Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Cities are the Perfect Laboratories for a Global Green New Deal
Sven Eberlein,  San Francisco

It was only a year ago when the idea of a Green New Deal entered the American public sphere with a big splash. When a group of young activists, joined by an idealistic new crop of congresswomen, stormed the incoming house speaker’s office to demand nothing less than the wholesale transformation of unsustainable industrial systems into regenerative and equitable social...

ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Is Experimenting Natural in Cities? The Nature of Experiments and the Experiments with Nature
Niki Frantzeskaki,  Melbourne

Experimentation is a way to bring new solutions or approaches to cities. As a researcher on sustainability and sustainability transitions, I believe that, if solutions are to be adopted and scaled to improve human and ecological conditions in our world, they require testing in the field, beyond closed-door labs but in real-life laboratories. This way we can better hybridise, stretch,...

GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

National Park City: What if your city were a National Park City, analogous to what London created? What it would be like? What would it take to accomplish?
Alison Barnes,  London |  Méliné Baronian,  Versailles |  Maud Bernard-Verdier,  Berlin |  Ioana Biris,  Amsterdam |  Timothy Blatch,  Cape Town |  Geoff Canham,  Tauranga |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Gillian Dick,  Glasgow |  Luis Antonio Roman Diez,  Merida |  Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá |  Sue Hilder,  Glasgow |  Mike Houck,  Portland |  Sophie Lokatis,  Berlin |  Aletta Bonn,  Berlin |  Scott Martin,  Louisville |  Sebastian Miguel,  Buenos Aires |  Gareth Moore-Jones,  Ohope Beach |  Rob Pirani,  New York |  Daniel Raven-Ellison,  London |  Tom Rozendal,  Breda |  Snorri Sigurdsson,  Reykjavík |  Lynn Wilson,  Vancouver | 

REVIEWS
REACTIONS

City as Nature Festival, Osaka, Japan
Patrick M. Lydon, Osaka

Co-sponsored by The Nature of Cities and FRIEC, the inaugural City as Nature Festival took place from 11-22 October 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Featuring interactive, place-based art, workshops, concerts, walks, talks, and storytelling events, the festival aimed at cultivating our awareness of urban environmental landscapes. The works and activities within the City as Nature Festival represent not only multiple disciplines...

RECENT ESSAYS...

Neither Above Nor Below
Claire Stanford, Los Angeles

Jakarta Is Sinking So Fast, It Could End Up Underwater —New York Times headline, 12/21/17  A flash of silver-green in the water. That is all Hasan sees, but it is enough. He runs after, alongside, his small legs propelling him across the planks and platforms that crisscross the city. The wood once scratched underfoot, but it has gone smooth with...

Biophilia Revived: How Do We Strengthen the Connection to the Natural Environment in a City Expanding in the Desert
Abdallah Tawfic, Cairo

I live in a country that lives the dream of conquering the desert and building new cities. Cairo is the second largest city in Africa with a booming population crossing 23 million over an area representing less than 5 percent of the whole country’s land. I always wondered what is so special about my city that, according to various metrics,...

Inspiring District Residents, Specialists, and Government Officials to Work Together to Create a Park That Would Sustain Biodiversity and Meet People’s Desires
Nadezhda Kiyatkina, Moscow

Этот текст также можно прочитать на русском языке. For the last two years our interdisciplinary team has been working on the Cherished Meadow (Zapovedniy lug, in Russian) project. This is an unprecedented happening, as it is the first project of its kind in decades that involves building a city park in Moscow for the sole purpose of sustaining the ecosystem...

Free to Live Beautiful Lives
Rodolphe Deborre, Lille

Good evening. I’m quite moved by the fantastic show we just had. So, I’m going to be experimental as well, because it’s going to be the first time in my life that I think in French, I try to speak in English, and it’s going to be translated back in French. So, good luck guys and see what happens. I’ll...

RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

Why are we doing walking tours in African cities? To help us see and engage with small scale urbanism and urban tinkering.
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Celestine Collins,  Kisumu |  Julie Goodness,  Stockholm |  Jessica Kavonic,  Cape Town |  Odhiambo Ken K'oyooh,  Kisumu |  Viveca Mellegård,  Stockholm |  Benard Ojwang,  Kisumu |  Aiuba Oliveira,  Nacala |  Semakula Samson,  Entebbe |  Ellika Hermansson Torok,  Stockholm |  Thandeka Tshabalala,  Cape Town | 
How is the concept of “stewardship” and “care for local environments” expressed around the world?
Nathalie Blanc,  Paris |  Lindsay Campbell,  New York |  Zorina Colasero,  Puerto Princesa City |  Kirk Deitschman,  Waimānalo |  Johan Enqvist,  Cape Town |  Emilio Fantin,  Milan |  Artur Jerzy Filip,  Warsaw |  Carlo Gomez,  Puerto Princesa City |  Cecilia Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro |  Michelle Johnson,  New York City |  Kevin Lunzalu,  Nairobi |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Romina Magtanong,  Puerto Princesa City |  Heather McMillen,  Honolulu |  Ranjini Murali,  Bangalore |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Ferus Niyomwungeri,  Kigali |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Beatriz Ruizpalacios,   |  Huda Shaka,  Dubai |  Erika Svendsen,  New York |  Abdallah Tawfic,  Cairo |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota |  Xin Yu,  Shenzhen | 
The spirit of Dada welcomes you to TNOC Summit: What is the nature of the city of our dreams?
Carmen Bouyer,  Paris |  Lindsay Campbell,  New York |  Marcus Collier,  Dublin |  Katie Coyne,  Austin |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Gillian Dick,  Glasgow |  Thomas Elmqvist,  Stockholm |  Cecilia Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro |  Jessica Kavonic,  Cape Town |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Timon McPhearson,  New York |  Andrew Rudd,  New York City |  Chantal van Ham,  Brussels | 
What prevents us from creating cities that are better for people and nature? It doesn’t seem like a lack of knowledge—don’t we have enough research knowledge to act on better policy? So, what is the impediment?
Adrian Benepe,  New York |  Paul Downton,  Melbourne |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Sumetee Gajjar,  Bangalore |  Russell Galt,  Edinburgh |  Rob McDonald,  Washington, DC |  Huda Shaka,  Dubai |  Vivek Shandas,  Portland |  Philip Silva,  New York |  Naomi Tsur,  Jerusalem | 

MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

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,...

PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

Urban Metabolism: A Real World Model for Visualizing and Co-Creating Healthy Cities
Sven Eberlein,  San Francisco

Like the human body, cities are living, ever-evolving organisms. Just as diet, exercise, sleep, or laughter can be seen as indicators of our personal physical and emotional well being, the ways in which goods, water, commuters, or food move through the urban ecosystem determines a city’s health and sustainability within larger regional and global natural systems. The more knowledge we...

PLACE &
DESIGN

Forget the Damned Motor Car
Eric Sanderson,  New York

Forget the damned motor car and build cities for lovers and friends. —Lewis Mumford, My Works and Days (1979) Humanity managed for the better part of 400,000 years without cars and did just fine. Julius Caesar, Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, Adam Smith, and Abraham Lincoln lived in cities and never drove an automobile. They didn’t need one, or thought to need...

ART &
AWARENESS

Uses and Abuses of Preservation
Mathieu Hélie,  Montréal

The current system of zoning and planning is wrongly fixated on maintaining state instead of preserving good patterns, and changing this fixation will be the key to making growth beneficial to all civic stakeholders. The most contentious issue in North American urbanism today is preservation. More than transportation, more than usage-zoning, more than health and safety, more than growth, which...