Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

A Walk Along the Bièvre River
Carmen Bouyer,  Paris

Since 1912 in Paris, the river Bièvre, once the city’s second-largest river, has disappeared from our landscape. It used to cross the whole left bank from south to north, flowing through the 13th and 5th arrondissements before reaching the Seine between “Le Jardin des Plantes”, our historical botanical garden, and the Austerlitz train station. Today, this 36 km long river...

ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Nature in Cities in a Post-Covid-19 World: Don’t Blame Urban Density in a Pandemic
Will Allen,  Chapel Hill

As a city and regional planner by training, I have been alarmed at the tendency to blame urban density (defined as people per square mile) as a primary culprit for New York City’s relatively severe initial COVID-19 outbreak. An epidemiologist from Stanford, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of California, and a professor of computational medicine from UCLA...

GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

How is COVID-19 affecting caring for and researching urban ecology?
Christina Breed,  Pretoria |  Mark Champion,  Wigan |  Joy Clancy,  Twente |  Ian Douglas,  Manchester |  Pete Frost,  Cardiff |  Lincoln Garland,  Bath |  David Haley,  Ulverston |  Jane Houghton,  York |  Yun Hye HWANG,  Singapore |  Christian Isendahl,  Gothenburg |  Philip James,  Salford |  Sarah Lindley,  Manchester |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Nancy McIntyre,  Lubbock |  Camilo Ordóñez,  Melbourne |  Stephan Pauleit,  Munich |  Joe Ravetz,  Manchester |  Graham Rook,  London |  Richard Salisbury,  Manchester |  Alan Scott,  London |  Richard Scott,  Liverpool |  Monica Smith,  Los Angeles |  Marcelo Lopes de Souza,  Rio de Janeiro |  Miriam Stark,  Honolulu |  Katalin Szlavecz,  Baltimore |  Joanne Tippett,  Manchester |  Piotr Tryjanowski,  Poznan |  Tim Webb,  London |  Mike Wells,  Bath |  Phil Wheater,  Manchester | 

REVIEWS
REACTIONS

My Past, Present, and Future: A Review of Ecological Mediations
Malerie Lovejoy, Oxford

The sciences meet the arts in the poetic renderings of Dr. Karan Aggarwala’s 2010 collection, Ecological Mediations(Xlibris). An optometrist by training, Dr. Aggarwala’s poetic view of the world reflects years of science met with a holistic ecological view of the mechanisms of our world. His inspiration draws clearly from personal experiences and stories of his family. He writes his heart...

RECENT ESSAYS...

Family Tree
Andreas Weber, Berlin

Linden In early summer, after the crest of the first wave of the pandemics had broken and kids resumed to go to school and street cafés had opened again, I spent days alone writing on the balcony of a flat in a somewhat sketchy Berlin neighbourhood. Down in the street, two storeys below, groups of young guys drove their BMWs...

To Live in Companionship with Trees, Plants, Rivers, and Mountains
Martine Murray, Melbourne

We are gardening. Feeding our trees. We decide to cut the deadwood off the Fejoa tree. Afterwards it’s considerably squat and oddly shaped, but we agree it looks better. Or it feels better. Or it seems to us that it, the tree, feels better. It has just been liberated of its dead ends. Does it feel lighter and renewed like...

Gifting a White Elephant, In the Form of Green Infrastructure
Amanda Phillips de Lucas, Baltimore

White Elephant: 2. figurative. A burdensome or costly objective, enterprise, or possession, esp. one that appears magnificent; a financial liability. With reference to the story that the kings of Siam (now Thailand) would make a present of a white elephant to courtiers who had displeased them, in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance.[i] I. Often when...

The Value of Green Urban Assets and the True Costs of Development
Martin Westerman, Seattle

The building boom that’s driving up real estate prices and jamming Seattle with housing and high-rises is also squeezing out and devaluing the city’s green and open spaces. That “progress” presents paradoxes: “Hard assets” provide value temporarily, as they are amortized over their “useful lives”; green, or “soft,” assets are never amortized, and provide value forever. And “progress” has now...

RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

What is the status and outlook for forested natural areas in your city? What actions are needed to help them thrive?
Novem Auyeung,  New York |  Weston Brinkley,  Seattle |  Sarah Charlop-Powers,  New York |  Lisa Ciecko,  Seattle |  James Duncan,  Miami |  Matthew Freer,  Chicago |  Keith Mars,  Austin |  Joseph McCarthy,  Chicago |  Karen Miller,  Chicago |  Sophie Plitt,  New York |  Clara Pregitzer,  New York |  Lydia Scott,  Chicago |  Michael Yadrick,  Seattle | 
Covid has upended all the normal routines in our lives and work. How do you imagine you might be changed by it, both professionally, but also personally as you negotiate a new post-virus “normal”?
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski,  Barcelona |  Janice Astbury,  Buenos Aires |  Lindsay Campbell,  New York |  Sarah Charlop-Powers,  New York |  Katrine Claassens,  Montreal |  M'Lisa Colbert,  Montreal |  Carmen Bouyer,  Paris |  Marcus Collier,  Dublin |  Paul Currie,  Cape Town |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Gillian Dick,  Glasgow |  Paul Downton,  Melbourne |  Emilio Fantin,  Milan |  Todd Forest,  New York |  Andrew Grant,  Bath |  Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá |  Bram Gunther,  New York |  Dagmar Haase,  Berlin |  Annegret Haase,  Leipzig |  Fadi Hamdan,  Beirut |  Cecilia Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro |  Alex Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro |  Mathew Jensen,  New York |  Panagiota Kotsila,  Barcelona |  Gilles Lecuir,  Paris |  Nina-Marie Lister,  Toronto |  Kevin Lunzalu,  Nairobi |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Yvonne Lynch,  Riyadh |  David Maddox,  New York  |  Antonia Machado,  Portland |  Francois Mancebo,  Paris |  Rob McDonald,  Washington, DC |  Brian McGrath,  New York City |  Siobhán McQuaid,  Dublin |  Ragene Palma,  London |  Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City |  Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman,  College Park |  Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie |  Mary Rowe,  Toronto |  Andrew Rudd,  New York City |  Eric Sanderson,  New York |  Olivier Scheffer,  Bordeaux |  Huda Shaka,  Dubai |  Laura Shillington,  Montreal |  Elisa Silva,  Caracas |  David Simon,  London |  Mary Hall Surface,  Washington |  Erika Svendsen,  New York |  Abdallah Tawfic,  Cairo |  Christine Thuring,  Vancouver |  Naomi Tsur,  Jerusalem |  Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro,  Paris |  Andreas Weber,  Berlin |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota |  Darlene Wolnik,  New Orleans |  Xin Yu,  Shenzhen |  Carly Ziter,  Montreal | 
TNOC Summit Dialogue: How can professors help mobilize knowledge?
Thomas Elmqvist,  Stockholm |  Nina-Marie Lister,  Toronto |  David Maddox,  New York  |  Francois Mancebo,  Paris | 
TNOC Summit Dialogue: How can we provide living space for people?
Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Elisa Silva,  Caracas |  David Simon,  London |  Xin Yu,  Shenzhen | 

MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

Social-Ecological Urbanism and the Life of Baltic Cities
Stephan Barthel,  Stockholm

Jane Jacobs critiqued modernist city planning in the now classic book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961). This book is now inspiring an urban renaissance. Jacobs proposed that a city must be understood...

PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

Lakes as Urban Classrooms | Reflections on the case of Rachenahalli Lake, Bangalore (2015-2018)
Sumetee Gajjar,  Bangalore

Civic engagement by the Jaimitra trust, and various civic organisations involved in conserving Rachenahalli Lake, was to create a space expected to help alleviate the stresses of living in an urban jungle, and break away from the infamous legacy tied to the images of highly polluted, frothing and aflame lakes of Bangalore.This article argues that using lakes as classrooms can...

PLACE &
DESIGN

Lessons from Britain’s Urban Nature Movement
Mike Houck,  Portland

A review of Nature in Towns and Cities, by David Goode. 2014. William Collins, New Naturalist Library. ISBN: 9780007242405. ISBN 10: 0007242409. 417 pages. The newest title in The New Naturalist Library, Nature in Towns and Cities by Dr. David Goode, is true to the series’ dual goals of “recapturing the enquiring spirit of the old naturalists” and “maintaining a...

ART &
AWARENESS

Intertwining People, Nature, and Place with Quilts and Thread
Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka

A review of Earth Stories, an exhibition on view at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles now through February 28, 2016. The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is tucked into a rather plain looking beige building at the southern end of San Jose’s “SoFA” arts district. You wouldn’t think much of it at first glance, but...