Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Community, Collaboration, and Controversy: A Story of Activists, Architects, Scientists, Engineers, and a Vision to Transform Artifacts into Amenities and Oil Tanks into Oyster Beds.
Jay Valgora,  New York

As a student, I walked the narrow river, sliding along edges to reach the massive curves of the abandoned grain elevators, rising in the sunlight reflecting off frayed elephantine concrete skins. My father worked in the steel mills of Buffalo, where I visited the incredible mile-long buildings that I felt demonstrated the curvature of the earth. I slipped out to explore...

ESSAY
CROSSTALK

How to Sell “Nature in Cities” to the Middle Class
Cha-Ly Koh,  Kuala Lumpur

Cities are not only hosting 68% of the world’s population by 2050, but a growing population of mobile-toting, car driving, and home ownership aspiring middle class. For rising middle class cities such as Jakarta and middle-income trapped citieslike Kuala Lumpur—middle income trapped cities are cities in countries that are unable to push GNI per capita above $12,056 per annum—the immediate...

GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

Why are we doing walking tours in African cities? To help us see and engage with small scale urbanism and urban tinkering.
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Celestine Collins,  Kisumu |  Julie Goodness,  Stockholm |  Jessica Kavonic,  Cape Town |  Odhiambo Ken K'oyooh,  Kisumu |  Viveca Mellegård,  Stockholm |  Benard Ojwang,  Kisumu |  Aiuba Oliveira,  Nacala |  Semakula Samson,  Entebbe |  Ellika Hermansson Torok,  Stockholm |  Thandeka Tshabalala,  Cape Town | 

REVIEWS
REACTIONS

Plastic Bag as Tumbleweed: Poetic Observations of the Everyday Around Us
Malerie Lovejoy, Oxford

A review of Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary, by Harryette Mullen. Greywolf Press 2013. Buy the book. For renowned poet and professor, Harryette Mullen, awareness is walking. Inspired by the Japanese syllabic verse form of the tanka, Mullen set out to explore her environment in a series of captured moments to create one of her latest collections, Urban Tumbleweed:...

RECENT ESSAYS...

For Urban Sustainability, What Research Do We Need Now?
Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

For over 25 years, as an urban ecologist working in academic institutions and collaborating with city planners, developers, and the public, I have seen the sustainability needle move ever so slowly. How can we speed things up? For scientists, if they are going to help make cities more sustainable, what research is critical to help city decision makers make decisions?...

Can Artistic Knowledge Bring Us Closer to Encountering the Co-influence of all Living Organisms?
Audrey Yeo, Edinburgh

“the knowing self is partial in all its guises, never finished, and can thus only develop in combination with others.” — Donna Haraway in Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective, p586 I grew up in Singapore. I heard stories from my father about when he was a child and how it used to be...

Co-creating Inclusive Green Cities: European Examples and Global Learning Opportunities
Katharina Hölscher, Rotterdam
Alice Reil, Freiburg

“Co-creation” has garnered much buzz as a promising enabler of greener and better cities for all. During a hands-on session (“Co-creating inclusive green cities: European examples and global learning opportunities”) at the Nature of Cities Summit in Paris (June 4-7, 2019) with co-creation experts and cities—co-organised by Connecting Nature partners Alice Reil (ICLEI Europe) and Katharina Hölscher (DRIFT)—local policymakers, scientists,...

WILD STRAY CARE: Exploring multiple ways people co-exist with urban nature
Ferne Edwards, Barcelona
Amy Hahs, Ballarat
Yun Hye HWANG, Singapore

Human relationships with nature are highly complex and variable. Particularly now when the human connection to nature has been highly disrupted, and the sense of custodianship or stewardship has been displaced. Yet at the same time, there is a growing awareness and movement of the need to reconnect people and nature, to both address nature deficit disorder, and also help...

RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

How is the concept of “stewardship” and “care for local environments” expressed around the world?
Nathalie Blanc,  Paris |  Lindsay Campbell,  New York |  Zorina Colasero,  Puerto Princesa City |  Kirk Deitschman,  Waimānalo |  Johan Enqvist,  Cape Town |  Emilio Fantin,  Milan |  Artur Jerzy Filip,  Warsaw |  Carlo Gomez,  Puerto Princesa City |  Cecilia Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro |  Michelle Johnson,  New York City |  Kevin Lunzalu,  Nairobi |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Romina Magtanong,  Puerto Princesa City |  Heather McMillen,  Honolulu |  Ranjini Murali,  Bangalore |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Ferus Niyomwungeri,  Kigali |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Beatriz Ruizpalacios,   |  Huda Shaka,  Dubai |  Erika Svendsen,  New York |  Abdallah Tawfic,  Cairo |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota |  Xin Yu,  Shenzhen | 
The spirit of Dada welcomes you to TNOC Summit: What is the nature of the city of our dreams?
Carmen Bouyer,  Paris |  Lindsay Campbell,  New York |  Marcus Collier,  Dublin |  Katie Coyne,  Austin |  Samarth Das,  Mumbai |  Gillian Dick,  Glasgow |  Thomas Elmqvist,  Stockholm |  Cecilia Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro |  Jessica Kavonic,  Cape Town |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Timon McPhearson,  New York |  Andrew Rudd,  New York City |  Chantal van Ham,  Brussels | 
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 | 
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 |  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 | 

MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

Tracing Contemporary Landscape Architecture to Sound Ecological Foundations
Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie

A review of Toward an Urban Ecology, by Kate Orff. 2016. ISBN978-1-58093-436-7. The Monacelli Press, New York. 272 pages. Buy the book. Kate Orff, one of the leading ecologically-oriented landscape architects working today, and her firm, SCAPE,...

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...

PLACE &
DESIGN

Can Devastated Landscapes Inspire Planning and Adaptation?
Paula Villagra,  Valdivia

Changes that cause major disruptions in human settlements, such as those triggered by earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, can give rise to new landscapes that reveal a natural cycle, which is part of the territory where cities grow and develop. These landscapes emerge particularly in cities exposed to recurrent natural disturbances, such as earthquakes, where the natural and human environments...

ART &
AWARENESS

Anatomy of a Mural: A Seventy Foot Heron Transforms a Lifeless Wall
Mike Houck,  Portland

Recently, The Nature of Cities launched Up Against the Wall: A Gallery of Nature-Themed Graffiti and Street Art, soliciting graffiti and murals celebrating nature in the city. I submitted images of what I believe to be the largest hand-painted wall mural on a building in North America. I frequently lead natural history walks around the 160-acre Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge,...