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  • Aakriti Grover
  • Abigail York
  • Adam Glenn
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  • Alberto Tacón
  • Alexandre Guertin
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  • Alex Russ
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  • Alice Hertzog-Fraser
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  • Alison Benjamin
  • Aliyu Barau
  • Allison Bernett
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  • Álvaro González Reyes
  • Amosh Neupane
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  • Amy Cutter-Mackenzie
  • Amy Hahs
  • Ana Faggi
  • AnaLuisa Artesi
  • Andréa Albuquerque G. Redondo
  • André Gonçalves
  • Andre Mader
  • Andre Ortega
  • Andrés Flajszer
  • Andre Viljoen
  • Andrew Clements
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  • Angela Glover Blackwell
  • Angela Loder
  • Anjali Mahendra
  • Anna Backstrom
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  • Anna Dietzsch
  • Anne Trumble
  • Antoine Faye
  • Arjen Wals
  • Aromar Revi
  • Andrea Tamm and Ann Press
  • Barbara Deutsch
  • Ben Feldmann
  • Ben Hecht
  • Ben Bradlow
  • Benjamin Swett
  • Betsy Hodges
  • Bharat Dahiya
  • Bill Toomey
  • Bill Sherwonit
  • Bob Sallinger
  • Bolanle Wahab
  • Bongani Mnisi
  • Boyi Zhou
  • Bradley Rink
  • Bram Gunther
  • Briana Liu
  • Brian McGrath
  • Bryce Dubois
  • Buyana Kareem
  • Camilo Ordóñez
  • Candice Russell
  • Caragh Threlfall
  • Carla Gonçalves
  • Carla Sutherland
  • Caroline Robinson
  • Catherine Sutherland
  • Cecilia Herzog
  • Cezar Busatto
  • Chan-Won Lee
  • Joana Chan & Bryce DuBois
  • Chankook Kim
  • Chantal van Ham
  • Charlie Nilon
  • Chew-Hung Chang
  • Chris Fremantle
  • Chris Garvin
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  • Chris Ives
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  • Christine Thuring
  • Christopher Bryant
  • Chris Payne
  • Christopher Sellers
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  • Claire Robinson
  • Claire Weisz
  • Claudia Misteli Fajardo
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  • Colin Meurk
  • Collins Adjei Mensah
  • Damon Hall
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  • Esther Sanyé-Mengual
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  • Fadi Hamdan
  • Fengping Yang
  • Finzi Saidi
  • Florencia Gustelar
  • Fonna Forman
  • Francis Vorhies
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  • Fran Ilich
  • Frida Larios
  • Ganzeer
  • Gareth Haysom
  • Gary Grant
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  • Genie Birch
  • Geoffrey Davison
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  • Germán Gomez
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  • Glen Hyman
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  • Gloria Aponte
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  • Henk Ovink
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  • Henrique Mercer
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  • Herbert Dreiseitl
  • Hilary Inwood
  • Hita Unnikrishnan
  • Huda Shaka
  • Hugh Johnson
  • Ian MacGregor-Fors
  • Idah Mbengo
  • Illène Pevec
  • Ingo Kowarik
  • Innisfree McKinnon
  • Irene Guida
  • Isabelle Anguelovski
  • Jack Maher
  • Jack Travis
  • Jacqueline Davis-Manigaulte
  • Jala Makhzoumi
  • James Steenberg
  • Jan-Michael Archer
  • Jane Battersby
  • Janet Dyment
  • Janice Astbury
  • Jaroslav Mysiak
  • Jason King
  • Jason Schupbach
  • Jayne Engle
  • Jay Valgora
  • Jenga Mwendo
  • Jennifer Adams
  • Jennifer Baljko
  • Jennifer Sánchez
  • Jimena Martignoni
  • Jim Labbe
  • Joe Heimlich
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  • Johan Enqvist
  • John Hartig
  • John Kostyack
  • John Marzluff
  • Jonathan Craik
  • Jonathan Halfon
  • Jonathan Stenvall
  • Jonce Walker
  • Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira
  • Josh Lewis
  • Joshua Burch
  • Josué Corrales
  • Juana Mariño
  • Juan Carlos Arroyo
  • Judy Li
  • Jürgen Breuste
  • Julian Goh
  • Julie Bargmann
  • Julie Goodness
  • Julie Santos
  • Kaitlin Lovell
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson
  • Karen Houle
  • Karenne Tun
  • Karen Seto
  • Karen Zumach
  • Karla Dakin
  • Karolina Łukasiewicz
  • Kate Pallett
  • Katerina Elias-Trotsmann
  • Kate Scherer
  • Katharine Burgess
  • Katherine Baldock
  • Kathleen Wolf
  • Kathrin Specht
  • Kathryn Campbell
  • Kathryn Lwin
  • Katie Holzer
  • Katrin Bohn
  • Katrine Claassens
  • Kaveh Samiei
  • Keerthi Potluri
  • Keijiro Suzuki
  • Keitaro Ito
  • Keith Bowers
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  • Kelly Brenner
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  • Kenneth Taylor
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  • Kimberly Snyder
  • Kitty Connolly
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  • Kumara Ward
  • Lance Gunderson
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  • Lausanne Olvitt
  • Leda Marritz
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  • Liana Jansen
  • Hui Ling Lim
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  • Lloyd Godman
  • Lorena Pasquini
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  • Louise Chawla
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  • Luciana Nery
  • Luis Sandoval
  • Luke Drake
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  • Lynn Wilson
  • Madhumitha Jaganmohan
  • Madhusudan Katti
  • Mahim Maher
  • Manuela Gervasi
  • Mapula Priscilla Masilela
  • Mara Gittleman
  • Marcelo Lopes de Souza
  • Marcus Collier
  • Marcus Hedblom
  • Maria E Ignatieva
  • Marianne Krasny
  • Maria Tengö
  • Marielle Anzelone
  • Marina Alberti
  • Mariona Espinet
  • Marit Larson
  • Mark Davis
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  • Marna Hauk
  • Mårten Wallberg
  • Martha Fajardo
  • Marthe Derkzen
  • Martin Maldonado
  • Maruxa Cardama
  • Maryam Akbarian
  • Mary Cadenasso
  • Mary Mattingly
  • Mary Miss
  • Mary Rowe
  • Mary Wyatt
  • Mateo Hernández
  • Mathieu Hélie
  • Matthew Kaplan
  • Matt Palmer
  • Matt Shardlow
  • Maxime Zucca
  • Melinda Janki
  • Menno Welling
  • Meredith Dobbie
  • Michael Berkshire
  • Michael Jemtrud
  • Michael Mehaffy
  • Michelle Johnson
  • Mickey Fearn
  • Miguel Luna
  • Mike Feller
  • Mike Houck
  • Mike Wells
  • Mike Wetter
  • Mina Fallahzadegan
  • Mindy Thompson Fullilove
  • Miranda Gardiner
  • Mirna Goransky
  • Mitchell Chester
  • Mitchell Thomashow
  • Monica Luengo
  • Monika Lawrence
  • Mutizwa Mukute
  • Myla Aronson
  • Naomi Tsur
  • Nate Gabriel
  • Nathalie Baumann
  • Navin Ramankutty
  • Na Xiu
  • Nette Compton
  • Nhung Nguyen
  • Niki Frantzeskaki
  • Niki Singleton
  • Nik Luka
  • Nina-Marie Lister
  • Noboru Kawashima
  • Noel Hefele
  • Norbert Mueller
  • Novem Auyeung
  • Olga Barbosa
  • Oliver Hillel
  • Olivia Aguilar
  • Olivier Scheffer
  • Olumuyiwa Adegun
  • Osvaldo Moreno
  • Owen Gaffney
  • Pakamas Thinphanga
  • Patrice Milillo
  • Patricia Holly
  • Patrick Hurley
  • Patrick Lydon
  • Paula Segal
  • Paula Villagra
  • Paul Downton
  • Pauline Bullen
  • Paul White
  • Pedro Camarena
  • Pepe Marcos-Iga
  • Per Berg
  • Peter Werner
  • Peter Head
  • Philip Silva
  • Pierre-André Martin
  • Pippin Anderson
  • PK Das
  • Polly Knowlton Cockett
  • Polly Moseley
  • Rachel Holmes
  • Rachna Leveque
  • Radhika Khosla
  • Ragene Palma
  • Raul Pacheco-Vega
  • Rebecca Bratspies
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  • Renae Reynolds
  • Richard Friend
  • Richard Murray
  • Richard Scott
  • Robert Morris-Nunn
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  • Rob McInnes
  • Rob Pirani
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  • Roland Lewis
  • Romina Lopez
  • Ruishan Chen
  • Russell Galt
  • Sabina Caula
  • Sadia Butt
  • Saleh Ahmed
  • Samantha Lai
  • Sam Gochman
  • Sam Holleran
  • Sarah Bergmann
  • Sarah Bradley
  • Sarah Charlop-Powers
  • Sarah Hinners
  • Scott MacIvor
  • Scot Spencer
  • Sebastian Miguel
  • Seth Magle
  • Seth Schindler
  • Shaleen Singhal
  • Shawn Van Sluys
  • Sheila Foster
  • Shih-Tsen Nike Liu
  • Shuaib Lwasa
  • Sidd Joag
  • Simone Borelli
  • Soul Shava
  • Stephan Barthel
  • Stephanie Britton
  • Stephanie Pincetl
  • Stephanie Radok
  • Steve Brown
  • Steven Handel
  • Steve Whitney
  • Steward Pickett
  • Stuart Gaffin
  • Sue Parnell
  • Sumetee Gajjar
  • Susannah Drake
  • Sven Eberlein
  • Taida Garibovic
  • Tania Schusler
  • Tan Puay Yok
  • Taylor Britt
  • Teddy Cruz
  • Ted Trzyna
  • Theaster Gates
  • Thomas Elmqvist
  • Tim Beatley
  • Tim Collins
  • Timon McPhearson
  • Timothy Bonebrake
  • Tina Harrison
  • Tischa Muñoz-Erickson
  • Toby Query
  • Todd Lester
  • Tom Henfrey
  • Toni Griffin
  • Toni Pujol
  • Tori Kjer
  • Traci Sooter
  • Tracy-Ann Hyman
  • Uchendu Chigbu
  • Ulrike Grau
  • Valerie Gwinner
  • Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti
  • Veronica Fabio
  • Victor Beumer
  • Victoria Derr
  • Victoria Marshall
  • Paula Villagra & Carmen Silva
  • Vin Cipolla
  • Viviana Figueroa
  • Shubhalaxmi Vaylure
  • Weston Brinkley
  • Whitney Hopkins
  • Will Allen
  • William Dunbar
  • Wolfgang Ansel
  • Pengfei XIE
  • Xuemei Bai
  • Yolanda van Heezik
  • Yu Huang
  • Yun Hye HWANG
  • Yunus Arikan
  • Yvonne Lynch
  • Zoé Hamstead
  • February, 2017

    February 22, 2017

    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,...

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    February 19, 2017

    Southeast Asia’s Urban Future: A Snapshot of Kuala Lumpur
    Chris Ives, Nottingham
    Alex Lechner, Kuala Lumpur

    We found ourselves scrambling along the slippery, vine-entangled slope, ducking under branches and contorting ourselves around fallen trees. The air was hot and thick with humidity, causing us to sweat after just a few minutes on the trail. As we walked, the noise of the busy highway slowly subsided and...

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    February 15, 2017

    Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Evolution in the Streets
    Marthe Derkzen, Amsterdam

    I read this article by Menno Schilthuizen, a Dutch evolutionary biologist and ecologist, about the evolution of animal and plant species taking place in cities. In cities, evolution is propelled by two forces: the known laws of ecology AND the social dynamics of human society. The article concludes that we...

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    February 12, 2017

    Of Wilderness, Wild-ness, and Wild Things
    Nina-Marie Lister, Toronto

    And I think in this empty world there was room for me and a mountain lion. And I think in the world beyond, how easily we might spare a million or two humans And never miss them. Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white-frost face of that...

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    February 8, 2017

    Environmental Education Generates Urban Sustainability
    Alex Russ, Ithaca
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca

    Can environmental education in cities foster urban sustainability? Yes—according to 90 scholars from six continents who contributed to a forthcoming book called Urban Environmental Education Review (Russ and Krasny, eds, 2017). Three themes—participation of urban residents in planning and environmental stewardship, exploring and reconstructing urban places, and forming partnerships among...

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    February 5, 2017

    Five Reasons to Conserve Nature in Kampala
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    Many cities still have green areas in various forms, despite the fragmentation of their ecosystems. The call for integration of built form with nature is now more explicit and can be discerned from the Sustainable Development Goals of 2015 as well as the New Urban Agenda of 2016. There is...

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    February 1, 2017

    How to Make Urban Green Verdant and Sustainable: Designing “Wild” Swedish Lawns
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala

    Sweden, especially its capital, Stockholm, is a very famous “green” city. Indeed, Stockholm’s green infrastructure wedges system is one of the most recognized and cited around the world because of the significant ecosystem services that it provides and because it acts as a source of natural biodiversity for an urban...

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    January, 2017

    January 30, 2017

    Finding Nature in the Walls of a Power Station
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of Why Not Ask Again, the 11th Shanghai Biennale at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, China, on view through 12 March 2017. It’s not unusual by any means in the contemporary art world, but as an edifice, the Power Station of Art is just about as...

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    January 29, 2017

    Enforcing Good Corporate Governance in Disaster Risk Management is a Must
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut

    In a recent essay on TNOC regarding urban inequality, I spoke about the need to address inequality in exposure and vulnerability of urban populations to risk as a necessary condition to reducing urban inequality in general, including inequality in the access to basic services. I would like to expand on...

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    January 25, 2017

    Beyond the City
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    This concept paper was inspired by a series of round table discussions that were hosted by the Israel Urban Forum, together with the Bezalel Academy of Urban Design in Jerusalem. The participants at my round table, where the topic of discussion was “The City and its Surrounding Region”, are all...

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    January 24, 2017

    You say po-TAY-to. What ecologists and landscape architects don’t get about each other, but ought to.
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Amy Hahs, Ballarat, Australia
    Jürgen Breuste, Salzburg
    Susannah Drake, New York City
    Marcus Hedblom, Uppsala
    Andrew Grant, Bath
    Mike Wells, Bath
    Steven Handel, New Brunswick
    Diane Pataki, Salt Lake City
    Ian MacGregor-Fors, Xalapa
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles
    Christine Thuring, Sheffield
    Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth
    Gloria Aponte, Medellín
    Nina-Marie Lister, Toronto
    Sarah Hinners, Salt Lake City
    AnaLuisa Artesi, Buenos Aires
    Jala Makhzoumi, Beirut
    Jason King, Seattle
    Yun Hye HWANG, Singapore
    Danielle Dagenais, Montreal
    Mary Cadenasso, Davis
    Veronica Fabio, Buenos Aires
    Peter Head, London
    Peter Werner, Darmstadt

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    January 22, 2017

    Future Cities Live Underground—And That’s Not a Pile of Schist
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    Winter is here in the north—not the slightest allusion here to any famous TV series or any recent election, of course. And in the wintertime, life goes underground in a literal sense: tubers and roots reign while most of the aboveground parts of plants are dormant; animals hibernate or at...

