Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.



In the Built Environment of Cities, Urban Ecology and Technology Must Walk Together
Camilo Ordóñez,  Toronto
James Steenberg,  Toronto
Amber Grant,  Toronto

A recent discussion at The Nature of Cities talked about the most important things to know for an urban ecologist. For many, this was that humans are part of nature. But the many influences of humans on urban nature is so complex, that some aspects of this relationship are better understood as independent dimensions. A useful way to look at engineering...

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Photo Essay: Finding Refuge in City Parks
Jennifer Baljko,  Barcelona

We walked many treeless roads from Bangkok, Thailand to Samsun, Turkey. On our weekly rest days, when we rambled into cities and found a hotel room where we could sleep in a bed and hang our laundry, we sought out those quiet giants. This walk we’re on is shifting our preferences. Before 2016, we would leave our backpacks in the...

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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 |  4 Comment(s)
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Kuwait Transformed: Urban and Social Change from Pre- to Post-Oil Kuwait
Huda Shaka, Dubai

A review of Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life, 1st Edition. by Farah Al-Nakib. 2016. 296 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0804798525 / ISBN-10: 0804798524. Stanford University Press. Buy the book For anyone interested in understanding urban development in the Arabian Gulf (“Gulf Urbanism”), Farah Al-Nakib’s Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life (2016) is a must-read. Benefitting from both...

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Conquering the Sea: Expanding Turkey’s Black Sea coast with stones, apartments, and promenades
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

There’s another one. And another one. And another one. And, yes, there’s one more over there…and over there. I’m noticing the many new apartment buildings dotting—defining—Turkey’s Black Sea coastline. From Hopa to Samsun, and nearly all of the cities and towns in between the 500-kilometer stretch we have done so far in this country, it’s hard not to notice these...

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Brian McGrath, New York City

#watchingthericegrow is a hashtag I created on Instagram on 4 August 2016, tagging a photo I took from a bicycle survey along a winding rural road on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The initial framing marked a memorable composition at the center of a territorial survey that would spiral out from this center. The posting announced my commitment to...

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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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Nature Atlas: Exploring Multi-scalar Methods for Mapping Urban Environments
Ruchika Lodha, New York
Timon McPhearson, New York

Edward O. Wilson popularized the concept Biophilia more than 30 years ago, in 1984, describing it as “the urge to affiliate with other life forms”. In short, Biophilia is a hypothesis that suggests the innate affinity of humans towards nature. We agree that humans possess the tendency to seek connections with nature—whether as a place for escape from the busy...

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What is one thing every ecologist should know about urban ecology?
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Erik Andersson,  Stockholm |  Marc Barra,  Paris |  Nathalie Blanc,  Paris |  Marcus Collier,  Dublin |  Paul Downton,  Melbourne |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Niki Frantzeskaki,  Rotterdam |  Dagmar Haase,  Berlin |  Steven Handel,  New Brunswick |  Nadja Kabisch,  Berlin |  Timon McPhearson,  New York |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie |  Philip Silva,  New York |  Mike Wells,  Bath |  Weiqi Zhou,  Beijing | 
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Let go of some urban domestication: How would you convince the mayor to re-wild the city?
Juan Azcarate,  Bogota |  Keith Bowers,  Charleston |  Katrine Claassens,  Montreal |  Don Dearborn,  Lewiston |  Ian Douglas,  Manchester |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Lincoln Garland,  Bath |  Amy Hahs,  Ballarat, Australia |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Keitaro Ito,  Fukutsu City |  Louise Lezy-Bruno,  Paris |  Jala Makhzoumi,  Beirut |  Juliana Montoya,  Bogota |  Daniel Phillips,  Bangalore |  Mohan Rao,  Bangalore |  Kevin Sloan,  Dallas-Fort Worth |  Kati Vierikko,  Helsinki | 
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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 | 
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Key Factors in Sustaining the Local Ecological Agenda
Andre Mader,  Montreal

One hundred ninety two national governments and the EU have signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), pledging to work towards its three objectives (see here).  In reality, much of the onus falls on local governments...

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Citizen Science in the City: Lessons from Melbourne’s BioBlitz
Chris Ives,  Nottingham
Yvonne Lynch,  Melbourne
Caragh Threlfall,  Melbourne
Mark Norman,  Melbourne

Every day, citizen scientists contribute their time and energy to support thousands of research projects around the world (Bonney et al., 2014). They collect, categorize, and analyze data, generously volunteering their time and their personal resources in return for little other than recreational enjoyment or the personal satisfaction of helping others. However, as we learnt from Melbourne’s recent BioBlitz (a...

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A Barley Field Grows on Soviet Concrete
Andrea Tamm and Ann Press,  Tallinn

In the summer of 2016, the largest Soviet-era residential area of Estonia was living a new life. The district Lasnamäe, including Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn, was built in the late 70s, but it has fallen into stagnation. Little has changed since its inception, and those big plans are still unfinished. A vast traffic channel to the city center is waiting...

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Fire Escape Red-tails
Bob Sallinger,  Portland

I blogged previously about the importance of integrating urban wildlife into our urban stories, poems, myths and culture in a piece entitled Souvlaki Coyote. Just as we integrate our built and natural environments, we must also repopulate our imaginations with images of wildlife that adhere to an urbanized context. This month I would like to dig down a little deeper on...

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