Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

From City of Light to Ville Verte: How a Comprehensive Approach to Climate Change Adaptation is Making Paris the World’s Green Innovator
Adrian Benepe,  New York

On a recent visit to Paris after an absence of more than a dozen years, I was stuck by the comprehensive and visionary approach to urban resilience and livability that is transforming Paris into the global leader in innovative urban greening. Since my childhood, I have been entranced by the beauty and scale of Paris and its streets and parks,...

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Oh, For the Love of Bicycles! A Walking Reflection about Moving on Two Wheels through Urban and Rural Areas
Jennifer Baljko,  Barcelona

Walking may be my main form of transportation these days, but I often daydream about wheels…bicycle wheels…and the way they move people through urban and rural spaces. Most of our 14,000-kilometer journey to date is speckled with memories of two-wheeled riders, and my longing to join them in their pedaling outings. I have frequent flashbacks of the group of smiling...

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GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

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 |  7 Comment(s)
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REVIEWS
REACTIONS

How Can We Improve Social Infrastructure?
Laura Landau, New York

A review of the book Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, by Eric Klinenberg. 2018. 290 pages. Random House. Buy the book. In Eric Klinenberg’s 2018 book, Palaces for the People, he argues that investing in social infrastructure (the assets that shape our social interactions) is investing in healthier, safer,...

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London National Park City is a Reality
David Goode, Bath

During the past week the eyes of the world have been on London, to see a new Prime Minister installed at Westminster. But the week has also seen a momentous decision made for a sustainable and liveable future for London. The city was designated as a National Park City, the first of its kind in the world. It took place...

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We’re Not “Solving” Wicked Challenges through Design and Science. Is That Ok?
Daniel Phillips, Detroit

Many of us are drawn to the process and potential of transdisciplinary projects through a desire to deepen the scope and impact of our work. Though landscape architects and planning practitioners claim to be capable of achieving socio-ecological impact, their proposals and built projects too often lack necessary grounding in solid science. Conversely, many modes of academic research can lack...

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Closer to Home, Higher the Walls
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

We noticed an extraordinary thing walking across Asia and Europe since January 2016: the absence and presence of fences. It may not be extraordinary in the “I climbed Everest” kind of way. But, for us, it’s extraordinary in the “I walk slow enough to see how fences change” kind of way. Why do fences matter? Because they show us what...

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Neighborhoods that Change in Non-linear Ways—Urban Planning for Succession
Mathieu Hélie, Montréal

For most of urban history, urbanization was a nonlinear process. Lots filled in as needed over time, in a process some call incremental growth, or organic growth, seemingly randomly and chaotically. It was iterative, driven by acute feedback and extreme scarcity. Even the shape of lots was refined over time, leaving no corner unused and a cadastral plan looking like...

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RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

What I mean when I talk about collaboration. What is a specific experience collaborating on a project with someone from a different discipline or “way of knowing”?
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Carmen Bouyer,  Paris |  Lindsay Campbell,  New York City |  Gillian Dick,  Glasgow |  Lonny Grafman,  Arcata |  Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá |  Britt Gwinner,  Washington |  Keitaro Ito,  Fukutsu City |  Madhusudan Katti,  Raleigh |  Jessica Kavonic,  Cape Town |  Yvonne Lynch,  Melbourne |  Mary Mattingly,  Brooklyn |  Brian McGrath,  New York City |  Tischa Muñoz-Erickson,  Río Piedras, Puerto Rico |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City |  Wilson Ramirez Hernandez,  Bogotá |  Bruce Roll,  Portland |  David Simon,  Gothenburg |  Tomomi Sudo,  Kyushu |  Dimitra Xidous,  Dublin | 
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What did you read in 2018 that moved you?
Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski,  Barcelona |  Marc Barra,  Paris |  Katie Coyne,  Austin |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Marcelo Lopes de Souza,  Rio de Janeiro |  Artur Jerzy Filip,  Warsaw |  Claudia Luna Fuentes,  Saltillo |  Russell Galt,  Edinburgh |  Ursula Heise,  Los Angeles |  Toby Kent,  Melbourne |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Pascal Mittermaier,  Boston |  Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie |  Huda Shaka,  Dubai |  David Simon,  Gothenburg |  Jay Valgora,  New York |  Chantal van Ham,  Brussels | 
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Our goal is to empower cities to plan for a positive natural future. What is one specific action that should be taken to achieve this goal?
Graciela Arosemena,  Panama City |  Marcus Collier,  Dublin |  Marlies Craig,  Durban |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Sumetee Gajjar,  Bangalore |  Gary Grant,  London |  Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá |  Fadi Hamdan,  Beirut |  Scott Kellogg,  Albany |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Yvonne Lynch,  Melbourne |  Emily Maxwell,  New York |  Colin Meurk,  Christchurch |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Jennifer Rae Pierce,  Vancouver |  Mary Rowe,  Toronto |  Luis Sandoval,  San José | 
7 Comment(s)
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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 | 
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MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

How a Peer-to-Peer Approach is Transforming Urban Systems Cities Around the World: An Example from Cusco
Sven Eberlein,  Oakland

Cities, like nature, consist of complex organisms that evolve. For most of natural and human history change occurred slowly enough for inhabitants to adapt without impacting the overall health and functionality of the underlying natural systems....

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PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

Swarms in the City
Valerie Gwinner,  Nairobi

The final night of the European Soccer Cup in July, 2016, brought together some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fans. France, the hosting team, was hoping to ride a wave of wins to capture their third Eurocup title, following successes in 1984 and 2000. But it was not to be, as Portugal won its first-ever European championship in...

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PLACE &
DESIGN

From Banlieue to Biophilia: Thinking About Nature as a Basis for Urban Design
Philip Silva,  New York

My second contribution to the Nature of Cities blog was scheduled to fall around that awkward moment at the start of the New Year when productivity is at its lowest ebb. Instead of sitting down to the task at my own snow-bound desk in upstate New York, I find myself seated on a plastic chair in a poured concrete garage...

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ART &
AWARENESS

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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