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    January 18, 2017

    Linear Parks: The Importance of a Balanced, Cross-Disciplinary Design
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Claudia Zuleyka Vidal, Cali
    Florencia Gustelar, Buenos Aires
    Romina Lopez, Buenos Aires

    In a previous contribution to The Nature of Cities (Faggi & Vidal 2016), we wrote about linear parks (LPs) as an interesting green space typology and discussed some strengths and threats of these multifunctional areas in Latin America. Other contributions (Tsur 2014, Das 2015, Maddox 2016) explained that LPs are...

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    January 18, 2017

    Can a City Be Sustainable?
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of Can a City Be Sustainable? By Gary Gardner, Tom Prugh, and Michael Renner. 2016. Island Press.  Buy the book. This compact volume is an ambitious portmanteau of information on sustainable urbanism that covers an impressive range of issues and amply demonstrates how many of the essential initiatives needed to make...

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    January 15, 2017

    Celebrating the First Ecology Parks in London
    David Goode, Bath

    In November 2016 there was a celebration in London: it had been 40 years since the idea of creating an Ecology Park in central London was first suggested. The event provided opportunities to share memories of those early days and to see how the concept has taken root and proliferated....

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    January 11, 2017

    Building for Birds: An Online Tool to Evaluate How Different Development Designs Impact Forest Bird Habitat
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Jan-Michael Archer, Gainesville

    Often, city forest fragments and tree canopies are overlooked by city planners and developers as important bird habitat. More often than not, people only regard large patches as beneficial. The message from conservationists is that we want to avoid fragmentation and to conserve large forested areas. While this goal is...

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    January 8, 2017

    The Real Dirt on Urban Compost
    Sven Eberlein, Oakland

    “Why isn’t every city doing this?” Dave Vella asks as he intently massages a handful of succulent compost from the towering pile freshly deposited onto his vineyard’s gravel thoroughfare. Dressed in jeans and denim shirt, the veteran Grape Manager of Chateau Montelena is about as casual as can be for...

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    January 5, 2017

    How a Little Endangered Fox Found Sanctuary in a California Oil Town
    Madhusudan Katti, Raleigh

    If I were to ask you where I could find a healthy population of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox, you might be forgiven for not immediately saying, “Why, Bakersfield, of course!” Bakersfield? The Oil Capital of California? Yes, the very same! Unlikely as it seems, this oil-town-turned-city sprawling at the...

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    January 2, 2017

    Civic Ecology: A Book that Inspires and Guides Teaching
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    A review of Civic Ecology, Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up, by Marianne E. Krasny and Keith G. Tidball. 2015. ISBN: 9780262028653. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 328 pages. Buy the book. Krasny and Tidball’s Civic Ecology is a book that promises something different—and then actually delivers. The book sets out...

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    January 2, 2017

    Resolving to Act After the 2016 U.S. Election and the United Nations Climate Conference
    Franco Montalto, Philadelphia and Venice
    Hugh Johnson, Philadelphia

    We attended the 22nd session of the United Nations Climate Conference (also called COP22) as “Observers” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Since 1995, the COP has served as the annual UN climate conference, providing an opportunity to assess progress, negotiate agreements, and disseminate information regarding...

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    December, 2016

    December 28, 2016

    Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2016
    David Maddox, New York City

    Today’s post celebrates highlights from TNOC writing in 2016. These contributions, originating around the world, were widely read, offer novel points of view, are somehow disruptive in a useful way, or combine these characteristics. Certainly, all 550+ TNOC essays and roundtables are great and worthwhile reads, but what follows will give you a...

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    December 22, 2016

    We Need to Think Trashy Thoughts
    Valerie Gwinner, Nairobi

    Out of sight, out of mind. That is how most of us want to think about the trash we generate. But as our cities become increasingly overwhelmed with the burden of refuse collection and disposal, we must refocus the way we view our discards and devote greater attention to the...

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    December 19, 2016

    Urban Nature Forms Urban Character
    Leda Marritz, San Francisco

    “Urban nature” is, for many people, a contradiction in terms. Urban spaces are all about control, hard edges, and the fabrication of an environment. Nature is wild, opportunistic, and fragile. Where is the overlap? Yet for those of us who work in fields related to urban nature, we see that...

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    December 14, 2016

    History’s Peak: A Long View of the Nature of Cities
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    Author’s note: Through TNOC, we are encouraged to take a broad view of how nature can contribute to urban life. “Many voices, greener cities, better cities” is our mantra. Given the recent election of Mr. Donald Trump in the United States, with all that portends for voices, cities, and the...

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    December 12, 2016

    Full Function May Remain Out of Reach, But Urban Stream Restoration Can Empower Communities
    Marit Larson, New York City

    A review of Restoring Neighborhood Streams: Planning, Design, and Construction. By Ann L. Riley. 2016.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN: 9781610917391. 288 pages. Buy the book. The basic challenge of restoring urban streams that support diverse environmental, social, and ecological functions is that these functions are inextricably linked to the surrounding watershed. Development...

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    December 11, 2016

    Our Garbage, Their Homes: Artificial Material as Nesting Material
    Josué Corrales, San José, Costa Rica
    Luis Sandoval, San José, Costa Rica

    Human activities have direct, negative consequences on almost all the world’s ecosystems. It is known that we are in a changing era in which uncontrolled human population growth and the associated increase of urban landscapes are leading to an alteration or reduction of natural areas. The activities that humans usually...

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    December 7, 2016

    Climate Resilience Means Meaningfully Engaging Vulnerable Communities in Urban Planning Processes
    Zoé Hamstead, Buffalo
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Adam Glenn, New York

    Impacts of extreme heat are uneven across geographies and communities. People who live in micro-urban heat islands and who lack the capacity to cope with extreme heat are disproportionately vulnerable to heat-related health risks. Collaborative climate action planning processes should directly engage vulnerable communities in identifying neighborhoods with concentrated and...

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    December 4, 2016

    Dhaka’s Struggle with Traffic and Livability
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Ding, ding, ding. Ding, ding, ding. Honk, honk. Hoooonk. Honk, honk. Toot, toot, toot, ding, ding, ding. Honk, honk, honk. This is the sound of Dhaka. All. Day. Long. There are only a few hours before dawn when there is quieter hum of traffic. But for the rest of the...

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    November, 2016

    November 30, 2016

    From Biomimicry to Ecomimicry: Reconnecting Cities—and Ourselves—to Earth’s Balances
    Olivier Scheffer, Paris

    One reason we should care about biodiversity is that it might be the solution to our environmental impact: after 3.8 billion years on planet Earth, Nature certainly has some sustainability and resilience lessons to teach us—that is, before it gets driven mostly to extinction. Will we care to listen? As...

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    November 28, 2016

    Morphology, Generosity, and the Nature of Cities
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    A review of The Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria. By Marwa Al-Sabouni. 2016. Thames & Hudson, New York. ISBN-10: 0500343179. 208 pages. Buy the book. I have been reading an extraordinary book by Marwa Al-Sabouni: The Battle for Home: the Vision of a Young Architect in Syria, who...

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    November 27, 2016

    Why Should an Urbanist Care About Biodiversity?
    Olivier Scheffer, Paris

    Let’s face the facts. Despite laudable international initiatives for climate change mitigation and environmental preservation [i], major changes in Earth’s balances have been set in motion and we’re starting to experience their consequences: heat records; increased droughts; increased wildfire intensity and frequency; melting of landlocked ice; increased sea level and coastal...

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    November 23, 2016

    Linking Urban Science and Society—Putting Good Old Wine in a New Bottle
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    India is experiencing rapid change as a consequence of 21st century urbanization. Making steady inroads into fertile farmlands, lush forests, thriving wetlands, and productive grasslands, urban expansion is steadily converting biodiverse lands in shades of blues and greens into swathes of gray concrete. The United Nations World Population revision estimates...

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    November 20, 2016

    A Barley Field Grows on Soviet Concrete
    Andrea Tamm and Ann Press, Tallinn

    In the summer of 2016, the largest Soviet-era residential area of Estonia was living a new life. The district Lasnamäe, including Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn, was built in the late 70s, but it has fallen into stagnation. Little has changed since its inception, and those big plans are still unfinished....

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    November 16, 2016

    Social Media Sharks and Tell-Tale Vultures—Connecting to Nature in a Digital Age
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    Nature is being lost all around us. It is alarming in its implications for both livability and sustainability. How can we better connect to nature in a distracted digital world? Although it may not be intuitive, these are also promising times because of all the digital tools and technology we...

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    November 14, 2016

    Tim Ingold’s “Sustainability of Everything”
    Chris Fremantle, Ayrshire, Scotland

    A review of Tim Ingold‘s lecture event “The Sustainability of Everything” at the Centre for Human Ecology, Pearce Institute, Glasgow, Scotland Sustainability is an overused word. It is much diminished by its occurrence in too many documents purporting to suggest that transport, local government or this tea or those coffee...

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    November 13, 2016

    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...

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    November 9, 2016

    Wouldn’t it be Better if Ecologists and Planners Talked to Each Other More?
    Diane Pataki, Salt Lake City
    Sarah Hinners, Salt Lake City
    Robin Rothfeder, Salt Lake City

    If planners and ecologists found more ways to work together, would cities look different? Would they be better? The idea of planning and designing urban spaces from an ecological perspective goes back to the very origins of the disciplines of ecology, planning, and design. Frederic Law Olmsted precipitated a landmark movement...

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    November 6, 2016

    Are You Connected?
    Erik Andersson, Stockholm

    I am an unreserved admirer of landscape scenery and mountain vistas, space, and the connection between site and surroundings has always interested me. When I was first in Japan, I spent a lot of time visiting and enjoying parks. Aesthetics and presentation are very important for how we interpret and...

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    November 6, 2016

    Resilience isn’t only about infrastructure. How can we better support community-based environmental stewardship in readiness, response, and recovery from disturbance?
    Weston Brinkley, Seattle
    Katerina Elias, São Paulo
    Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore
    Jonathan Halfon, New York City
    Heather McMillen, Honolulu & New York City
    Luciana Nery, Rio de Janeiro
    Raul Pacheco-Vega, Aguascalientes
    Renae Reynolds, New York City
    Hita Unnikrishnan, Bangalore
    Paula Villagra, Valdivia
    Karen Zumach, Minneapolis

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    November 2, 2016

    Where Did All the Streams Go?
    Eric Sanderson, New York
    Christopher Spagnoli, New York

    A review of Hidden Waters of New York City: A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams in the Five Boroughs. By Sergey Kadinsky. Countryman Press, Woodstock, VT. ISBN: 9781581573558. 336 pages. Buy the book. There is something about a stream that just won’t let go...

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    November 2, 2016

    The Co-City: From the Tragedy to the Comedy of the Urban Commons
    Sheila Foster, New York City

    “Urban commons: the goods, tangible, intangible, and digital, that citizens and the Administration, [through] participative and deliberative procedures, recognize to be functional to the individual and collective wellbeing…to share the responsibility with the Administration of their care or regeneration in order to improve [their] collective enjoyment” —From Section 2 of...

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    October, 2016

    October 24, 2016

    Building Urban Science to Achieve the New Urban Agenda
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Sue Parnell, Cape Town
    David Simon, Gothenburg
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Xuemei Bai, Canberra
    Owen Gaffney, Stockholm
    Debra Roberts, Durban
    Aromar Revi, Bangalore

    The New Urban Agenda, being adopted at Habitat III, requires a coherent and legible global urban scientific community to provide expertise to direct and assess progress on urban sustainability transformations. As we have commented in Nature’s special section on Habitat III, the urban research community is currently institutionally marginalized and...

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    October 20, 2016

    Viola Has an Acorn in Her Pocket
    Stephan Barthel, Stockholm

    I live in Stockholm, Sweden. I enjoy talking walks in the autumn, inhaling the scent from degrading debris, kicking around dead leaves, and gazing at the vivid colors. This fall, my baby daughter has often followed me on my walks. Her name is Viola, and she is 4 years old....

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    October 17, 2016

    Embedding Urban Ecology into Policy: West Berlin as a Case Study
    Katharine Burgess, Washington, D.C

    A review of Greening Berlin: The Co-Production of Science, Politics and Urban Nature. By Jens Lachmund. 2013. MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262018593. 320 pages. Buy the book. The overgrown train tracks of Gleisdreieck Park. The community gardens and art installations of Tempelhofer Feld. The flora and fauna of Südgelände Nature Park....

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    October 17, 2016

    Georgetown, Guyana—the Birding World’s Best Kept Secret?
    Melinda Janki, Georgetown, Guyana

    Georgetown, Guyana, is one of the world’s smallest capital cities, a mere six mi.2 according to its official boundaries. The Dutch laid out this city, perched on the northern Atlantic coast of South America, in the 18th century; the British expanded it in the 19th and 20th centuries. Tree-lined avenues,...

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    October 16, 2016

    It Takes a Village to Green an Alley
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Story Notes: More and more cities throughout the world are turning to parks, gardens, green roofs, and other kinds of “green infrastructure” to soak up storm water and simultaneously create vibrant new patches of open space for their citizens. In this podcast, produced by Philip Silva, we explore three cases of...

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    October 12, 2016

    Making Connections and Feeding Relationships: Reflections from a Biocultural Axiom of Aloha
    Heather McMillen, Honolulu & New York City

    What if urban resource management and conservation reflected not just the politics and science of the day, but were rooted in creation stories, place-name stories, and personal stories about the relationships people have with place? This kind of thinking is at the heart of traditional ways of stewarding the environment...

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    October 11, 2016

    Habitat III is finally a reality. From your perspective, what would be the single most important tangible outcome (not output) of the event—short or long term—and what will it take to achieve this outcome?
    Yunus Arikan, Bonn
    Xuemei Bai, Canberra
    Genie Birch, Philadelphia & New York
    Maruxa Cardama, Brussels
    Bharat Dahiya, Bangkok
    PK Das, Mumbai
    David Dodman, London
    William Dunbar, Tokyo
    Anjali Mahendra, Chapel Hill & New Delhi
    Jose Puppim, Johor Bahru / Cambridge / Rio
    David Satterthwaite, London
    Huda Shaka, Dubai
    David Simon, Gothenburg
    Pengfei XIE, Beijing
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

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    October 5, 2016

    If You Build It, They Will Come: Modifying Coastal Structures for Habitat Enhancement
    Nhung Nguyen, Singapore
    Karenne Tun, Singapore
    Lena Chan, Singapore

    Since the founding of modern Singapore in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles, the small island nation has developed from a sleepy fishing village into a modern day metropolis, and has lived up to the adage, “if you build it, they will come”. Particularly over the last eight decades, Singapore’s coastal...

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    October 2, 2016

    Closing the Gap Between Girls’ Education and Women in the Workforce
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Nilofar* leans over to pour us more tea. All conversations in Central Asia seem to start with tea. She is asking questions about our trip, wondering why we are walking from Bangkok to Barcelona. She wants to know if we have always traveled, how we can afford the trip, if...

