in an urban environment. For example, how can a 38 years old individual (myself) safely edit a 3.8 billion years old system (Nature)? It is quite a test for creative confidence. An arrogance, really. I remember when I...

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ART &
AWARENESS

Urban Biodiversity Is Both an Educational and Public Awareness Challenge
Shuaib Lwasa,  Kampala

I write this piece from my recent experiences with young and early career researchers at my University of Makerere in Kampala. It is a graduate conference organized by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and among students are those from the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, with over 20 graduate student’s presentations. I interact with a couple...

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