Where Can Civic Ecology Lead? TNOC Podcast Episode 003

David Maddox, New York. 
30 March 2015

Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

Also available at iTunes.

Story notes: A conversation about civic ecology between Lance Gunderson, a landscape ecologist from Emory University in Atlanta; Caroline Lewis, of Climate Leadership Engagement Opportunities, or CLEO, in Miami; and Arjen Wals, a professor of social learning and sustainable development at Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

Climate change and other stresses on cities represent great challenges to societies. Some of these challenges are systematic and somehow “knowable”—that is, we know generally what to expect, even if we aren’t sure how to respond. Other threats and stresses are unexpected, even random in the appearance. Things happen that put pressure on our systems, organizations, and communities that we didn’t expect, and didn’t necessarily plan for—freak storms, or economic stress, or the loss of a charismatic leader. Our ability to respond to the unexpected is one aspect to the idea of resilience. Are our communities flexible or brittle in the face of shocks?

This episode of This Is The Nature of Cities discusses these issues and role Civic Ecology plays is maintaining resilient and vibrant communities. What is civic ecology? Think community gardens, or faith groups working in sustainability, river restoration organizations, or friends of parks groups. Such organizations form key and critical elements to the functioning of resilient communities, not just in their direct action, but in their contribution to social cohesion.

Marianne KrasnyGardeningWithKids-GuerrillaGarden-BGN and Keith Tidball convened a group of civic ecology leaders at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, or SESNYC, to discuss their work. In the green room three of the attendees met to talk about civic ecology organizations and how they are key to resilience.

David Maddox

About the Writer:
David Maddox

David loves urban spaces and nature. He loves creativity and collaboration. He loves theatre and music. In his life and work he has practiced in all of these as, in various moments, a scientist, a climate change researcher, a land steward, an ecological practitioner, composer, a playwright, a musician, an actor, and a theatre director.

David Maddox

David Maddox

David loves urban spaces and nature. He loves creativity and collaboration. He loves theatre and music. In his life and work he has practiced in all of these. He is committed to the creation of sustainable, resilient, livable, and just cities, and after a PhD in ecology and statistics at Cornell he spent 10 years with first the Maryland state government and then The Nature Conservancy working on climate change and environmental stewardship. In 2012, David founded The Nature of Cities and remains its Executive Director. TNOC is a transdisciplinary essay and discussion site—with 800+ writers from around the world, from scientists to activists, designers to artists—on cities as ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure. He has pubished over 60 journal articles and books chapters, and has edited four books. David is also a composer, musician, playwright. As a theatre artist he has created various recordings and eight produced works of musical theatre, three published by Dramatic Pubishing and with commissions for new work from organizations such as the Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, and George Mason University. David has created sound designs and scores to over 100 productions around the U.S., and have worked in dance, museum design, and documentary film. He has received various awards for my work in theater, including 13 Helen Hayes Award nominations (and one win), and various other awards. He lives in New York City.

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