Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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Preserving Urban Nature, No Silver Bullets
Mike Houck,  Portland

There is seldom a “silver bullet”, single pathway to success when it comes to protecting urban greenspaces. Multiple strategies, often modified, sometimes abandoned, are typically the only way grassroots-based urban conservation efforts succeed in the face of bureaucratic resistance. Efforts to preserve and restore a 160-acre wetland in the Willamette River floodplain near downtown Portland, Oregon is a classic case...

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CROSSTALK

Urbanism as a Creator of Value—but is it Sustainable?
Fadi Hamdan,  Beirut

There is unanimous agreement that the 21st Century is the century of urbanism. In 2016, an estimated 54.5 percent of the world’s population lived in urban settlements. By 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 percent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.[i]  The Human Development...

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REVIEWS
PODCAST

A Hymn for Architecture that is Good for People and Neighborhoods, not Just Buildings
Samarth Das, Mumbai

A review of Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone by John Cary. 2017. 275 pages. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-793-3 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-793-6. Island Press, Washington. Buy the book. We live in a consumer’s world. Fed by products every second of our lives, urged to ponder, deliberate, and eventually consume that which is being sold to us. The world of consumerism has...

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Blandscaping that Erases Local Ecological Diversity
Stuart Connop, London
Caroline Nash, London

Ecological gentrification (Dooling, 2009) is a negative social process in which ecological improvements to neighbourhoods lead to gentrification and displacement of the neighbourhood’s original inhabitants. There is an analogous process of ecological gentrification at the level of ecological communities: many vulnerable ecological communities that persist (and in some cases, thrive) in urban areas are being displaced or extirpated by greening...

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Reflecting on Two Years Walking in Asia
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

My eyes fall on the big tree in the far side of the courtyard. It casts a spell on me. Its leafless branches twist toward the sky, claiming a beauty few notice. I notice, and stop mid-step to admire this natural wonder. I take a picture of it so I won’t forget this moment. Behind me groups of tourists and...

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City Living from Baku to Batumi
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

Walking gives us a slow and intimate way to notice the subtle similarities and differences between cities. We consciously and sub-consciously collect details and compare cities as we slowly make our way from Point A to Point B by foot. We have even created a mental game to pass the time during the many hours we are outside. One version...

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Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2017
David Maddox, New York City

Today’s post celebrates highlights from TNOC writing in 2017. These contributions, originating around the world, were widely read, offer novel points of view, are somehow disruptive in a useful way, or combine these characteristics. Certainly, all 1000+ TNOC essays and roundtables are great and worthwhile reads, but what follows will give you a taste of this year’s key and diverse content. 2017 has been an...

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RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

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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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 | 
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MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

Farmers, Chefs, and Lawyers: Building an Ecology of One
Patrick M. Lydon,  San Jose & Osaka

We live in an ecology of separation. Our human-built ecology is today so far separated from the earth’s ecology that it is impossible for sustainability—let alone environmental and social well-being—to be achieved within it. This is...

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PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

We Need to Think Trashy Thoughts
Valerie Gwinner,  Nairobi

Out of sight, out of mind. That is how most of us want to think about the trash we generate. But as our cities become increasingly overwhelmed with the burden of refuse collection and disposal, we must refocus the way we view our discards and devote greater attention to the value and importance of waste management. Only by seeing waste...

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PLACE &
DESIGN

Cities of Nature
Eric Sanderson,  New York

Many entries in this collective blog about the nature of cities will focus your attention on the nature that remains in cities, defined in terms of those patches of semi-natural habitat, the green bits, which are found in all cities, and which can be encouraged or discouraged by human action.  Consider for example Celicia Herzog’s recent post delighting in the...

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ART &
AWARENESS

Biocultural Diversity and the Diverse City: A Model for Linking Nature and Culture
William Dunbar,  Tokyo

The concept of biocultural diversity— the coming together of biological and cultural diversity—is receiving more attention recently along with an awareness that elements of cultures all around the world are deeply rooted in the nature, or biological diversity, around them, and that greater cultural diversity comes with greater biological diversity. Cultural innovation in urban areas is often attributed mainly to...

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