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    September, 2016

    September 28, 2016

    Designing Ecologically Sensitive Green Infrastructure that Serves People and Nature
    Christine Thuring, Sheffield

    “Cities separate us from nature, do they not?” —Light, 2003 No, they don’t; or at least they don’t have to. The good news: green infrastructure is expanding and gradually softening a proportion of our planet’s increasingly urban surface. It appears we’re on the right track, as recent years have witnessed...

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    September 26, 2016

    Urban Wildlife—Celebrating the Commonplace
    Mike Houck, Portland

    A review of Field Guide to Urban Wildlife: Common Animals of Cities & Suburbs How They Adapt & Thrive by Julie Feinstein. 2011. Stackpole Books. ISBN978-0-8117-0585-1. 453 pages. Buy the book. While it may have set a Guiness record for longest subtitle, Julie Feinstein’s Field Guide to Urban Wildlife caused me to...

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    September 25, 2016

    How can we make urban nature and its value more apparent, more “visible” to people?
    Simone Borelli, Rome
    Sarah Charlop-Powers, New York
    Marcus Collier, Dublin
    Sven Eberlein, Oakland
    David Goode, Bath
    Leen Gorissen, Antwerp
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro
    Seth Magle, Chicago
    Polly Moseley, Liverpool
    Ragene Palma, Manila
    Jennifer Sánchez, San José
    Richard Scott, Liverpool
    Chantal van Ham, Brussels
    Gavin Van Horn, Chicago
    Mark Weckel, New York
    Mike Wetter, Portland
    Niki Frantzeskaki, Rotterdam
    Hastings Chikoko, Johannesburg

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    September 25, 2016

    The Promise of the Big City: Migrants and Refugees Will Come to Your City. It’s Not a Novel Idea, but Cities Act Like it Is
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    “My husband is in Moscow.” “My son and his wife moved to Moscow a few years ago.” “My brother and sister work in Moscow.” “I want to go to Moscow. I can find a job there, and make more money than here.” We heard all sorts of versions of this...

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    September 21, 2016

    HERITAGE: Downtrodden and Torn Down
    Steve Brown, Sydney

    Sydney is in heritage crisis mode. Ancient Aboriginal campsites are being dug-up and destroyed. Low-income residents are being forcibly removed from their long occupied, heritage-listed, city-centre homes and apartments. Magnificent and much-loved trees are being uprooted from their parkland settings. These actions are having emotional affects for individuals and communities,...

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    September 18, 2016

    Three Key Ideas for Making Sense of Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Ecosystem Management
    Camilo Ordóñez, Toronto

    The sustainability of urban ecosystems depends on how we respond to future social, economic, and environmental challenges. From reducing the negative effects of highly engineered infrastructure on the ecological functioning of natural systems in cities, to achieving a more equal provision of ecosystem services in the urban social landscape, each...

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    September 14, 2016

    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...

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    September 12, 2016

    Talking the Walk—Narrating and Navigating the Life of the Los Angeles River
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles

    A review of Rosten Woo’s “Bowtie Nature Walk,” available at the Bowtie Parcel on the east side of the Los Angeles River’s Glendale Narrows. A map and tour audio files are available here. A “nature walk” seems like an unlikely activity to find on the industrial banks of the Los...

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    September 11, 2016

    Welcome to Beijing? The Migrant Population is Critical to Building an Inclusive Beijing
    Pengfei XIE, Beijing

    As the world is fighting against climate change, many Chinese cities are now trying to transition towards a low-carbon development pathway. Beijing, the capital city of China, promised to peak its carbon emissions by 2020, an ambitious target that inspires all of its citizens. And the city has actually made...

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    September 11, 2016

    How Did Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon River Restoration Get Its Start? TNOC Podcast Episode 10
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Story Notes: A casual chat on a bus nearly thirty years ago led to the improbable removal of a major elevated highway and the restoration of a beloved river in the old city center of Seoul in South Korea. Dr. Soo Hong Noh, a professor of environmental engineering at Yonsei...

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    September 6, 2016

    Using Green Infrastructure to Tackle New Orleans’ Water Management Woes
    Josh Lewis, New Orleans

    Several months ago, the City of New Orleans was awarded $141 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (or HUD) to implement a wide-ranging green infrastructure project in the city’s Gentilly neighborhood. The main goal of this project, known as the “Gentilly Resilience District,” is fairly...

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    September 4, 2016

    The Rivers Have Called Upon Us
    Niki Singleton, New York City

    As I was reading Musagetes’ Manifesto on Economic Dignity and getting all passionate about activism, the usual disturbing and stressful noise from the construction of a new ferry pier next to the construction site of another huge tower on the East River in New York City started up. The new...

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    September 1, 2016

    Torpor and Awakening
    Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti, Vancouver

    I am from a family with Indigenous Latin American and German ancestry. I have been to many different countries and lived in different places. I believe this is partly because the Indigenous tradition my family comes from is nomadic. They see the earth as a living entity, and if they...

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    August, 2016

    August 29, 2016

    Timely Tales of Urban Nature
    Gavin Van Horn, Chicago

    A review of City Wilds: Essays and Stories about Urban Nature by Terrell F. Dixon. 2002. The University of Georgia Press. ISBN: 978-0820323398. 336 pages. Buy the book. Writing this review came with a built-in challenge: Is an anthology, now almost 15 years old, worth a reader’s time and money? I...

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    August 28, 2016

    Formes pour vivre: An Experiment in Ecological-Environmental-Scientific Poetics
    Karen Houle, Guelph

    In this short essay my aim is modest and two-fold. First, I would like to share with you a story about an experiment in ecological-environmental-scientific-poetics that worked out beautifully. It worked so well that I believe it is worth sharing. Second, in the spirit of sharing, so that others can try...

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    August 25, 2016

    ONE LANDSCAPE: A MINI Treatise on the Suburban MEGA City and Tactics to Design Within It
    Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth

    Different schools of professional and academic thought have recently emerged to address the unprecedented problems of the sprawling megacity. One particular group believes that solutions will emerge from the cultivation of data and vast amounts of statistical research. This activity, which is sometimes referred to a “datascaping”, reduces the complex...

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    August 21, 2016

    Farmers, Chefs, and Lawyers: Building an Ecology of One
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    We live in an ecology of separation. Our human-built ecology is today so far separated from the earth’s ecology that it is impossible for sustainability—let alone environmental and social well-being—to be achieved within it. This is where we are as a society, but we don’t have to be stuck here....

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    August 17, 2016

    Chicks in the City
    Valerie Gwinner, Nairobi

    Urban livestock has long been viewed as dirty, unsafe, and decidedly un-modern by both policymakers and members of the general public. Yet, for many people living in and near the cities of developing countries, animals are a key source of food, nutrition, and livelihood. In Kenya, peri-urban chicken production has...

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    August 15, 2016

    Better Places Add Up to Better Cities
    Traci Sooter, Springfield

    A review of Good Urbanism: Six Steps to Creating Prosperous Places by Nan Ellin. 2012.  Island Press. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-374-4. 141 pages. Buy the book. Many people have a desire to improve spaces in their cities and neighborhoods, but most don’t know where to begin or what steps to take to see a community...

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    August 14, 2016

    What are the unifying elements of an urban ecology of the Global South and geographic south? Are they different than those in the north?
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    Olga Barbosa, Valdivia
    Timothy Bonebrake, Hong Kong
    Bharat Dahiya, Bangkok
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Sabina Caula, Ibarra, Ecuador
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut
    Yvonne Lynch, Melbourne
    Colin Meurk, Lincoln
    Sue Parnell, Cape Town
    Steward Pickett, Poughkeepsie
    Luis Sandoval, San José, Costa Rica
    Seth Schindler, Sheffield
    Tan Puay Yok, Singapore

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    August 14, 2016

    Citizen Science Facilitates Both Science and Engagement
    Laura Booth, San Francisco

    When I pulled up in my friend’s truck to the tunnel entrance to the Marin Headlands, part of San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, I entered what appeared to be a fine mist of white plant fluff. I turned off the motor and observed. Incidentally, the white plant fluff had...

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    August 10, 2016

    Some Birds Love Cities—Can Cities Love them Back? TNOC Podcast Episode 9
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story Notes:  House sparrows, rock pigeons, and red-tailed hawks are three bird species that have successfully—and very visibly—adapted to life in cities. Yet as the number and the size of cities across the globe continues to grow, more birds find themselves dealing with the challenges and the...

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    August 7, 2016

    Elephants in the City
    Lynn Wilson, Vancouver

    I recently spent a month in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and have been reflecting on my experience ever since. Chiang Mai is a beautiful and vibrant city, rich in culture and history. The Buddhist religion permeates every aspect of the city and surrounding countryside, with temples and symbols of Buddhism everywhere....

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    August 3, 2016

    Water as a Commons in Detroit, the Great Lakes, and Beyond
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit

    For a state surrounded by fresh water, Michigan, in the northern United States, certainly has had its share of water woes lately. Michigan’s water has always been our crowning glory; from our geography to our automobile license plates, the Great Lakes define us. As we hit the height of summer,...

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    August 1, 2016

    Lessons from Beasts, Birds, and Other Inhabitants of the Urban Jungle
    Chris Hensley, Fresno

    A review of The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. 2013. ISBN: 978-0316178525. Little, Brown and Company. 338 pages. Buy the book. Bestiaries—elaborate and fantastical combinations of medieval scientific knowledge and folklore—were meant to describe the animal life of the Earth. These large volumes depict all...

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    July, 2016

    July 31, 2016

    The Aburrá Valley Must Finally Understand: Water is Also Nature!
    Gloria Aponte, Medellín

    Understanding the nature of the place in which a city exists must be a priority, and involves sensible use of the local context, building in a manner consistent with the particularities of topography—an imperative highlighted in the Colombian Andes—and appropriate integration with hydrology and water flow systems, biodiversity, and other...

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    July 27, 2016

    Skin the City
    Paula Segal, Brooklyn
    Daniel Eizirik, Porto Allegre

    The skin of the city shifts. Waves of residents come and go; meanings vanish. The longer I live here, the more I feel like I am a creature of many phantom limbs. Hungry, I walk to Jimmy’s hoping for fish and a chair to eat it in, but it is...

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    July 24, 2016

    What Do Rotterdammers Want in Green Infrastructure? We Asked Them
    Marthe Derkzen, Amsterdam

    Now that urban greening is increasingly seen as a climate adaptation strategy, the question is how to best provide the necessary green space. Where, at which scale, and what type of greenery? Which design is preferred? And how can municipalities increase public support for green adaptation measures? To find answers...

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    July 20, 2016

    The Life Outside Gated Communities
    Ragene Palma, Manila

    It’s a sunny morning and I leave the house, walking towards the gate of our subdivision. It’s just a few meters, downhill, around that pechay plantation, then uphill, typical of the sloping contour of Marikina Valley. In the two minutes and few meters, I see almost no one. Perhaps just...

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    July 18, 2016

    The High Line. Foreseen. Unforeseen.
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    A review of The High Line. By James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofido + Renfro. 2015. ISBN: 9780714871004. Phaidon Press. 452 pages. Buy the book. New York City’s High Line Park, once a rusting relic of abandoned freight rail transportation infrastructure, has become arguably one of the world’s best-known...

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    July 17, 2016

    When Will We Start to Green the Roofs of Cities on a Massive Scale?
    Andrew Clements, Corinth

    The urban heat island is a well-known phenomenon that affects all cities around the world. It is the difference in temperature between a city and the surrounding suburban area. In countries such as Greece, the peak summertime temperature difference between a city such as Athens and its periphery can be...

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    July 12, 2016

    The Forgotten Rurality: The Case for Participatory Management in Bogotá and its Surrounding Countryside
    Diana Wiesner, Bogota

    En español aquí. We often think of the city and the country as separate, and that development planning and urban sustainability ends at the city boundary. But this isn’t true—in a planning and sustainability sense, the city and the surrounding rural areas are deeply linked. With this in mind, I would...

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    July 10, 2016

    Restoration of Natural Ecosystems Makes Society Thrive
    Chantal van Ham, Brussels

    Our planet is at a crossroads. The ecosystems that underpin our economy, well-being, and survival are collapsing, species are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate, and climate change continues unabated. In these times of change, nature-based solutions can offer a way of addressing growing challenges such as climate change (TNC,...

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    July 6, 2016

    Unbounding Aboriginal and Settler Urban Natures
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

    On 21 June 2016, I committed to reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report executive summary as part of a national (Canadian) collective challenge. What is the TRC report and what does it have to do with urban natures and sustainable cities? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established...

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    July 4, 2016

    Gazing at the Gowanus
    Keerthi Potluri, New York City

    A review of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal. By Joseph Alexiou. 2015. ISBN: 9781479892945. NYU Press. 2015. 398 pp. Buy the book. Even a brief summer shower can cause fresh human waste to spill into the Gowanus Canal, as anyone who lives along one of America’s most polluted waterways can tell you from...

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    July 3, 2016

    Accessing Urban Environmental Education Opportunities Via Green Infrastructure
    Laura Cole, Columbia, MO
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro
    Alex Russ, Ithaca

    The term “sustainable city” evokes images of green roofs, energy-efficient buildings, bioswales, bike lanes, urban forests, and other types of green infrastructure. These urban features clearly have value for ecosystem and human health, but they also have great educational potential. Green infrastructure can help urban residents improve their understanding of...

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    June, 2016

    June 30, 2016

    Urban agriculture has many benefits. Is one of them a contribution to urban sustainability?
    Jane Battersby, Cape Town
    Katrin Bohn, Brighton
    Christopher Bryant, Montreal
    Easther Chigumira, Harare
    Evan Fraser, Guelph
    Kelly Hodgins, Guelph
    Patrick Hurley, Collegeville, PA
    Francois Mancebo, Paris
    Idah Mbengo, Harare
    Innisfree McKinnon, Menomonie
    Leslie McLees, Eugene
    Geneviève Metson, Vancouver
    Navin Ramankutty, Vancouver
    Kristin Reynolds, New York City
    Esther Sanyé-Mengual, Bologna
    Shaleen Singhal, New Delhi
    Kathrin Specht, Müncheberg
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem
    Andre Viljoen, Brighton
    Claudia Visoni, São Paulo

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    June 30, 2016

    Cycling Politics, Identities, and Cultures
    Huda Shaka, Dubai

    The case for cycling in cities could not be more obvious: it is an emission-free, noise-free, healthy, cheap, accessible mode of transport. However, there is a lot more to promoting and planning for cycling, particularly in terms of understanding the politics, identities, and cultures associated with it—not just at a...

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    June 28, 2016

    Despite Strategic Focus on Resilience, Nature-Based Solutions May Remain Under-Utilized in Indian Cities
    Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore

    Cities are considered to be at the forefront of sustainability practices (Rosenzweig et al., 2010) aimed at addressing the impacts of global environmental change and socio-economic inequality. Recent developments in research on urban resilience promote ecological responses to climate change and other urban stressors (McPhearson et al., 2016; European Commission,...

