Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

What Nature Is Telling Us…
Chantal van Ham,  Brussels

Winter may seem a quiet season when it comes to bird sounds, but when we listen carefully we may hear the starling, one of the most cheerful whistlers in the world. Mozart had a starling for some time and enjoyed the delightful singing of his bird friend, who was able to sing parts of his piano concertos (L. Haupt, 2017)....

ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Lost and Found: A Companion Essay to the Art Works of Katrine Claassens
Nina-Marie Lister,  Toronto

Before / Winter We are celebrating our 3-year friendship. Artist-climate activist and ecologist-designer. We met in Portland (a tip of two floral hats, and a gracious thank you to David and The Nature of Cities), a long way from Toronto and longer still from Cape Town. Our conversations have become a multi-media notebook of sketches, photographs, internet memes, poems, voice...

GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

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 | 

REVIEWS
REACTIONS

Nature in Korea’s Capital: The Magic Stops at the Car Bridge
Patrick M. Lydon, Osaka

A review of Min Joung-Ki, an exhibition of large-scale urban nature paintings at Kukje Gallery in Seoul, South Korea. Founded in 1982, Kukje Gallery is one of Korea’s most prolific exhibitors of international contemporary artists. Indeed, the institution is more of a small arts complex than a gallery, consisting of three modern buildings positioned gingerly within the fabric of an...

RECENT ESSAYS...

If You’re Feeling Stressed in These Times of COVID-19, a Picture of Nature Can Be Restorative!
Meredith Dobbie, Victoria

More than half the world’s population now lives in cities, where nature, at the best of times, can seem hard to find and enjoy. The restorative value of nature has long been acknowledged but how can we access it in these strange times of social distancing and isolation as COVID-19 sweeps the globe? We can look out our window at...

Native Versus Non-native: Which Plants are Best for Biodiversity?
Lincoln Garland, Bath

When evaluating or seeking to enhance the biodiversity interest of an urban greenspace, a key attribute to consider is its floral composition. Floral composition can be native, non-native or a variable mix of the two. A species is defined as native to a given region or ecosystem if its presence is the result of only “natural” processes; that is to...

The 6th Mass Extinction and Cities: A View from Vancouver
Christine Thuring, Vancouver

Behind the scenes of pandemic, and long before, we have been quietly witnessing the planetary-scale annihilation of life-supporting systems, the Earth’s “6th mass extinction”. Unlike the previous five, this is the first time a mass extinction is caused by a single species, in this case Homo sapiens. Along with the other crises we’ve initiated (climate, desertification, ocean acidification, etc), this...

Enabling Access to Greenspace During the Covid-19 Pandemic—Perspectives from Five Cities
David Barton, Oslo
Dagmar Haase, Berlin
André Mascarenhas, Berlin
Johannes Langemeyer, Barcelona
Francesc Baro, Barcelona
Christopher Kennedy, New York
Zbigniew Grabowski, Millbrook
Timon McPhearson, New York
Norun Hjertager Krog, Oslo
Zander Venter, Oslo
Vegard Gundersen, Oslo
Erik Andersson, Stockholm

There is now plenty of evidence on the benefits of local access to greenspace and greenviews on physical health and mental well-being. Lockdowns and social distancing advisories have placed restrictions on citizen normal access to public spaces. Google community mobility statistics from February-March revealed varied patterns of reaction to Covid-19 in cities where we work. While residential mobility increased everywhere, change in...

RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

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 | 
TNOC Summit Dialogue: Demanding access to green space as a right for everyone
Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski,  Barcelona |  Adrian Benepe,  New York |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  David Maddox,  New York  | 

MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

Green Infrastructure that Creates Climate Resilience, Human Resilience, and Quality of Life in Los Angeles’ Underserved Neighborhoods
Tori Kjer,  Los Angeles

I live in the mega-City and County of Los Angeles. Despite the urban intensity, nature still surrounds us. We are bordered by three mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean. Within our megalopolis are some of the...

PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

How Do We Get the Private Sector to “Walk the Walk” on the SDG for Cities?
Buyana Kareem,  Kampala

If you have been following the global, regional, and local-level conversations about the Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) and their implementation—for example, UN’s Habitat III meeting, held in Quito, Ecuador—you have probably heard of or participated in providing clarity on the role of the private sector in achieving SDG 11, which calls on us to “Make cities and human settlements...

PLACE &
DESIGN

Parks as Magnets that Shape Sustainable Cities
Amy Hahs,  Ballarat

The other day, I took my two children to the park. We clambered over rocks and logs, slid down slides, and rolled down a large grassy hill. At one stage, I stood at the top of the hill, the city skyline before me, and the sounds of happy children all around me, and my overwhelming emotion was “I love urban...

ART &
AWARENESS

Leveraging Environmental Arts for Education and Sustainable Futures
Hilary Inwood,  Toronto
Joe Heimlich,  Columbus
Kumara Ward,  Sydney
Jennifer Adams,  New York City

Cities around the world are using the arts to enhance urban aesthetic experiences and motivate innovative environmental activism. Manifesting as flash mobs, immersive street theatre, bike parades, pop-up installations, zero-carbon concerts, and participatory storytelling, artists are using their creativity and ingenuity to draw attention to and propose solutions for the environmental challenges of the 21st century city. Often referred to...