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

Full Function May Remain Out of Reach, But Urban Stream Restoration Can Empower Communities
Marit Larson,  New York City

A review of Restoring Neighborhood Streams: Planning, Design, and Construction. By Ann L. Riley. 2016.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN: 9781610917391. 288 pages. Buy the book. The basic challenge of restoring urban streams that support diverse environmental, social, and...

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PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

What People Really Want From Their Regional Parks System
Lynn Wilson,  Vancouver

Since 1966, the Capital Regional District (CRD) in British Columbia, Canada (Map 1 below) has developed an outstanding park and trail system, which today is perhaps one of the finest regional park systems in North America [Note 1].  Primarily a natural areas system encompassing three biogeoclimatic zones (Map 2), CRD Regional Parks comprises 33 parks covering more than 33,000 acres...

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PLACE &
DESIGN

Who Creates the Art of Urban Practice?
Victoria Marshall,  Singapore

This blog post takes the form of a seminar report. It is a reflection of the work of the City in Environment class of spring 2013 at The New School, New York. It is also a reflection on urban practice. In this class student explored and interrogated many terms that surround the urban environmental debate. In particular the five big...

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ART &
AWARENESS

Lessons from a One-eyed Eagle
Bob Sallinger,  Portland

By all rights a one-eyed bald eagle is a doomed bird. Imagine trying to catch a salmon or a brush rabbit with no depth perception. Oh eagles will scavenge and occasionally steal food from one another, but roadkill and kleptoparasitism will only get you so far in life…or so the conventional wisdom goes. The one-eyed eagle that finds its way...

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