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    June 26, 2016

    Urban Ecology Reformation is Spreading Across the Globe
    Mark McDonnell, Melbourne
    Ian MacGregor-Fors, Xalapa
    Amy Hahs, Ballarat, Australia

    Our world is rapidly urbanizing at a rate that is unprecedented in the history of human kind. In 2014, the urban population reached nearly 4 billion people and it is predicted to gain an additional 2.5 billion people, most of whom will reside in African and Asian cities. Although the...

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    June 23, 2016

    Is There a Suburbia 2.0? Ideas for Designing the Next Generation of Suburbs
    Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth

    A review of A Sequel to Suburbia: Glimpses of America’s Post-Suburban Future. By Nicholas A. Phelps. 2015. ISBN: 9780262029834. MIT Press. 248 pages. Buy the book. James Joyce suggested that the creative work of an author—and I also include the work of an artist or landscape architect—presumes the intellectual level...

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    June 23, 2016

    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...

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    June 22, 2016

    What Should We Make of Jane Jacobs’ Critique of Parks in The Death and Life of Great American Cities?—TNOC Podcast Episode 8
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story Notes: Andy Hernandez walked into Washington Square Park on a sunny afternoon in 1981 with a cameraman, a boom box, and a mandate to make a music video for a medley of new songs by Kid Creole and the Coconuts, his downtown New York City band. With...

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    June 21, 2016

    What is the Meaning of a Potato? Cuisine as Language for Biocultural Connectivity
    William Dunbar, Tokyo

    A cuisine is a “culinary language” that communicates values and forms bonds between people just as effectively as words. This was one of the messages of Mr. Gastón Acurio Jaramillo, Peruvian chef and “ambassador of Peruvian cuisine”, in his keynote speech at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in...

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    June 19, 2016

    Climate Adaptation Plans Can Worsen Unequal Urban Vulnerability
    Linda Shi, Boston
    Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski, Barcelona

    The Rockefeller Foundation announced its third and final set of its “Resilient Cities”, rounding out a group of 100 cities that have demonstrated success in and commitment to enhancing resilience to climate change and other natural or man-made disasters, among other urban challenges. These cities, along with hundreds of others...

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    June 16, 2016

    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...

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    June 14, 2016

    Intergenerational Urban Environmental Education
    Shih-Tsen Nike Liu, Taichung City
    Matthew Kaplan, University Park, PA

    In 1977, the Tbilisi intergovernmental conference on environmental education endorsed a set of guiding principles for environmental education. Some principles, including considering the environment in its totality, viewing environmental learning as a continuous lifelong process, and taking a historical perspective into account, lend support for intergenerational approaches to environmental education....

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    June 12, 2016

    Positive Youth Development in Urban Environmental Education
    Tania Schusler, Chicago
    Jacqueline Davis-Manigaulte, New York City
    Amy Cutter-Mackenzie, Gold Coast, AU

    Environmental education is often associated with environmental learning and pro-environmental behaviors. Some approaches to environmental education, however, also enable young people’s personal growth through the development of confidence, self-efficacy, and other assets that support an individual’s well-being. This chapter explores the intersection of urban environmental education and positive youth development....

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    June 9, 2016

    Early Childhood Urban Environmental Education
    Victoria Derr, Seaside, CA
    Louise Chawla, Boulder
    Illène Pevec, Basalt, CO

    Early childhood—which is generally defined as ages three through eight—is a foundational period when children rapidly move through milestones in physical, cognitive, social, emotional and language development (McCartney and Phillips, 2006). Cities offer unique environments for learning because they present young children with high densities of people from different backgrounds...

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    June 7, 2016

    How Edible is My City?
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    I find myself choosing the title for this contribution at a time of personal, public, and professional dilemma. Strangely, the dilemma stems from the need to vindicate the question itself. While it is perfectly acceptable to ask how green, how healthy, how prosperous or how popular a city is, the...

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    June 6, 2016

    Burden or Futureproof?
    Sam Holleran, New York City

    A review of Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World, Edited by Jared Green. 2015. ISBN: 161689300. Princeton Architectural Press. 176 pages. Buy the book. In the last several years our culture has taken a dystopian turn. Movies broadcasting bleak futures, such as The Hunger Games series...

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    June 5, 2016

    Climate Change Education
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    Chew-Hung Chang, Singapore
    Marna Hauk, Portland
    Bryce Dubois, New York City

    In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the New York and New Jersey shoreline, with winds of 145 kilometers per hour and a storm surge 4.3 meters above mean low water. The superstorm flooded the city’s subways, destroyed thousands of homes, washed away beaches and boardwalks, and caused at least...

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    June 2, 2016

    Towards the Water-Sensitive City
    Gary Grant, London

    From the very beginning, with the first urban settlements of Mesopotamia around 4500 BC, cities have required a clean water supply and some form of sanitation. As cities grew in size, the water supply tended to be sourced from further afield, with examples of aqueducts bringing clean water great distances...

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    May, 2016

    May 31, 2016

    Creating the Pioneer St Corridor: How the Tree Made Me See my Neighbors Differently
    Lindsay Campbell, New York City

    The tree made me see my neighbors differently. Since spring 2014, I have been making humble attempts to care for the street tree in front of my apartment building—described here. In becoming a steward, I began to perceive neighbors and passers-by as potential threats to the tree. Trash, dog poop,...

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    May 29, 2016

    Scentimental Associations with Nature: Odor-Associative Learning and Biophilic Design
    Sam Gochman, New York City

    When you walk outside after a summer rainstorm, you know it when it hits you: that distinctly earthy, musty, yet crisp scent that flows with optimism and a desire to be in nature as you take a long, deep breath. It is the smell of rain, known as petrichor, and...

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    May 28, 2016

    Common threads: connections among the ideas of Jane Jacobs and Elinor Ostrom, and their relevance to urban socio-ecology
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Johan Enqvist, Stockholm
    Sheila Foster, New York City
    Lisa Gansky, San Francisco
    Mathieu Hélie, Montréal
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Michelle Johnson, New York City
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    David Maddox, New York City
    Michael Mehaffy, Portland
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore
    Raul Pacheco-Vega, Aguascalientes
    Mary Rowe, New York City
    Alex Russ, Ithaca
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles
    Arjen Wals, Wageningen
    Abigail York, Tempe

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    May 26, 2016

    Sense of Place
    Jennifer Adams, New York City
    David Greenwood, Thunder Bay
    Mitchell Thomashow, Seattle
    Alex Russ, Ithaca

    Different people perceive the same city or neighborhood in different ways. While one person may appreciate ecological and social aspects of a neighborhood, another may experience environmental and racialized injustice. A place may also conjure contradicting emotions—the warmth of community and home juxtaposed with the stress of dense urban living....

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    May 24, 2016

    A Sustainable Future with Jobs and Social Harmony Starts with Urban Nature
    Buyana Kareem, Kampala

    According to the United Nations’ sustainable development framework, there are three dimensions of sustainability: (1) economic sustainability (jobs, prosperity, and wealth creation for all); (2) social sustainability (reduced vulnerability to poverty, inequality, and insecurity); and (3) environmental sustainability (production and consumption patterns that respect planetary boundaries) [Note i]. On the...

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    May 23, 2016

    Poetry Produces the Novel Language of Future Cities
    Laura Booth, San Francisco

    A review of Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City. 2000. Edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis. ISBN: 1571314105. 265 pages. Buy the book. How can poems advance our understanding of nature in cities? If cities themselves are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure, it follows that these...

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    May 22, 2016

    Market-Based Solutions Cannot Forge Transformative and Inclusive Urban Futures
    Richard Friend, Bangkok

    There is an advertisement that is played with great frequency on television in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Even without the language, the imagery is powerful and vivid; the meaning seems unambiguous. In the setting of a sparklingly clean, modern kitchen, a young pregnant woman goes to drink a glass of what appears...

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    May 19, 2016

    Parks as Magnets that Shape Sustainable Cities
    Amy Hahs, Ballarat, Australia

    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...

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    May 17, 2016

    Biophilic Urban Acupuncture: The Importance of Biophilia in Urban Places
    Jonce Walker, New York City

    As our cities expand and densify simultaneously, there is a need to design places to connect people to nature. If we are not careful, our commute and daily experience within the city will be nothing more than glass, steel, and concrete. This post articulates the need for biophilic interventions in...

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    May 15, 2016

    Ceci N’est Pas le Ciel: Biophilia, Design, and Illusions of Authenticity
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A recent post by an online design-oriented magazine devoted to things environmental declared that it had been a good week for the environment and proceeded to list a number of initiatives and new products that were almost exclusively to do with human technology. It struck me that the average tree...

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    May 12, 2016

    Look Who’s Coming to Dinner…Bacteria that Eat the Gowanus Sludge—TNOC Podcast Episode 7
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is well known throughout New York City as a nearly two-mile-long trench filled with sewage and chemicals left behind by years of neglectful pollution. Though the canal is slated for a multi-million dollar cleanup courtesy of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency...

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    May 12, 2016

    Changing Climate and Changing Cities: If You “Dress” Urban Planning Differently, You May be Able to Cope
    Paula Villagra, Valdivia
    Álvaro González Reyes, Valdivia

    We live in the city of Valdivia, located in southern Chile (40° S), known in the country for its good quality of life, high biodiversity (particularly the Valdivian temperate rain forest) and a high annual rainfall (2m average). This last point always surprises and troubles visitors, especially those who come...

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    May 10, 2016

    Practicing Community Environmental Education in Urban Settings
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca
    Mutizwa Mukute, Grahamstown
    Olivia Aguilar, Granville
    Mapula Priscilla Masilela, Grahamstown
    Lausanne Olvitt, Grahamstown

    Community environmental education prioritizes community wellness, and uses learning in and about the environment as a means towards community wellness and healing. It draws from place-based, youth and community development, participatory, and resilience approaches in environmental education. Recognizing that community environmental education is an emerging field lacking a clear definition...

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    May 9, 2016

    Case Studies from Colombia that are Valuable Across South America
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Naturaleza Urbana. plataforma de experiencias, edited by María Angélica Mejía. 2016. ISBN 978-958-8889-69-6. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá. 208 pages. The Spanish version of the book can be downloaded here. An English version will be available in September. In 2007, people living in towns...

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    May 8, 2016

    Designing for a Moving Target, Part II: Ensuring Human Health in a Changing Climate
    Chris Garvin, New York City

    Predicting the future is impossible, but climate science is beginning to paint a concerning image of a future troubled by climate change. My last feature post outlined the challenges climate change poses to our cities and aging infrastructure, but climate change also endangers our health and well-being. Climate change does not just...

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    May 5, 2016

    School Partnerships are Key to Vibrant and Sustainable Cities
    Polly Knowlton Cockett, Calgary
    Janet Dyment, Hobart
    Mariona Espinet, Barcelona
    Yu Huang, Beijing

    Urban schools—any public, private, or charter schools delivering formal primary or secondary education—are key institutions in the shaping of vibrant and sustainable cities. Imagining such cities depends on the assumptions and ideologies of those involved in the transformation of urban sites, and moving beyond perceiving urban schools as problematic institutions...

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    May 3, 2016

    Designing for a Moving Target, Part I: Adapting Our Buildings to a Changing Climate
    Chris Garvin, New York City
    Allison Bernett, New York City
    Chris Starkey, New York City

    High of 96°F today, much like the past week. Five days of relentless heat, and the humidity makes the city feel like a sauna that you can’t escape. The air buzzes with the sound of hundreds of window air conditioners that can’t seem to banish the heat from the buildings...

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    May 1, 2016

    Environmental Education and Advancing Urbanization
    David Maddox, New York City
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Alex Russ, Ithaca

    Cities—their design and how we live in them—will be key in our struggle for sustainability and, indeed, our future. As cities grow, as they are newly created, and as more and more people choose or require them as places to live, our decisions about urban design and city-building will determine...

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    April, 2016

    April 30, 2016

    Visions of resilience: Eighteen artists say or show something in response to the word “resilience”
    Juan Carlos Arroyo, Bogotá
    David Brooks, New York City
    Katrine Claassens, Cape Town
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Ganzeer, Los Angeles
    Lloyd Godman, Melbourne
    Fran Ilich, New York City
    Frida Larios, Antiguo Cuzcatlán, Copán, and Washington
    Todd Lester, Säo Paulo
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Mary Mattingly, New York City
    David Maddox, New York City
    E. J. McAdams, New York City
    Mary Miss, New York City
    Edna Peres, Johannesburg
    Caroline Robinson, Auckland
    Finzi Saidi, Pretoria
    Keijiro Suzuki, Yamaguchi & Nagoya

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    April 28, 2016

    lowlands—Small-Scale and Nimble Projects that Create Resilient and Just Cities
    Elliott Maltby, New York City

    A research and design framework, lowlands looks at public housing projects in environmentally vulnerable locations—specifically, low-lying lands, often on former marshes. A quick survey of New York City public housing projects demonstrates that this is a common condition; in many cases, land available for public housing wasn’t previously developed because...

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    April 26, 2016

    They are Not “Informal Settlements”—They are Habitats Made by People
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

    According to the UN, at least one third of the global urban population suffers from inadequate living conditions. Lack of access to basic services (drinking water and/or sanitation, not to mention energy, waste recollection, and transportation), low structural quality of shelters, overcrowding, dangerous locations, and insecure tenure are the main...

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    April 24, 2016

    Establishing New Models of Human Rights: Creating Clean Places to Live
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    A Burmese man surprises me with a question, an idea that will make my thoughts race for weeks. “They talk about human rights abuses and political prisoners and all of these things. Yes, these things are important,” the man says, referring to the collective, unknown “they” who create the rules...

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    April 21, 2016

    Shortcomings of the Paris Accord: We Need to Combat Air Pollution at Multiple Scales
    Christopher Sellers, Stony Brook

    As world leaders gathered recently in New York to sign the momentous Paris accord to curb future carbon emissions, the air in Indian cities such as Delhi continued to scale alarming heights of befoulment, and Chinese cities such as Beijing keep struggling to curtail the roiling murk in their own skies....

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    April 18, 2016

    Justice and Geometry in the Form of Linear Parks
    David Maddox, New York City

    Here at The Nature of Cities, we write a great deal about the benefits of “green” cities, widely construed. In particular, we write that green infrastructure and biodiversity in cities have broad benefits for people, nature, and, indeed, for the world at large through their effects on sustainability and resilience....

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    April 14, 2016

    Linear Parks: Meeting People’s Everyday Needs for Secure Recreation, Commuting, and Access to Nature
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Claudia Zuleyka Vidal, Cali

    In previous contributions to The Nature of Cities (for example, Das (2015); Tsur (2014)), some authors have reported successful experiences or projects of linear open spaces providing green access to more people across neighborhoods or adapting old infrastructure to modern needs. Linear parks are longitudinal areas, both green and grey,...

