Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Connecting Cities and Resources: UBHub Offers Map and Database of Hundreds of Urban Biodiversity Activities
Melissa Barton,  Portland
Jennifer Rae Pierce,  Vancouver
Mika Mei Jia Tan,  Los Baños
Juan de Dios Morales,  Guayaquil

Cities that plan for biodiversity recognize the potential of healthy ecosystems to mitigate urban problems and enhance quality of life but, due to limited capacity, can struggle with developing and managing their biodiversity strategies. Our team at the Urban Biodiversity Hub (UBHub) has compiled thousands of examples of biodiversity work from local governments and environmental NGOs around the world that...

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

To Tree or Not to Tree? Or, Why Urban Trees Today?
Stephanie Pincetl,  Los Angeles

Urban trees and tree planting is like a contemporary urban planner’s holy grail—more trees means a better city, and better city assumedly means a better quality of life for city residents. But why is this the case? I’ve set out here to reflect on this.  Why the focus on urban trees today and what are the historical origins of urban...

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GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

As a landscape architect, how do you interpret the word “biodiversity”? How does this meaning find expression in your design?
Gloria Aponte,  Medellín |  AnaLuisa Artesi,  Buenos Aires |  Andrew Grant,  Bath |  Yun Hye HWANG,  Singapore |  Maria E Ignatieva,  Perth |  Jason King,  Portland |  Victoria Marshall,  Singapore |  Daniel Phillips,  Detroit |  Mohan Rao,  Bangalore |  Sylvie Salles,  Paris |  Kevin Sloan,  Dallas-Fort Worth |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota |  7 Comment(s)
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REVIEWS
REACTIONS

Discovering New Life in the Aging Form of Suburbia
Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth

A review of the book Suburban Remix: Creating the Next Generation of Urban Places, Edited by Jason Beske and David Dixon. 2018. 330 pages. ISBN: 9781610918626. Island Press. Buy the book. In the course of solving a design problem, landscape architects and designers will often encounter an unexpected issue that suddenly becomes the real problem to solve and driver of the...

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RECENT ESSAYS...

Sewage Eating Floating Islands: Operationalizing “Urban Ecosystem Justice”
Scott Kellogg, Albany

While the urban sustainability movement has had many successes over the past decades, the benefits have been disproportionately befitted affluent residents. This is partly on account of the fact that sustainability discourse over recent years has placed a stronger emphasis on the “environmental” and “economic” aspects of sustainability, largely ignoring or underemphasizing sustainability’s social dimension. Albany, NY, Summer 2018. The...

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Walls that Talk: Green Fences in Kampala City
Buyana Kareem, Kampala

Walls that talk are not found in haunted houses or buildings but rather symbolic to the phenomenon of greening residential fences using organic plant species, in ways that non-verbally speak to the broader goal of re-naturing cities. This is happening in Kampala city, where vertical structures with walls that have elements of green cover are being erected around residential dwellings...

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Earthworms Can Awaken Us to Ecological Change
Toby Query, Portland

The soil is alive and there is a whole ecosystem waiting to be explored, right below our feet. Anywhere in the city, where there are leaves and some cracks in the sidewalk, there is life underneath us! The soil is a living complex of roots, bacteria, fungi, substrate (rocks, sand and clay particles), and animals. Many soil animals are microscopic...

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How Do City Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Plans Compare?
Sara Meerow, Tempe

Record-breaking disaster losses, unprecedented storms and heat waves, and stark warnings in the most recent IPCC report all point to an urgent need for local governments around the world to prepare for climate change impacts. Consequently, many cities have developed climate change adaptation plans that outline projected climate change impacts and response actions (Woodruff & Stults, 2016). In the last...

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RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

Artists in Conversation with Water in Cities
Carmen Bouyer,  Paris |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Antonio José García Cano,  Murcia |  Katrine Claassens,  Montreal |  Claudia Luna Fuentes,  Saltillo |  Nazlı Gürlek,  Istanbul & Palo Alto |  Basia Irland,  Albuquerque |  Robin Lasser,  Oakland |  Mary Mattingly,  New York City |  Marguerite Perret,  Topeka |  Bonnie Sherk,  San Francisco |  Nadia Vadori-Gauthier Vadori-Gauthier,  Paris |  Aloïs Yang,  Prague | 
8 Comment(s)
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An urban planner and an urban ecologist walk into a bar. They chat about how (and maybe whether) “ecology” could play a bigger role in planning…
Will Allen,  Chapel Hill |  Juan Azcarate,  Bogotá |  Amy Chomowicz,  Portland |  Katie Coyne,  Austin |  Georgina Cullman,  New York |  PK Das,  Mumbai |  David Goode,  Bath |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Elsa Limasset,  Orléans |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City |  Gil Penha-Lopes,  Lisbon |  Lauren Smalls-Mantey,  New York | 
15 Comment(s)
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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 | 
5 Comment(s)
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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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MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

A Matter of Scale: Connecting Human Design Decisions with Decisions Made by Wildlife
Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville

Ok, if you can look past my anthropomorphic statement that wildlife make decisions, the topic I would like to address deals with the adoption and use of ecological principles by the design community. Patch size, landscape...

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PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

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...

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PLACE &
DESIGN

Reflections on “Laudato Si, On Care For Our Common Home”
Mike Houck,  Portland

Pope Francis, City Planner After reading Pope Francis’ Laudato Si, On Care For Our Common Home, I was moved to select references I felt relevant to efforts in Portland to integrate nature into the city and weave nature into the fabric of our urban and urbanizing neighborhoods. I sent a copy to David Maddox, who asked if I would consider...

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ART &
AWARENESS

Birds: Iconic Emissaries of Urban Nature
Mike Houck,  Portland

Among the many lessons learned over my decades-long career in urban conservation is that iconography matters. Icons have proven to be powerful catalysts in the conservation arena, particularly in the urban context. Salmon, for example, are the quintessential representative of the natural world throughout the Pacific Northwest in both urban and rural areas. Salmon are especially central to the life ways of...

3 Comment(s)
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