Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.



Rethinking Cities in Arid Environments for the 21st Century
Huda Shaka,  Dubai

Arid cities around the world Over two years ago, my colleagues and I at Arup began a research project focused on the topic of planning and designing cities in arid environments. We were initially interested in exploring the most relevant practices and innovations for cities in the Middle East, but soon realised that many other cities and regions around the...

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Many Small Changes Cascade into Big Change
Leen Gorissen,  Antwerp

How can cities accelerate transitions to sustainability? That was the central question in the collaborative EU-funded research project called ARTS, in which researchers, policy makers, citizens, artists, and entrepreneurs co-reflected on pathways to fast-forward urban sustainability. Upon the request of many urban changemakers, we translated the academic findings into an accessible book for urban change-makers, called Change the World, City...

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Our goal is to empower cities to plan for a positive natural future. What is one specific action that should be taken to achieve this goal?
Graciela Arosemena,  Panama City |  Marcus Collier,  Dublin |  Marlies Craig,  Durban |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Sumetee Gajjar,  Bangalore |  Gary Grant,  London |  Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá |  Fadi Hamdan,  Beirut |  Scott Kellogg,  Albany |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Yvonne Lynch,  Melbourne |  Emily Maxwell,  New York |  Colin Meurk,  Christchurch |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Jennifer Rae Pierce,  Vancouver |  Mary Rowe,  Toronto |  Luis Sandoval,  San José |  6 Comment(s)
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Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2018
David Maddox, New York City

Today’s post celebrates some of the highlights from TNOC writing in 2018. These contributions—originating around the world—were one or more of widely read, offering novel points of view, and/or somehow disruptive in a useful way. All 1000+ TNOC essays and roundtables are worthwhile reads, of course, but what follows will give you a taste of 2018’s key and diverse content. The Nature of Cities...

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Nature in the City—An Urban Adventure
Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

My husband went on his bicycle to get our Christmas standing rib roast (an extravagance of every few years) at the local artisanal butcher. The butcher is in the legendary Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles, corner of 3rdand Fairfax. It remains relatively authentic despite the immense Disneyesque mall just adjacent to it: “The Grove”, a fantastically successful enterprise by Rick...

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The Planet’s Gift to Humans: Soil Uncovered
Chantal van Ham, Brussels

Soil is a unique living ecosystem that provides a wide range of services to people. It is the foundation of life on the planet, home to biodiversity, it regulates the water cycle, stores and filters water, is the basis for producing food and fuel, it facilitates the natural recycling of waste, eliminates pollutants and stores CO2. One teaspoon of soil...

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Nature Rebounding in the Peri-Urban Landscapes that the Industrial Revolution Left Behind: North West England’s Carbon Landscape
Janice Astbury, Manchester
Joanne Tippett, Manchester

Less than an hour cycling out of central Manchester along the Bridgewater Canal takes you into a green and blue landscape. It only becomes clear that this is a post-industrial area when the infrastructure of a coalfield pithead rises up behind the trees. Further along the canal you encounter attractive lakes and could not guess by looking that these were...

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A Transformative New Era for Landscape Conservation in Cities
Will Allen, Chapel Hill

When I started my career in land and water conservation almost 25 years ago, cities and nature were usually seen as two separate things. Many strategic conservation planning efforts focused on finding the best places to protect nature from people. But as we have learned from The Nature of Cities and its contributors, cities should be thought of as ecosystems of...

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As a landscape architect, how do you interpret the word “biodiversity”? How does this meaning find expression in your design?
Gloria Aponte,  Medellín |  AnaLuisa Artesi,  Buenos Aires |  Andrew Grant,  Bath |  Yun Hye HWANG,  Singapore |  Maria E Ignatieva,  Perth |  Jason King,  Portland |  Victoria Marshall,  Singapore |  Daniel Phillips,  Detroit |  Mohan Rao,  Bangalore |  Sylvie Salles,  Paris |  Kevin Sloan,  Dallas-Fort Worth |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota | 
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Artists in Conversation with Water in Cities
Carmen Bouyer,  Paris |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Antonio José García Cano,  Murcia |  Katrine Claassens,  Montreal |  Claudia Luna Fuentes,  Saltillo |  Nazlı Gürlek,  Istanbul & Palo Alto |  Basia Irland,  Albuquerque |  Robin Lasser,  Oakland |  Mary Mattingly,  New York City |  Marguerite Perret,  Topeka |  Bonnie Sherk,  San Francisco |  Nadia Vadori-Gauthier Vadori-Gauthier,  Paris |  Aloïs Yang,  Prague | 
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An urban planner and an urban ecologist walk into a bar. They chat about how (and maybe whether) “ecology” could play a bigger role in planning…
Will Allen,  Chapel Hill |  Juan Azcarate,  Bogotá |  Amy Chomowicz,  Portland |  Katie Coyne,  Austin |  Georgina Cullman,  New York |  PK Das,  Mumbai |  David Goode,  Bath |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Elsa Limasset,  Orléans |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City |  Gil Penha-Lopes,  Lisbon |  Lauren Smalls-Mantey,  New York | 
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Smart cities are coming. Can they be as much about nature, health, and wellbeing as traffic flows, crime detection, and evermore efficient provision of utilities?
Helga Fassbinder,  Amsterdam-Vienna |  Gary Grant,  London |  Pratik Mishra,  London |  Seema Mundoli,  Bangalore |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Vishal Narain,  Gurugram |  Eric Sanderson,  New York |  Huda Shaka,  Dubai |  Shaleen Singhal,  New Delhi | 
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Port Cities and Nature: The Experience of Brest Métropole Océane and the Maritime Innovative Territories International Network
Oliver Hillel,  Montreal

Une version en français suit immédiatement dans cet espace. Just as human activities change the face of our planet, the habits of maritime and port city residents have a disproportionate influence on the fate of coastal...

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Wouldn’t it be Better if Ecologists and Planners Talked to Each Other More?
Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City
Sarah Hinners,  Salt Lake City
Robin Rothfeder,  Salt Lake City

If planners and ecologists found more ways to work together, would cities look different? Would they be better? The idea of planning and designing urban spaces from an ecological perspective goes back to the very origins of the disciplines of ecology, planning, and design. Frederic Law Olmsted precipitated a landmark movement from “picturesque” to “natural” urban spaces at the same time...

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The Value of Urban Trails
Tim Beatley,  Charlottesville

Mindy Fulllilove, Columbia University psychiatrist and author, likens pedestrian pathways and urban trails to arteries in the circulatory system of a city: essential conditions for creating a healthy city. There is much to be said for neighborhoods that are physically connected, and where it is possible to move across a city easily (and joyfully). A coherent sense of one’s entire...

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The Nature of Public Art: Connecting People to People and People to Nature
Georgina Avlonitis,  Cape Town

Mankind may have left the savannah some million years ago, but the savannah never quite left us. It makes sense that since we co-evolved with nature, our need for it is hardwired into our brains and our genes. For millennia, the nature we’ve had access to has influenced everything from our food, to the prints and colours we use on...

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