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    April 12, 2016

    Capturing Stewardship Stories: The Unlikely Tale of a Massive Open Online Course
    Kimberly Snyder, Ithaca
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca

    From a centuries-old pear tree marking the remnants of a castle in the Czech Republic, to an urban perimeter of abandoned ammunitions dumps in Spain, to a tiny balcony in cramped New Delhi—places that people care about dot the globe. Stewards, often driven by place attachments, meanings, and memories, defy...

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    April 8, 2016

    Confronting the Dark Side of Urban Agriculture
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    How do you like roller coaster rides? I love them—provided that I am sitting in the operator’s cabin and not in one of the small, shaken carts frantically moving up and down. In two of my last posts, The Nurtured Golem: A Nantes Neighborhood Transforms Environmental Bad into Good, and...

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    April 5, 2016

    Cities Are Home to Threatened Species. So What?
    Chris Ives, Nottingham

    My and my colleagues’ recent research from Australia has shown that cities are hotspots for threatened species (Ives et al 2015). There is a remarkable diversity of rare plants and animals that exist alongside the places where people live and work. While results from this new study are striking, they...

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    April 4, 2016

    Comparing Apples to Peaches: Cities in the United States and Canada
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    A review of America’s Urban Future: Lessons from North of the Border, by Ray Tomalty and Alan Mallach. 2016. ISBN: 9781610915960. Island Press. 312 pages. Buy the book. Canada and the United States share the longest unprotected border between two sovereign nations in the world. Current electoral politics in the...

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    April 3, 2016

    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 largest regional parks in the country. Yet, with so much concrete and sprawl, it...

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    March, 2016

    March 31, 2016

    A Threatened Old Forest Tells a Story Relevant to Every Urban Forest
    Myla Aronson, New Brunswick

    As I walk through the William L. Hutcheson Memorial Forest in Somerset, New Jersey, on this unseasonably warm March morning, I admire the 250 year-old oaks, towering above, reaching to the sky. Although small (26 hectares), this forest is one of the only remaining old growth forests in New Jersey...

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    March 29, 2016

    Small Rain Gardens for Stormwater and Biodiversity in the City: Learning from Traditional Ways
    Keitaro Ito, Fukutsu City

    “For whom do all the flowers blossom in the spring?” —A phrase of Zen word in springtime These days, especially in summertime, we have heavy rain in Japan. Stormwater usually goes into concrete drains and flows into rivers. Most of the land in urban areas in our country is covered...

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    March 27, 2016

    Réinventer Paris: A Competition to Write History with Nature in Paris
    Nathalie Baumann, Basel

    “Réinventer Paris”, or “Reinventing Paris”, the architectural program initiated by Anne Hildago (the Socialist mayor of the French capital) in autumn 2014 does not lack ambition. When I first heard about it, I was surprised and couldn’t really believe it until spring 2015, when I was convoked by two teams...

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    March 24, 2016

    How Perspectives of Field Arborists and Tree Climbers are Useful for Understanding and Managing Urban Forests
    Adrina Bardekjian, Montreal and Toronto

    When there is a storm, trees can cause damage to homes, cars, and people—ultimately, the tree itself is a casualty of a storm. At these moments, generally, the public perceives arborists as the heroes of storms—arborists remove the “problem” from their properties. But at most other times during the year,...

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    March 23, 2016

    Graffiti and street art can be controversial, but can also be a medium for voices of social change, protest, or expressions of community desire. What, how, and where are examples of graffiti as a positive force in communities?
    Pauline Bullen, Harare
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Ganzeer, Los Angeles
    Germán Gomez, Bogotá
    Sidd Joag, New York City
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    David Maddox, New York City
    Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

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    March 22, 2016

    People Working for Nature in Cities: the Invisible Revolution
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    In the Third Millennium, we live in a globalized urban world, where loss of local culture and deep social segregation are happening. Climate is changing faster than predicted, hitting cities and people hard: climate-related floods, landslides, droughts, heat waves, traffic disruption, and food shortage are increasing. For instance, in Brazil,...

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    March 20, 2016

    The Royal Bats of Kano City
    Aliyu Barau, Kano

    Out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 11 is a standalone goal for urban sustainability, with defined targets and indicators. SDG 11 can help urban policy and decision-makers and local people to think about and work towards urban sustainability. Most cities in developing countries, including in Africa, lack...

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    March 17, 2016

    What Can We Learn from Chinese Classical Gardens?
    David Goode, Bath

    Step off the street in Suzhou through a small door and you leave behind the bustling cacophony of a modern Chinese city to enter a different world of tranquility and calm, where natural features create a sense of being surrounded by nature in a tiny oasis that is a scholar’s...

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    March 15, 2016

    From Reactive to Proactive Resilience: Designing the New Sustainability
    Nina-Marie Lister, Toronto

    Long-term sustainability necessitates an inherent and essential capacity for resilience—the ability to recover from disturbance, to accommodate change, and to function in a state of health. In this sense, sustainability typically means the dynamic balance between social-cultural, economic, and ecological domains of human behavior necessary for humankind’s long-term surviving and...

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    March 14, 2016

    Knowing vs. Doing: Propelling Design with Ecology
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles

    A review of Projective Ecologies, edited by Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister. 2014. ISBN: 1940291127. ACTAR, Harvard Graduate School of Design. 314 pages. Buy the book. Several months ago, I reviewed Landscape Imagination, a collection of essays by James Corner, a professor at University of Pennsylvania and the landscape architect who...

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    March 13, 2016

    Land Use Planning: The Critical Part of Climate Action Plans that Most Cities Miss
    Emily Wier, New Haven
    Alisa Zomer, New Haven

    Cities pledge to reduce emissions and fight climate change—but do these commitments measure up? The transport sector makes up nearly one-third of urban emissions, a factor influenced by distances traveled and modes of travel. Most cities focus on policies to reduce emissions from modes of travel, such as encouraging residents...

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    March 10, 2016

    Footsteps Through Thailand’s Cities and Rural Areas
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    “Thailand is what you make it.” That’s what an ex-pat Westerner who relocated here a few years ago told us when we were strolling through Nakhon Sawan, a busy city in the country’s central/lower north region. This seems true in many regards, or at least from the on-the-ground impressions we...

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    March 8, 2016

    We Cannot Reduce Urban Inequality Unless We Fix Inequality in Exposure to Disaster Risk
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut

    Inequality is on the rise! Recent statistics published by Oxfam on the economy of the 1 percent show that the richest 62 billionaires own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population. The report goes on to show that the wealth of the poorest half of the...

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    March 7, 2016

    How To Put Information, Transparency, and Communities at the Center of Resilience Planning
    Richard Friend, Bangkok

    A review of Planning for Community Resilience: A Handbook for Reducing Vulnerability to Disasters, by Jamie Hicks Masterson, Walter Gillis Peacock, Shannon S. Van Zandt, Himanshu Grover, Lori Felid Schwarz, and John T. Cooper Jr. 2014. ISBN: 9781610915854. Island Press, Washington. 256 pages. Buy the book. Resilience certainly is the buzzword...

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    March 6, 2016

    Why Conserve Small Forest Fragments and Individual Trees in Urban Areas?
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    For many developers and city planners, it takes time and money to plan around trees and small forest fragments. Often, the message from conservationists is that we want to avoid fragmentation and to conserve large forested areas. While this goal is important, the message tends to negate any thoughts by...

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    March 5, 2016

    Landscape initiatives are in operation or in development in many parts of the world. What is key to making them work and be useful? How are they good for cities?
    Steve Brown, Sydney
    Martha Fajardo, Bogota
    Carla Gonçalves, Porto, Portugal
    Monica Luengo, Madrid
    Claudia Misteli, Barcelona
    Osvaldo Moreno, Santiago
    Liana Jansen, Cape Town
    Laura Spinadel, Vienna
    Kenneth Taylor, Canberra
    Menno Welling, Zomba

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    March 3, 2016

    Native Versus Alien Species in Fragmented Urban Natural Habitats: Who’s Winning?
    Luis Sandoval, San José, Costa Rica

    According to the United Nations, the second biggest problem for humanity after global warming is disorganized urbanization—urbanization without planning and integration of natural environments. Since 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of people live in urban areas, and this pattern is expected to keep increasing in the...

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    March 1, 2016

    Urban Nature that Reduces Risk in Kampala
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    I have written in previous articles (here and here) that Kampala’s urban landscape has been largely fragmented, just like the landscapes of many other cities. In fact, this is the common character of urban development. But it isn’t the only way. In this article, I illustrate the urban risks that...

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    February, 2016

    February 29, 2016

    The Flint Water Crisis Illuminated by Citizen Science—TNOC Podcast Episode 6
    Philip Silva, New York
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: Federal regulations make clean drinking something close to a guaranteed right for residents of cities in the United States, but not all urban water systems are created equal. Last year, independent scientists and grassroots activists discovered a widespread problem with lead levels in the water pouring...

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    February 28, 2016

    Is the Deluge of Urban Areas in India a Natural Phenomenon or Irresponsible Planning?
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai

    Increasingly, cities are becoming risky and vulnerable places to live in because of climate change; it is vital to integrate natural defences with gray, or built, infrastructure for sustaining cities. The past decade, from 2005–2015, has shown us what happens when we ignore the vital signs of urban ecosystems, which...

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    February 25, 2016

    Setting Out from Bangkok. TNOC Podcast Bangkok to Barcelona 01
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: I am Jenn Baljko, and my partner Lluís and I started walking from Bangkok, Thailand, back home to Barcelona, Catalonia. Along the 12,000km journey, we’ll explore the idea of just and green cities, occasionally posting our perspectives here on The Nature of Cities—photos, podcasts, and essays on what we...

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    February 25, 2016

    Photo Essay: Life and Water at Rachenahalli Lake
    Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore

    Rachenahalli is one of the few living lakes of Bangalore, in the north of the city. It is connected to water bodies upstream and downstream, particularly Jakkur Lake in the northeast. Both of these lakes have been rejuvenated, at substantial cost, by the Bangalore Development Authority over the last decade....

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    February 23, 2016

    Crosstown Walk Goes Global: Reflections From a Recent UrBioNet Workshop
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    I have just returned from an exhilarating week spent in a workshop with a collection of UrBioNet members. UrBioNet is a network of researchers, practitioners, and students with an interest in urban ecology and biodiversity. It is broad in its remit: while it offers opportunities for discussion and sharing, it...

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    February 22, 2016

    Green Infrastructure is Possible, and Necessary, for Communities at Multiple Scales
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Strategic Green Infrastructure Planning: A Multi-Scale Approach, by Karen Firehock, with chapter seven by R Andrew Walker. 2015. ISBN 978-1-61091-692-9. Island Press, Washington. 138 pages. Buy the book. Almost everyone knows what urban greening looks like and how much we need it in everyday life, but few understand why...

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    February 21, 2016

    Sustainable Cities Don’t Need Nature—They Need Good Design
    Philip Silva, New York

    We’ve seen a surge in new open space design initiatives here in New York City in the past decade, with projects as big and bureaucratically complex as the 2,200-acre Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island and as small and locally focused as the Bedford-Stuyvensant Community Garden in Brooklyn. Many of...

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    February 18, 2016

    Resilience and the Butterfly Effect: Could a Grain of Quinoa from Bolivia Influence Barcelona City Resilience?
    Lorenzo Chelleri, L'Aquila

    Edward Lorenz’s application of chaos theory to weather forecasting is better known to the general public as “the butterfly effect”, thanks to his conference presentation, “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” Lorenz’s law explains to us that there are unknown and...

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    February 16, 2016

    Setting Priorities with the Human Footprint, or Why I Am an Urban Conservationist
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    A frequent refrain in conservation is that we must prioritize. A cottage industry of conservation biologists, among whom I count myself, has risen to plan conservation and set priorities. And in nearly all of the hundreds or thousands of pages of conservation prioritizations that have already been published, nearly always...

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    February 15, 2016

    Intertwining People, Nature, and Place with Quilts and Thread
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of Earth Stories, an exhibition on view at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles now through February 28, 2016. The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is tucked into a rather plain looking beige building at the southern end of San Jose’s “SoFA” arts district....

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    February 14, 2016

    The Ecologies of Senses and Environmental Justice in Managua
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

    We experience the city through our senses. When we walk along city sidewalks or in parks, we can feel the city—we hear sounds, feel the materiality of the pavement or grass, and smell the car exhaust or freshly cut grass. These ‘sensual’ experiences of urban space are referred to as...

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    February 11, 2016

    Finding My Sustainable Way
    Miranda Gardiner, Frankfurt

    I’m lost. I started my career in sustainability for my friends and family, especially for their children. I had a desire to create a planet to enjoy, not one where they have problems breathing from air pollution, or can’t go outside during the summer because it’s too hot. I felt...

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    February 9, 2016

    The New Vocabulary of Urban Landscaping for Southern California
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles
    Kitty Connolly, Los Angeles

    The drought in California over the last few years has been long enough and sufficiently severe to compel mandatory urban water restrictions from the State Water Resources Control Board, an unprecedented policy move. The Board has also required, for the first time in state history, the reporting of per capita...

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    February 8, 2016

    Nature in Chicago: Surprisingly Wild, Surprisingly Human
    Chris Hensley, Fresno

    A review of City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness, edited by Gavin Van Horn and Dave Aftandilian. 2015. ISBN: 978-0-226-19289-5. University of Chicago Press. 377 pages. Buy the book. Normally, in these book reviews, I do my best to present a fair, unbiased account of what a book does...

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    February 7, 2016

    Carbon Capture Gardens: A Nature-Based Solution for Managing Urban Brownfield Soils for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    Mark Goddard, Newcastle

    I may have (just) missed the 2015 International Year of Soils, so please forgive me for jumping on the soils bandwagon somewhat belatedly. Before I go further, a disclaimer—I am no expert on soils, having only relatively recently begun working on a multidisciplinary research project on carbon capture in urban...

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    February 4, 2016

    A River Cresting in New Orleans: A Complex Choreography of Water, Technology and Bureaucracy that Only Sometimes Serves People and Nature
    Josh Lewis, New Orleans

    The sustainability and, indeed, future existence of New Orleans and the Mississippi River Delta depends upon a complex choreography of water, bureaucracy and infrastructure. The quandary for New Orleans can be summed up like this: how can we manage North America’s largest river in a way that mitigates seasonal flooding,...

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    February 2, 2016

    The Elephant in the Room: Amazonian Cities Deserve More Attention in Climate Change and Sustainability Discussions
    Eduardo Brondizio, Bloomington

    Justifiably, the Amazon region has been at the center of climate change discussions and negotiations since the late 1980s. It is not difficult to explain ‘justifiably’ when one is referring to a region of continental proportions, with unparalleled biological and cultural diversity, and whose biogeochemical cycles and atmospheric circulation processes...

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    February 1, 2016

    Ecodesign is for Citizens and Nature, not for Consumers
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs, by Jonathan Barnett and Larry Beasley. 2015. ISBN: 9781610913393. Island Press, Washington. 280 pages. Buy the book. This book has an unashamedly strong emphasis on the city of Vancouver as a model—a city that has taken a leadership role. “Hundreds of thousands” of...

