Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.



Singing in the Noise
Luis Sandoval,  San José, Costa Rica

Urbanization not only changes the landscape structure due to land cover change, fragmentation of natural habitats, and creation of artificial habitats, it also changes the physical patterns of the environment: temperature, wind currents, rain patterns, light levels, or noise levels. For example, urbanization increases average temperature by between 3°C and 5°C, in comparison to nearby rural or natural areas, because...

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Where Can I Dream? Eight Stories of Life in Bogotá
Diana Wiesner,  Bogota

(Una versión en español, aqui.) In pondering the question: “Who should have access to the countless benefits and services that urban ecosystems provide?” We have put together a collection of eight first-person accounts that portray city dwellers’ dreams. This series of Sketches of life explores both individual and collective human experiences as participants narrate their lives and reveal their innermost...

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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 |  Nadine Kalisch,  Nockberge |  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 |  1 Comment(s)
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New York’s Central Park as Muse, as Imagination, as Home
Mary Mattingly, New York City

A review of: Painting Central Park, by Roger Pasquier. 2015. ISBN: 0-86565-314-3. Vendome Press, New York. 197 pages. Buy the Book. For the past two years, I’ve invited people to pick free food on Swale, an edible public park built on a barge in New York City. Creating something unexpected is a technique that I’ve utilized on Swale to frame an engaging...

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Thinking About the Concept of “Cultural Nature” while Walking the Gardens of Méréville
Louise Lezy-Bruno, Paris

The first time I visited the Méréville Estate and its Anglo-Chinese garden, created south of Paris at the end of the 18th century, I was struck by the interlinking of nature and culture in this amazing place. This National Heritage Site is the work of the Marquis de Laborde, who acquired the estate in 1784 and involved the greatest artists...

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The Sustainability Challenge of Feeding Cities
Graciela Arosemena, Panama City

The food system is not as evident as other aspects of urban development. However, it involves many aspects of cities, such as mobility and transportation, commerce, land use, waste management, and, of course, food security. The food system refers to processes that begin with agricultural production and continues with the processing, packaging and transport that is the result of food...

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Ecologies of Elsewhere: Giving Urban Weeds a “Third Glance”
Daniel Phillips, Bangalore

Volunteers. Exotics. Aliens. Weeds. Whatever happens to be your preferred nomenclature when describing the existence and behavior of spontaneous vegetation, it’s clear that many biases abound. We pluck, poison and mulch our landscapes to keep these decidedly untidy forces at bay. Yet have we also effectively mulched our mindsets?  Have we blunted our ability to see these ubiquitous features of our...

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Re-culturing an Urban Collective Ethos of Sustainability
Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

In August 2017, I spent three days at the very stimulating Resilience 2017 conference, listening to conversations between nearly a thousand attendees—students, scholars, practitioners, musicians and artists—interested in understanding how we can craft a more resilient and sustainable earth system, one that keeps its people and its ecology in good health. The conversations at the conference were deeply thought provoking,...

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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 | 
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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 | 
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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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What are we trying to accomplish with biophilic cities? What are ambitious goals and targets, and measures of success?
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Tim Beatley,  Charlottesville |  Lena Chan,  Singapore |  Paul Downton,  Melbourne |  Ian Douglas,  Manchester |  Dusty Gedge,  London |  David Goode,  Bath |  Bram Gunther,  New York |  Chris Ives,  Nottingham |  Tania Katzschner,  Cape Town |  Steve Maslin,  Bristol |  Peter Newman,  Perth |  Phil Roös,  Geelong |  Eric Sanderson,  New York |  Jana Söderlund,  Perth |  Fleur Timmer,  Bristol |  Chantal van Ham,  Brussels |  Mike Wells,  Bath |  Ken Yeang,  Kuala Lumpur | 
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How Perspectives of Field Arborists and Tree Climbers are Useful for Understanding and Managing Urban Forests
Adrina Bardekjian,  Vancouver

When there is a storm, trees can cause damage to homes, cars, and people—ultimately, the tree itself is a casualty of a storm. At these moments, generally, the public perceives arborists as the heroes of storms—arborists...

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Making Connections and Feeding Relationships: Reflections from a Biocultural Axiom of Aloha
Heather McMillen,  Honolulu & New York City

What if urban resource management and conservation reflected not just the politics and science of the day, but were rooted in creation stories, place-name stories, and personal stories about the relationships people have with place? This kind of thinking is at the heart of traditional ways of stewarding the environment in many remote and rural place-based communities around the globe,...

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Rediscovering Eco-cities—Is this Possible in the Era of Globalization?
Haripriya Gundimeda,  Mumbai

Another revolution  the “ecological revolution” is required to go back and live in co-existence with nature. Recently I have been to Auroville, an experimental universal township in Tamilnadu and Puduchhery of southern India. This was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa known as “The Mother”. Auroville came to be known as a global village, as the prime motive behind this...

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Intensiveness and Extensiveness in Our Urban Landscape
Andrew Rudd,  New York City

Much of urban history has emphasized density and centrality in city form. Though some environmentalists question the sustainability of such intensive land use, recent studies have shown that urban density correlates positively with resource efficiency and reduced emissions. At the same time, innovations in transport technology have historically allowed cities to extend their spatial edges. This tendency towards urban sprawl...

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