Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.



Trees are Breath
Andreas Weber,  Berlin

In the last days, with the air finally above the freezing point, and the grey silhouettes of the barren twigs dripping with fine silvery moisture against the faint morning light, I have been drawn into the forest. Every morning, I unlocked the chain securing my bike to a low metal arc between the parking cars, brushed away the water from...

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A Sense of Wonder: The Missing Ingredient to a Long-Term Value for Nature?
Bronwyn Cumbo,  Sydney
Marthe Derkzen,  Amsterdam

“For the child….it is not half as important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.” —Rachel Carson, 1965, p.58. The natural world is essential to human survival providing food, filtering water, and...

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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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A Bengaluru that Endures in Essence, Yet Constantly Transforms
Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

A review of Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future, by Harini Nagendra. 2016. 214 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0199465927 / ISBN-10: 0199465924. Oxford University Press. £ 25.99 (Hardback). Buy the book. In her book Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future (OUP, 2016) Harini Nagendra suggests we draw on the “cultural imagination and capacity...

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Westward Wandering and Wondering
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

Thinking of home turf as we start a new phase of the Bangkok-Barcelona journey My mind always wanders forward. Even as my footsteps ground me in the present, I can’t help but wonder what lies ahead. We’re still technically in Asia, on the side of the line that divides Turkey between two continents. After a long winter break to rest...

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Cities of Difference, Part II: Shifting Identities, Diverse Communities and Urban Nature
Julian Agyeman, Medford
Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

This article was adapted from an article by Julian Agyeman [i]. Cities of difference are places where we are “in the presence of otherness”, as Sennett puts it—namely, our increasingly different, diverse, and culturally heterogeneous urban areas.[ii] Difference is, in my opinion, a more expansive and useful concept than diversity, which has become virtually synonymous, in the United States at least,...

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What’s Under the Car Hood? Looks Like Good News for Stormwater Pollution
Emily Wier, New York

The literature has established that electric vehicles are better for the environment—they produce less pollution than a conventional gas vehicle, regardless of the electricity mix used to fuel the vehicle.[1] They are more efficient, and in part thanks to many state policies[2]—the costs of ownership are decreasing and the vehicles are becoming more ubiquitous. School districts are investing in electric school...

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The Sheffield Street Tree Massacre: Notes from a Public-Private Partnership Gone Wrong
Christine Thuring, Sheffield

Often described as Europe’s greenest city, Sheffield is reputed to have more trees per capita than any other, with over 100,000 trees spread across parks and open spaces, 10.4 percent woodland by area, and approximately 36,000 street trees. However, a public-private partnership (P3) is dramatically altering Sheffield’s urban forest. The various particulars of the situation have brought the northern English city into the national headlines,...

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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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Wishing You All a ‘Prosperous’ New Year—But What Does Prosperous Mean?
Haripriya Gundimeda,  Mumbai

The year 2014 seemed a long year when it came a year ago but passed by very quickly giving way to another long New Year and fresh hope that the world would be prosperous. What does it...

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Participation and Urban Open Space. TNOC Podcast Episode 001
David Maddox,  New York City

Also available at iTunes. Story notes: The Nature of Cities was invited to create a session at the 2014 Smart Cities Expo in Barcelona: “Participation and the Role of Green and Open Space in Cities”. This Episode is a back stage conversation among the panelists after the presentations. The session, led by The Nature of Cities Founder and Editor-in-Chief David Maddox, was...

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Lessons Learned: What Does it Take to Create a More Natural Stormwater Pond?
Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville

This is a tale of an experience I had in Alachua County, Florida. The challenge? How can we encourage the construction of more natural stormwater ponds, which offer more wildlife habitat and more efficient ways to remove pollutants? We have all seen conventional stormwater ponds—deeply dug ponds, with mowed turfgrass and some exotic plants all around the perimeter. Often a...

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Digging Ourselves Deeper
Andrew Rudd,  New York City

0 There’s an old saying about defecating and eating and not doing both in the same place. It is usually applied to interpersonal relations but serves just as well for industrial ones. And it is particularly relevant to mining. Certainly we don’t want to mine directly upstream of water intake sites, blast into rock near dense human settlements or leave scarred...

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