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    January, 2016

    January 31, 2016

    The Value of Urban Trails
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    Mindy Fulllilove, Columbia University psychiatrist and author, likens pedestrian pathways and urban trails to arteries in the circulatory system of a city: essential conditions for creating a healthy city. There is much to be said for neighborhoods that are physically connected, and where it is possible to move across a...

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    January 27, 2016

    The Revalorization of Urban Nature, for Good and Ill
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    An image of expanding cities is associated, in most people’s minds, with the shrinking and gradual disappearance of urban nature. Yet, as life in cities becomes increasingly stressful and challenging, a gradual revalorization of urban nature is taking place across the cities of the world. The importance of urban nature is...

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    January 25, 2016

    The Heart, Brain and Soul of City Parks
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    A review of Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities, by Alexander Garvin. 2010. ISBN: 0393732797. New York, USA: W. W. Norton & Company. 224 pages. And City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts, by Catie Marron. 2013. ISBN: 0062231790. New York, USA. Harper. 304 pages. Buy the books. The last part...

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    January 24, 2016

    Values that Underlie the Landscape of Cities—Those that DO and those that SHOULD
    Gloria Aponte, Medellín

    Para leer la versión en español, haga clic aquí. Coexistence between nature and urban is not a matter of experts but a matter directly related to the “civic values.” —De las Rivas What is the shape and formal composition given by designers or people in general to nature in our cities?...

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    January 20, 2016

    Creative Place-Making—This is The Nature of Graffiti
    David Maddox, New York City
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    Paul Downton, Melbourne
    Emilio Fantin, Milan
    Germán Gomez, Bogotá
    Julie Goodness, Stockholm
    Mike Houck, Portland
    Todd Lester, Säo Paulo
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul
    Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles
    Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal

    Nature is all around us. Plants, animals, soil, air and water inhabit and animate our daily lives, whether you live in the country or in the city. We are invigorated by nature. We are inspired by its creatures, their beauty, and their existential meaning. We depend on nature’s services and...

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    January 20, 2016

    Can cities save bees? How can urban habitats be made to serve pollinator conservation? How can that story be better told?
    Katherine Baldock, Bristol
    Alison Benjamin, London
    Sarah Bergmann, Seattle
    Mark Goddard, Newcastle
    Damon Hall, St. Louis
    Tina Harrison, New Brunswick
    Scott MacIvor, Toronto
    Denise Mouga, Joinville
    Matt Shardlow, Peterborough
    Caragh Threlfall, Melbourne

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    January 16, 2016

    Greening Cities with an Urban Forest across Both Public and Private Domains
    Meredith Dobbie, Victoria

    At a time when the importance of trees in cities is gaining attention, the canopy cover of Australian suburbs is decreasing. Local councils’ response is to plant more trees in the public domain, but what of the private domain? A quick glance around many Australian suburbs suggests that residents do...

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    January 16, 2016

    Where Walking and Just Cities Meet
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    “We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down.” — Robert Sweetgall, walking guru and president of Creative Walking Inc. Walking. It’s a natural, human thing to do. Whether we wander through wide open green spaces or ramble around in cities, the simple act of putting one foot in front of...

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    January 16, 2016

    To Harness Ecosystems, Conserve Them
    Anna Backstrom, Melbourne
    Laura Mumaw, Melbourne

    A review of Conservation for Cities How to Plan and Build Natural Infrastructure, by Robert I. McDonald. Island Press, Washington. 2015. ISBN: 9781610915236. 268 pages. Buy the book. In Conservation for Cities, Robert I. McDonald seeks to “guide urban planners, landscape architects, and conservation practitioners trying to figure out how to...

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    January 10, 2016

    Lessons from Tinseltown: Nature’s Role in Alleviating Homelessness
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit

    We all know that nature in the urban environment can make our lives as city dwellers infinitely better, but can it create quality of life even for the displaced among us? Winter is here in the city of Detroit, Michigan. It’s cold, and people all over this northern city are...

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    January 7, 2016

    Should Bangalore Aim to Become a Smart City?
    Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore

    There is growing recognition that cities, which already house more than half the world’s population, require increased policy and development attention. India’s policy response to the need for sustainable, resilient and low-carbon cities is the Smart City mission. According to the Indian Ministry of Urban Development, the mission promotes “cities...

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    January 4, 2016

    Social-Ecological Urbanism and the Life of Baltic Cities
    Stephan Barthel, Stockholm

    Jane Jacobs critiqued modernist city planning in the now classic book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961). This book is now inspiring an urban renaissance. Jacobs proposed that a city must be understood as a system of organized complexity—in other words, as an ecosystem—and that any intervention...

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    January 4, 2016

    Leveraging Urban Form to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in China
    Pengfei XIE, Beijing

    A review of Towards Low Carbon Cities in China: Urban form and greenhouse gas emissions, edited by Sun Sheng Han, Ray Green and Mark Y. Wang. 2015. ISBN: 9780415743310. Routledge, New York. 216 pages. Buy the book. Urban morphology has a great impact on greenhouse gas emissions, a viewpoint supported...

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    December, 2015

    December 29, 2015

    Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2015
    David Maddox, New York City

    Today’s post is offered as a celebration of some of the content from 2015—a taste…a combination of TNOC writing from around the world that is a combination of diverse, widely read, a novel point of view, or somehow disruptive in an useful way. Certainly all 350+ TNOC essays and roundtables are great...

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    December 20, 2015

    Biocultural Diversity for Healthy Cities
    William Dunbar, Tokyo

    At the heart of the concept of biocultural diversity is the idea that much of culture is based in the natural world, so a diversity of cultures and cultural phenomena arises from a natural environment with great natural or biological diversity. Human culture and productive land uses can actually promote...

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    December 16, 2015

    Photo Essay: Untold Stories of Change, Loss and Hope Along the Margins of Bengaluru’s Lakes
    Marthe Derkzen, Amsterdam

    Before becoming India’s information technology hub, Bengaluru was known for its numerous lakes and green spaces. Rapid urbanization has led to the disappearance of many of these ecosystems. Those that remain face a range of challenges: residential and commercial construction, pollution and waste dumping, privatization, and so on. Today, Bengaluru’s...

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    December 14, 2015

    Sowing the Seeds of Green Urbanism: ‘Spring is Here and the Time is Right for Planting in the Streets’
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    A review of The Revolutionary Urbanism of Street Farm: Eco-Anarchism, Architecture and Alternative Technology in the 1970s, by Stephen E. Hunt. 2014. ISBN 978-1-906477-44-8. Tangent Books, Bristol. 246 pages, including 16 pages of illustrations. Visions of cities draped in vegetation are now de rigueur for any architect, planner or urbanist...

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    December 13, 2015

    Increasing the Native Plants of Colombian Cities
    Mateo Hernández, Bogotá

    I remember when I was a child growing up in Bogotá, the capital and largest city of Colombia, located in the cool, high-altitude environment of the Andean mountain range. Street and park trees were almost all of a few widely planted species: eucalypts, pines, cypress, acacias and ash. In a...

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    December 9, 2015

    Branch Waters Urbanism: A Concept of Landscape That Organizes the Chaos of “Jungle Cities”
    Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth

    Part one: natural potential from mega math Never before on the Earth or in the entire history of the human condition has something like a megacity been possible, until Tokyo and Mexico City appeared in 1950. Typically defined as a metropolis with 10 million residents or more, projections by the...

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    December 8, 2015

    An explicitly urban Sustainable Development Goal has been adopted by the UN (#11). Now what? Where could it go wrong?
    Genie Birch, Philadelphia & New York
    Ben Bradlow, Boston
    William Dunbar, Tokyo
    Peter Head, London
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Hui Ling Lim, Singapore
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala
    Jose Puppim, Johor Bahru / Cambridge / Rio
    Andrew Rudd, New York City
    Karen Seto, New Haven
    David Simon, Gothenburg
    Bolanle Wahab, Ibadan
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

       

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    December 6, 2015

    Discounting Our Engagement and Betraying Our Affections for Urban Nature
    Janice Astbury, London

    When Montréal’s Parc Oxygène was bulldozed in June 2014, a local newspaper article aptly spoke of a ‘neighborhood in mourning.’ The narration of its destruction by a neighbor is heart-wrenching (1). This small park in the midst of high rises was an urban oasis made and looked after by its...

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    December 3, 2015

    Can Large Parks be Urban Green Saviors?
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Richard Murray, Stockholm
    Henrik Waldenström, Stockholm

    A review of the Large Parks in Large Cities conference, Stockholm, 2-4 September 2015. The prognosis for urbanization is challenging—in the next 40 years, urban population will double. Under the growing pressure of modern urban development, large parks are valued by people more than ever. From the beginning of city...

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    December 2, 2015

    Nature: Medicine for Cities and People
    Chantal van Ham, Brussels

    Whilst urbanization has brought many benefits to society, it increasingly denies people of opportunities for the mental, spiritual and physical health benefits from nature. Over the last decade, there has been an alarming global increase in diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes [Note 1]. The...

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    November, 2015

    November 29, 2015

    Democratizing Sustainability Conversations to Create Resilience from the Soul
    Diana Wiesner, Bogota

    (Una versión en español sigue inmediatamente después.) “We must remember that what we observe isn’t nature itself, but rather nature exposed to our method of questioning and perceiving.” —Werner Heisenberg In order to talk about sustainability on an urban level, it is fundamental to have an understanding of the social...

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    November 24, 2015

    My Experiment with One Week of Zero Waste
    Briana Liu, Beijing

    This past summer in Beijing, my coworker initiated a zero waste campaign for the office. Under the campaign, we pledged to live zero waste (or, at least, to consciously minimize our waste to the most practical degree) for as long as we wanted to or could. Zero waste is an...

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    November 23, 2015

    Including Animals’ Perspectives Can Expand How We Define Cities
    Chris Hensley, Fresno

    A review of Urban Animals: Crowding in Zoocities, by Tora Holmberg. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-138-83288-6. Routledge, New York. 164 pages. Cities are largely viewed as cultural constructs, built by humans for humans. However, the reality is that animals, whether wild or domesticated, also participate in the creation and definition of cities...

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    November 22, 2015

    Air Pollution: Urban Myths and Realities
    Huda Shaka, Dubai

    You may have noticed ambient air quality returning to centre stage globally as a hot topic of discussion and debate. While the media coverage has helped draw attention to this critical issue, the plethora of data and views can cause confusion and can delay much-needed action. In this article, I...

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    November 18, 2015

    Neighborhood Planning for Resilient and Livable Cities, Part 3 of 3: Montréal’s Green, Active and Healthy Neighborhoods Project
    Nik Luka, Montreal
    Jayne Engle, Montreal

    The idea of the ‘neighborhood’ is reassuring, and it is our focus in this text, which explores how neighborhoods can help us to build and rebuild better cities for people. Good neighborhoods define cities and metropolitan regions at scales that are easier for us to relate to as humans, and...

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    November 15, 2015

    Close Encounters of the Moose Kind
    Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

    Now a century old, Anchorage has at various times during its short history proclaimed itself the “Air Crossroads of the World,” a “City of Lights” and a place of “Big Wild Life” (the latter for the community’s “perfect blend of urbanity and wilderness”). But I have long believed—and yes, opined...

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    November 10, 2015

    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...

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    November 9, 2015

    History, the Detroit River and Building an International Wildlife Refuge Right
    David Goode, Bath

    A review of Bringing Conservation to Cities: Lessons from Building the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, by John H. Hartig. 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9921007-4-2. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI. Ecovision World Monograph Series. 282 pages. John Hartig is currently the refuge manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge....

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    November 5, 2015

    Opportunities and Challenges in Working with Volunteers in Local Parks
    Lynn Wilson, Vancouver

    The urge to contribute one’s time, without compensation, to benefit a closely held cause or purpose appears to be a deeply rooted human need because volunteerism is found everywhere, in various forms and for every conceivable reason. For instance, every year, more than 13 million people volunteer in Canada, 63...

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    November 5, 2015

    Green Form and Function versus Green Nativism: In changing urban spaces full of novel ecosystems and natural assemblages, is native purity a viable option?
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town
    Erle Ellis, Baltimore
    Leonie Fischer, Berlin
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Madhusudan Katti, Raleigh
    Ingo Kowarik, Berlin
    Mark McDonnell, Melbourne
    Colin Meurk, Lincoln
    Matt Palmer, New York City
    Bill Toomey, Sandy Hook
    Yolanda van Heezik, Dunedin
    Paula Villagra, Valdivia

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    November 2, 2015

    Abandoned and Auctioned, an Old House Finds a Future in Flowers
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit

    A review of Flower House Detroit, which ran October 16-18, 2015 at 11751 Dequindre St, Hamtramck, Michigan. Once again, something amazing and ephemeral has appeared in Detroit. Flower House Detroit (which was actually located in the city of Hamtramck, 2 square miles enveloped by the city of Detroit) was, at its...

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    November 1, 2015

    How the White House Went Green: The Environmental Legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    Which American president administration of the last century has the strongest record on preserving the environment and natural beauty? Presidents Theodore or Franklin Roosevelt, who created the National Wildlife Refuge System (protecting 230 million acres) and established the Civilian Conservation Corps, putting 2.5 million people to work building trails and...

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    October, 2015

    October 28, 2015

    Life in the Trees
    Geoffrey Davison, Singapore
    Lena Chan, Singapore

    Roadside trees are not merely roadside trees. Roadside trees are living condominiums, packed with other organisms. They are functioning communities, complete with food chains, predators and prey, nutrient capture, nutrient cycling and recycling, and an organisational hierarchy. They extend their influence vertically upwards, horizontally and downwards. They are ecosystems in...

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    October 26, 2015

    Granny Flats and a Sponge House: Rethinking Necessities for the Future of Communities Along the Los Angeles River
    Allison Palenske, Edinburgh

    A review of “Shelter,” an exhibition on view at the Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles until Nov. 6, 2015. Although recent efforts to mitigate the characteristic poor air quality and largely suburban character of Los Angeles have been the focus of much debate and action, the city still faces...

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    October 25, 2015

    A Collaborative Project in City Planning for Urban Biodiversity in Japan
    Keitaro Ito, Fukutsu City

    From 2014, we have been taking part in a project in city planning for urban biodiversity in Fukutsu city, Japan. Our lab (Keitaro Ito laboratory, Kyushu Institute of Technology) has been directing the project in collaboration with Fukutsu city and high school students from Fukuoka Koryo high school and Fukuoka...

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    October 23, 2015

    The Case for All In Cities
    Angela Glover Blackwell, New York

    People of color are at the center of a demographic shift that will fundamentally change the global urban landscape. From the growing proportions of Latino, Asian, and African American residents in resurgent cities of the United States, to the diversifying capitals of Europe and the booming metropolises of Asia, Africa,...

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    October 23, 2015

    Home-Grown Justice In a Legacy City
    Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gary

    I am the mayor of a legacy city, a city that rose and fell on the fluctuations of an industrial marketplace.  Like Detroit, Cleveland, and dozens of other cities that have experienced continuous population and job loss since their peak, my hometown of Gary, Indiana, once provided the backbone of...

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    October 23, 2015

    How To Build a New Civic Infrastructure
    Ben Hecht, Washington

    In the United States of America cities have long been gateways to opportunity. For centuries, people from all over the country and the world, including my own grandparents, came to our cities chasing the promise of a better life. America’s bargain with its citizens, rich and poor was, in many...

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    October 23, 2015

    Justice from the Ground Up
    Julie Bargmann, Charlottesville

    Soil contamination is a baseline condition for most of the sites I’ve worked on over the past two decades. The toxic imprint derives from industry—steel production, shipbuilding, fabrication of automobile and machine parts, to name just a few—in both urban and rural settings. But it also comes from lead-containing gasoline...

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    October 23, 2015

    Public Imagination, Citizenship and an Urgent Call for Justice
    Teddy Cruz, San Diego
    Fonna Forman, San Diego

    1. A just city repositions inequality The conversation about justice and the city must begin with directly confronting social and economic inequality and prioritizing them as the main issue around which institutions must be reorganized. Contemporary architectural and urban practices must engage this political project head-on. We must question the...

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    October 23, 2015

    Resistance, Education and the Collective Will of the Just City
    Jack Travis, New York City

    What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune, the consumer has got to dance. That’s the way it is. We used to be a producer—very inflexible at that,...

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    October 23, 2015

    The Long Ride
    Scot Spencer, Baltimore

    If you have never been to Baltimore, you should come to visit. From Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, you can ride the light rail to downtown in 25 minutes for one of the best deals in the country. If you ride the train between Boston and Washington, you can...

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    October 23, 2015

    Up From the Basement: The Artist and the Making of the Just City
    Theaster Gates, Chicago

    Governance, despite its own hopes for a universality of exclusion, is for the inducted, for those who know how to articulate interests disinterestedly, those who vote and know why they vote (not because someone is black or female but because he or she is smart), who have opinions and want...

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    October 23, 2015

    Urban Spaces and the Mattering of Black Lives 
    Darnell Moore, New York

    It was close to midnight. A youngish, jovial-looking white woman with russet colored hair ran by me with ostensive ease. She donned earphones and dark, body-fitting jogging attire. I was walking home from the A train stop and along Lewis Avenue, which is a moderately busy thoroughfare that runs through...

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    October 23, 2015

    Why Design Matters
    Jason Schupbach, Washington

    My vision for a just city is one where design and its power as a tool against inequality is leveraged for the benefit of all residents. As the director of design programs at the National Endowment for Arts, and one of the U.S. government’s primary advocates for good design, I...

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    October 23, 2015

    Defining the Just City Beyond Black and White
    Toni Griffin, New York City

    When I think about the just city, it’s always black and white I was born in Chicago the evening before President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Growing up on the south side of Chicago meant that on an average day, I rarely saw or...

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    October 23, 2015

    An Antidote for the Unjust City: Planning to Stay
    Mindy Thompson Fullilove, New York City

    In 1993 or thereabouts I entered a contest for women to depict what they did on a particular day. That day, I went to meetings early in the morning at Harlem Hospital. I took photos of the abandoned buildings on West 136th, where I parked my car, and photos of...

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    October 23, 2015

    Creating Universal Goals for Universal Growth
    Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis

    There is a difference between equality and equity. Equality says that everybody can participate in our success and equity says we need to make sure that everybody actually does participate in our success and in our growth. A just city is a city free from both inequity and inequality. We...

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    October 23, 2015

    Justice that Serves People, Not Institutions
    Mirna Goransky, Buenos Aires

    The purpose of this essay is to share some considerations about the meaning of “just City” from the perspective of a lawyer dedicated to the reform of justice administration and, in particular, to the design of systems that promote, encourage and facilitate the approach of justice for the people. This...

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    October 23, 2015

    A Democratic Infrastructure for Johannesburg
    Ben Bradlow, Boston

    There are two main legacies that define urban inequality in South Africa: housing and transport. Apartheid was not only a racial ideology. It was also a spatial planning ideology. Johannesburg’s development into a wealthy, white core of business and residential activity, with peripheral black dormitory townships, was a result of...

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    October 22, 2015

    Cape Town Pride. Cape Town Shame
    Carla Sutherland, Cape Town

    I have lived in an array of fascinating cities, and visited a host of others. I have loved many (New York, Hong Kong, Harare and Berlin); been miserable in a few (London and Pretoria); oddly disappointed by some (San Francisco, Dublin and Sydney) overwhelmed by others (Shanghai and Cairo); and...

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    October 22, 2015

    A City That Is Blue, Green and Just All Over
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    Since humans settled about 10,000 years ago, we have significantly altered and explored the landscape to create the civilization we now have. The landscape has been a source of material and non-material resources, feeding us in all senses. Ecologically rich landscapes associated with technologies were essential for all societies to...

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    October 21, 2015

    Paleo Cities and the Return of the Hunter Gatherer
    Russell Galt, Cape Town

    Why do you feel and behave the way you do? Have you ever noticed how incredibly adept you are at bargain-hunting in the local supermarket; beachcombing for washed up treasures; or foraging for mushrooms, nuts, and berries? Have you ever wondered why sweet melodies of birdsong and fertile meadows of...

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    October 21, 2015

    Cities in Imagination
    David Maddox, New York City

    Resilience is the word of the decade, as sustainability was in previous decades. No doubt, our view of the kind and quality of cities we as societies want to build will continue to evolve and inspire new descriptive goals. Surely we have not lost our desire for sustainable cities, with...

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    October 21, 2015

    Ceci n’est pas une pipe: Unpacking Injustice in Paris
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

    “We all know the sound of two hands clapping. But what is the sound of one hand clapping?” says a famous Zen Koan. At first consideration, it seems impossible to conjecture about the “just city” without having already in mind what is an “unjust city,” and vice versa. But my opinion is that this...

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    October 20, 2015

    Turning to the Flip Side
    Maruxa Cardama, Brussels

    On the flipside you can do anything (…) the flipside bring a second wind to change your world. Encrypted recipes to reconfigure easily the mess we made on world, side B —Song ‘Flipside’, written by Nitin Sawhney and S. Duncan My brainstorming for this essay started thinking about the comprehensive list...

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    October 20, 2015

    A Just City is Inconceivable without a Just Society
    Marcelo Lopes de Souza, Rio de Janeiro

    Once upon a time the city was called the “marvelous” one: Rio de Janeiro, cidade maravilhosa. Rio was the birthplace of samba, chorinho and bossa nova; internationally famous for supposedly being a city of fun and carnival 365 days a year, it has been the capital city of Brazilian proverbial...

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    October 19, 2015

    Urban Latin America: How’s it Going?
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of the status of and need for green urban work in Latin America as of 2015. Throughout the Latin American continent, metropolitan areas and intermediate cities are growing rapidly with their individuality and particular regional features. More than 80 percent of the population in Latin America lives in...

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    October 19, 2015

    Karachi and the Paralysis of Imagination
    Mahim Maher, Karachi

    You want to read about a vision of a just Karachi? The contract killer ($50 a hit) ripping up the road behind Disco Bakery on his Honda 200CC and the secret service colonel cracking skulls in a Clifton safehouse will both cite one vision: Dubai. This happens to also be the...

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    October 19, 2015

    Right to the City for All: A Manifesto for Social Justice in an Urban Century
    Lorena Zárate, Mexico City

    [The Right to the City is] the right to change ourselves, by changing the city. —David Harvey, 2008  The cities we have The cities we have in the world today are far from being places of justice. Whether in the South, the North, the West or the East, the cities...

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    October 19, 2015

    Claiming Participation in Urban Planning and Design as a Right
    PK Das, Mumbai

    I believe that Urban Planning & Design (UP&D) should be considered a ‘Right’ and brought to public dialogue. The democratization of UP&D would be a significant step towards the achievement of just and equal cities. Exercising this right would be an effective means for bringing about much-needed socio-environmental change. The...

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    October 19, 2015

    Turning Migrant Workers into Citizens in Urbanizing China 
    Pengfei XIE, Beijing

    One of the root causes of inequity is urban and rural differentiation China is experiencing a massive migration to the cities, mostly due to the availability of jobs and better facilities. But the way the government administers citizenship also creates inequity and poverty. Since the founding of the People’s Republic...

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    October 19, 2015

     In It Together
    Lesley Lokko, Johannesburg

    “[A city where] everything comes together . . . subjectivity and objectivity, the abstract and the concrete, the real and the imagined, the knowable and the unimaginable, the repetitive and the differential, structure and agency, mind and body, consciousness and the unconscious, the disciplined and the trans-disciplinary, everyday life and...

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    October 18, 2015

    The Quest for Governance Modes on Sustainable Urbanization
    Buyana Kareem, Kampala
    Olumuyiwa Adegun, Johannesburg
    Collins Adjei Mensah, Cape Coast, Ghana
    Saleh Ahmed, Tucson
    Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski, Barcelona
    Ruishan Chen, Shanghai
    Uchendu Chigbu, Munich
    Aakriti Grover, Delhi
    Alice Hertzog-Fraser, Zurich
    Tracy-Ann Hyman, West Indies, Jamaica
    George Kinyashi, Dodoma, Tanzania
    Hayley Leck, London
    Karolina Łukasiewicz, Kraków
    Martin Maldonado, Cordoba
    Andre Ortega, Manila
    Lorena Pasquini, Cape Town
    Alisa Zomer, New Haven

    However complex the urban sustainability question is, the facts are clear to all. Over the next four decades, the global urban population is expected to nearly double, with the vast majority of this happening in Asian and African cities; if we do not rethink and coalesce our approaches and practices,...

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    October 14, 2015

    Dealing with Complex Urban Systems and Uncertainty: Insights from Northeast Thailand
    Richard Friend, Bangkok
    Pakamas Thinphanga, Bangkok

    It is now coming to the end of the rainy season—the point in the year at which the reservoirs across Thailand should be approaching maximum storage levels in order to provide the water resources that are needed for the full range of water uses through the dry season. But as...

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    October 12, 2015

    Are Individual Practitioners of Civic Ecology the Answer to Sustainability?
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    A review of Civic Ecology, Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up, by Marianne E. Krasny and Keith G. Tidball. 2015. ISBN: 9780262028653. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 328 pages. This is a book that seeks to highlight the heroic efforts of individuals to make a difference in the quality of life...

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    October 11, 2015

    A New Reconnection Agenda for People and Nature
    Chris Ives, Nottingham

    I have recently started working on a new project that will explore how reconnecting people with nature can help transform society towards sustainability (see http://leveragepoints.org). ‘Connectedness with nature’ has recently become a buzz phrase, with scientists, journalists and practitioners talking about the problems of disconnection, the benefits of reconnection, and...

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    October 7, 2015

    Towards Building Community Resilience in a Coastal Town in the South of Chile: Before Measuring, Explore Planning Tools
    Paula Villagra, Valdivia
    Mina Fallahzadegan, Los Rios

    In Chile, over recent years, there has been increasing attention to the concept of community resilience, especially in facing natural disasters. Community resilience is the capacity of a community to adapt to changes that occur after natural disasters. Such adaptation capacity is vital for satisfying survival needs (e.g. food and water),...

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    October 5, 2015

    Rah! Rah! for Rail: Solving Transportation in Cities
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    A review of Rail and the City: Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint While Reimaging Urban Space, by Roxanne Warren. 2014. ISBN: 9780262027809. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 336 pages. Like a dog with a bone, some of us just can’t let go of the notion of rail in cities. I’m certainly one...

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    October 4, 2015

    Why We Need Design Guidelines for Urban Non-Humans
    Paul Downton, Melbourne

    Earlier this year I had the good fortune to be invited to speak at a remarkable ‘Global Conference’ in Chantilly, France. The title of the session I was to contribute to was translated into English as ‘An urbanism built on a priority for fauna and flora’. This, it seems, was...

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    September, 2015

    September 30, 2015

    September 11, 2015: An Event Ethnography of Living Memorials
    Lindsay Campbell, New York City
    Erika Svendsen, New York City
    Heather McMillen, Honolulu & New York City
    Novem Auyeung, New York City
    Rachel Holmes, New Haven
    Michelle Johnson, New York City
    Renae Reynolds, New York City

    A reading of names. A procession. Placing flowers on memorials. Music. Moments of silence. Tolling of bells. Certain abiding symbols and gestures give structure to our memorial remembrances. In particular, we have come to expect a ritual formality and consistency at the World Trade Center site for remembering September 11,...

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    September 29, 2015

    What is the insurance value of urban ecosystems and their services?
    Victor Beumer, Delft
    Henry Booth, West Chester
    Mitchell Chester, Miami
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Alexandros Gasparatos, Tokyo
    Jaroslav Mysiak, Venice
    Rob Tinch, Brussels
    Henrik von Wehrden, Lüneburg
    Francis Vorhies, Divonne-les-Bains
    Koko Warner, Bonn

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    September 28, 2015

    Stormwater Management as Both Utility and Amenity
    Ben Feldmann, Los Angeles

    A review of Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, by Stuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker. 2015. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-266-2 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-266-7. Island Press, Washington. 284 pages. Stormwater is a topic of great interest, especially now that the plight of water has been heightened by environmental pollution, dwindling...

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    September 27, 2015

    The Nurtured Golem: A Nantes Neighborhood Transforms Environmental Bad into Good
    Francois Mancebo, Paris

     At the end of my last post, Unintended Consequences: When Environmental “Goods” Turn Bad, I raised the idea that sometimes environmental “bads” can also turn good, and that it usually works better when nobody “looks”. I mean that this process works better when the inhabitants take ownership of their living...

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    September 23, 2015

    What Pope Francis Might Do to Advance Climate Justice During His Visit to New York
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City

    Pope Francis visits the United States in late September 2015.  He will speak in Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia, including an address at the United Nations and to a full Congress. His visit will be an opportunity for reflection and—who knows—might possibly be a turning point in the United...

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    September 21, 2015

    Move Slow and Connect People with Nature: The Economics of Happiness in Jeonju
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of the International Conference on the Economics of Happiness, held on September 3-5, 2015 in Jeonju, South Korea. “We need to re-establish the link between city and land.” At the opening ceremony of the Economics of Happiness conference, we were happily greeted with this statement from the event’s...

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    September 20, 2015

    Shrink-ing Times Square
    Andrew Rudd, New York City

    1. What’s the matter with Times Square?  Several years ago, Helle Søholt, CEO of Gehl Architects, said that New York would be the most sustainable city in the world if only it fixed its streets. Million Trees NYC is one effort in that direction, as is the CitiBike bike share...

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    September 16, 2015

    Social Practice Artwork: A Restaurant and Garden Serving up Connections to Urban Nature
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    Can an urban garden help us remember what it means to be human? Three months ago, we opened a slightly audacious restaurant and garden in a working-class suburb of Osaka, Japan with the intent of connecting people more deeply with food and nature in their neighborhood. Experimental and temporary in...

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    September 14, 2015

    The Myths of Alien Species: An Alternate Perspective on “Wild”
    Divya Gopal, Berlin

    A review of The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation, by Fred Pearce. 2015. ISBN 978-0-8070-3368-5 / ISBN 978-0-8070-3369-2. Beacon Press, Boston. 245 pages. The New Wild is an intriguing book that looks at non-native species and nature in new light, challenging popular notions of ‘nativism,’ ‘wild’ and nature’s...

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    September 12, 2015

    Popup Parks Reveal the Nature of Cities
    Amy Hahs, Ballarat, Australia

    September 18 is Park[ing] Day, a day when metered car parking spaces are transformed and reclaimed for other purposes. This annual event was first held in the USA in 2005, but has now grown to include Park[ing] Day events in cities around the world. In looking at the innovation and creativity...

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    September 8, 2015

    What Makes a “Great” City Park? The Beholder Sees
    Adrian Benepe, New York City

    A review of Great City Parks; Second Edition, by Alan Tate with Marcella Eaton. 2015. ISBN 978-0-415-53802-2/ ISBN 978-0-415-53805-3/ ISBN 978-1-315-75071-2. Routledge, New York. 344 pages. In this thoughtful and detailed documentation of “great” city parks, which is enlivened  by spare and insightful opinions, I am reminded of the series...

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    September 7, 2015

    Civic Ecology Meets EdX: An Experiment in Online Social Learning and Action
    Marianne Krasny, Ithaca

    A pop-up garden in Kiev, volunteer “spotfixes” along sidewalks in Bangalore, and a flower garden planted atop a deadly landslide after an earthquake in Japan. These and other civic ecology practices are expanding in number. But how do we connect people across these disparate practices and places so that we...

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    September 2, 2015

    A New Urban Paradigm: Our Way of Looking at Cities Needs to Be Turned Inside-Out
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    According to the old urban paradigm, cities are crime-ridden, car-infested, unhealthy and over-crowded centers of humanity. Could we conceivably cherish nature, respect others, grow our own food, earn a reasonable living, and enjoy a healthy and equitable urban environment? Reversal of the old urban paradigm is not yet a given,...

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    August, 2015

    August 30, 2015

    Biocultural Diversity and the Diverse City: A Model for Linking Nature and Culture
    William Dunbar, Tokyo

    The concept of biocultural diversity— the coming together of biological and cultural diversity—is receiving more attention recently along with an awareness that elements of cultures all around the world are deeply rooted in the nature, or biological diversity, around them, and that greater cultural diversity comes with greater biological diversity....

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    August 26, 2015

    Inspiring Urban Youth for a Biodiversity-Friendly Approach to Development
    Oliver Hillel, Montreal
    Manuela Gervasi, Montreal

    The challenge of integrated approaches We all know that we are living in a deep crisis regarding the rate of our use of natural resources. We also know that addressing these problems will have inter-related and resonating effects. Such interconnection also has good aspects. Smart catalytic action can produce benefits across many levels—science...

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    August 24, 2015

    Risk: How Can We Put the UN, Governments, and the Public on the Same Page?
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut

    Urban populations—and the associated concentration of livelihoods and assets in cities—continue to increase worldwide, thereby increasing exposure to hazards. Coupled with aging infrastructure and housing stock, this trend leads to an increase in vulnerability. And this vulnerability is compounded by climate-change driven storms, sea-level rise, and associated flooding and landslides....

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    August 19, 2015

    Getting Our Nature On: Take a Train and Start Walking
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    How to bring together nature, fitness, and public transportation. A few weeks ago, my partner, Lluís, and I wanted to go for a two-day trek, to test some camping gear, to sleep outdoors, and to listen to birds while walking under the shade of pine trees. But we didn’t want...

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    August 16, 2015

    London: A National Park City
    David Goode, Bath

    Something very significant is happening in London. It’s a plan to make London the world’s first National Park City. Now that’s an idea that could catch on in a very big way. Over the past 18 months, a movement has been growing, drawing together Londoners who want to apply National...

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    August 12, 2015

    Let Streams of Linear Open Spaces Flow Across Urban Landscapes
    PK Das, Mumbai

    Can we re-envision our cities with a stream of linear open spaces, defining a new geography of cities? Can we break away from large, monolithic spaces and geometric structures into fluid open spaces, meandering, modulating and negotiating varying city terrains, as rivers and watercourses do? This way, the new structure of...

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    August 12, 2015

    Why don’t all public buildings have green roofs? Or all large private buildings (e.g. businesses)? Would this be a good idea? What would it take to make it happen and to make it worthwhile?
    Maryam Akbarian, Tehran
    Wolfgang Ansel, Nürtingen
    Nathalie Baumann, Basel
    Michael Berkshire, Chicago
    Rebecca Bratspies, New York City
    Amy Chomowicz, Portland
    Andrew Clements, Corinth
    Karla Dakin, Denver
    Stuart Gaffin, New York
    Dusty Gedge, London
    André Gonçalves, Goiânia
    Ulrike Grau, Mexico City
    Angela Loder, Denver
    Amosh Neupane, Middlebury
    Matt Palmer, New York City
    Kerry Ross, Calgary
    Kaveh Samiei, Tehran
    Julie Santos, London & Buenos Aires
    Kate Scherer, New York
    Mark Simmons, Austin
    Kevin Songer, Jacksonville
    Christine Thuring, Sheffield

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    August 10, 2015

    Glasgow Made the Clyde and the Clyde Made Glasgow
    Allison Palenske, Edinburgh

    A review of “Clyde Reflections,” an art film by Stephen Hurrel and  Ruth Brennan, on exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland. The west coast of Scotland has been known to enchant, with its rough coastal edges, intricately carved islands, charming towns, and an aquatic landscape that...

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    August 10, 2015

    Urban Nature as Festival: Berlin’s Long Day of Urban Nature
    Katharine Burgess, Washington, D.C

    Just before 10 am one Sunday this June, 300 people prepared for a boat ride on the River Spree, lining up in a park next to the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall. The boat was a cheerful blue and yellow passenger vessel, mostly used for river tourist excursions...

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    August 3, 2015

    James Corner on Reading and Imagining the Landscape
    Anne Trumble, Los Angeles

    A review of The Landscape Imagination: The Collected Essays of James Corner 1990—2010, by James Corner. 2014. ISBN 9781616891459. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 320 pages. James Corner’s prolific writing from the past two decades invites readers on a journey to discover the elusive medium of landscape. As one of the...

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    August 2, 2015

    Mapping the Forest for the Trees: A Census Grows in the Five Boroughs
    Philip Silva, New York

    New York City is home to more than 600,000 street trees, according to some estimates. But good luck finding any one of those trees on a map—that is, until now. For the first time ever, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation is working with thousands of volunteers to measure...

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    July, 2015

    July 27, 2015

    Get Your Blue Mind On
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    A review of the “Urban Blue,” the Blue Mind Five Summit, which took place on May 11, 2015 in Washington, D.C. “Get your blue mind on!” is a frequent expression and admonition of Wallace J. Nichols, known simply as “J” to most of us. J has been a leading thinker,...

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    July 26, 2015

    Ecologically Smart Cities: Keeping Urban Ecosystems Centre Stage in India’s Smart Cities Programme
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    On a path of accelerated urbanization, India is going through substantial changes in its land cover and land use. In 1950, shortly after Indian independence, only 17 percent of the country’s population lived in cities. Today, India’s urban population stands at 33 percent. India contains three of the world’s ten...

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    July 22, 2015

    How Does Your Garden Grow? Stories from South African Gardeners
    Pippin Anderson, Cape Town

    Why do we plant what we do in our personal gardens? It turns out it’s driven by a complicated mix of personal philosophy and social posturing, which sometimes are at odds. And, it turns out, in South Africa and many other countries, we don’t even plant our own gardens. This...

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    July 20, 2015

    How Tactical Urbanism “Adds Up”
    Sarah Bradley, Montreal

    A review of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change, by Anthony Garcia and Mike Lydon. 2015. ISBN 9781610915267. Island Press, Washington. 256 pages. Tactical Urbanism: it’s one of the buzz words in the emerging people-centred planning paradigm. If you do a Google News search of the term, you’ll find articles from...

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    July 19, 2015

    It’s all in the Details: Two Missouri Schools Team up to Design Tornado Resistant Home
    Traci Sooter, Springfield

    Designing for resilience is a complex undertaking. As David Maddox states in The Nature of Cities Global Roundtable, “to design for resilience suggests we can identify it, plan for it” and that “It’s a steep challenge, community by community”. Identifying, planning, and designing for location-specific resilience is just what a...

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    July 15, 2015

    The Rent is too Damned High: The Nature of Cities and the Original Gentrification
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    “The rent is too damned high.” You hear it on the subway, you hear it on the news, and you hear it exclaimed even by mild-mannered conservationists while perambulating in the park. The rising cost of urban housing is on everyone’s mind, from Mayor Bill de Blasio to the chattering...

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    July 13, 2015

    Trees of Life and Fruitful Relationships
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    A review of Arboreal Architecture: A Visual History of Trees, an exhibition on view at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, now through July 20, 2015. The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford is a beacon for global arts and culture in Silicon Valley—it opened its doors in 1894, nearly a century...

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    July 12, 2015

    Landscape, Cities, and the Pope: a Shift for a Better Future?
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    I believe that urban landscape matters! The landscape in which one grows up, matures, and lives life may be the essential factor in determining the behavior towards and empathy with nature and with other people and their cultures. The landscape can even be the way we connect to ourselves. The...

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    July 8, 2015

    Wild in Detroit: Realizing Opportunity in a New Nature
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit

    Of all the cities in America, Detroit, Michigan may provide us with the best opportunity to discover how to create a connection to nature within an urban population. Detroit is a place of glass and asphalt and steel juxtaposed block by block with wild prairies, emerging woodlands, and re-emergent wetlands....

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    July 7, 2015

    Sustainable Design is Useful, Beautiful, and Connected to People
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires

    A review of Sustainable Infrastructure. The Guide to Green Engineering and Design, by S. Bry Sarté. 2010. ISBN 978-0-470-45361-2. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ. 364 pages. Sustainable infrastructure design—from water, energy, material flows, built systems—is the art of seeking solutions that address ecology, engineering and culture as interconnected realms. In...

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    July 2, 2015

    Open Wells and Urban Resilience
    Hita Unnikrishnan, Bangalore
    Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

    What happens to a city’s traditional foundations of service delivery when it expands boundaries and enhances its infrastructure? Does the city still concern itself with the maintenance of the supply structures that were once essential for the city? The case of the disappearing wells and polluted lakes in the south...

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    June, 2015

    June 30, 2015

    10 scientists and 10 practitioners walk into a bar…what would they talk about? How can research and knowledge generation be co-created to better support practitioners and evidence-based decision making?
    Myla Aronson, New Brunswick
    Georgina Avlonitis, Cape Town
    Keith Bowers, Charleston
    Sarah Charlop-Powers, New York
    Haripriya Gundimeda, Mumbai
    Bram Gunther, New York
    Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires
    Amy Hahs, Ballarat, Australia
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut
    John Hartig, Detroit
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville
    Maria E Ignatieva, Uppsala
    Michael Jemtrud, Montreal
    Deborah Lev, Portland
    Louise Lezy-Bruno, Paris
    Yvonne Lynch, Melbourne
    Ian MacGregor-Fors, Xalapa
    Charlie Nilon, Columbia
    Diane Pataki, Salt Lake City
    Jose Puppim, Johor Bahru / Cambridge / Rio
    Rebecca Salminen Witt, Detroit
    Eric Sanderson, New York
    Philip Silva, New York

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    June 29, 2015

    Sustainability is Everywhere
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    A review of Sustainability in the Global City, Myth and Practice, edited by Cindy Isenhour, Gary McDonogh and Melissa Checker. 2015. ISBN: 9781107076280. Cambridge University Press, New York. 426 pages. As the introductory chapter states: “Sustainability is everywhere.” Indeed, what did we do before the introduction of the term? Sustainability...

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    June 28, 2015

    Count Me In: Urban Greening and the Return of Primates in Kampala
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala

    As urban areas explode around us, competition is heightened between nature and built landscapes. There is a salient competition between biodiversity on the one hand and structures—infrastructure installations—on the other. In Kampala, this competition is manifest in how deliberate actions of development clear natural areas for housing structures and infrastructure,...

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    June 23, 2015

    Is There Room for Ornamentals in the Gardens of “New” California?
    Diane Pataki, Salt Lake City
    Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

    California has long been a center of gardening culture. With a mild climate and a history of agricultural expansion followed by rapid urbanization, California’s ornamental gardens are populated by plant species and cultivars imported from all over the world. Many of these exotic species have become iconic, such as the...

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    June 22, 2015

    Cities FOR People
    Mary Rowe, New York City

    A review of People Habitat: 25 Ways to think about Greener, Healthier Cities, a collection of essays by F. Kaid Benfield. 2014. ISBN: 9780989751100. Island Press, Washington. 304 pages. Cities are arguably the greatest achievement of our human species. They are such an impressive naturally-occurring phenomenon: popping up over the...

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    June 21, 2015

    How Can Local Design Impact Large Infrastructure Plans and Projects?
    Anna Dietzsch, São Paulo

    “Quem é rico anda em burrico Quem é pobre anda a pé Mas o pobre vê na estrada O orvalho beijando as frô… …Vai oiando as coisa a grané Coisas que prá modo de vê O cristão tem que andá a pé…” —Estrada de Canindé, Luiz Gonzaga “The rich travel by...

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    June 17, 2015

    Composing Raingardens in Performing Landscapes
    Meredith Dobbie, Victoria

    On a tree-lined boulevard that leads to the central business district of Melbourne lies a building that trains performers. Few would know that the landscape surrounding  the Victorian College of the Arts is also performing. This is one site among many in the city of Melbourne and its suburbs that...

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    June 14, 2015

    How Can We Engage Residents to Conserve Urban Biodiversity? Talk to Them
    Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

    If you are like me, when walking in some neighborhoods, you see the endless yards of turfgrass and exotic plants and you think to yourself, “How can I reach people to change their landscaping practices?” Or you may see natural areas impacted by nearby urban areas, such as ATV vehicles...

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    June 11, 2015

    To Grow a Garden, Invest in Organizing
    Derek Nichols, Buffalo

    A review of Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook, by LaManda Joy. 2014. ISBN-10: 160469484X. ISBN-13: 9781604694840. Timber Press, Portland. 224 pages. Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook is exactly that. This comprehensive resource is perfect for backyard gardeners wanting to go communal, community organizers wanting to impact their...

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    June 7, 2015

    Living Plans and Resilient, Happy, Included Citizens
    Diana Wiesner, Bogota

    (Una versión en español sigue inmediatamente después de la versión en Inglés.) Urban green areas and public spaces are key elements in urban infrastructure, mitigating environmental challenges, fulfilling social functions, and contributing to the ecosystems of the surrounding region. In Bogota, the concept of the Ecological Network (Van der Hammen...

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    June 5, 2015

    Lions and Roaches and Boars, Oh My! Cities are Full of Animals
    Chris Hensley, Fresno

    A review of Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle, by Tristan Donovan. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-56976-067-3. Chicago Review Press, Inc., Chicago. 256 pages. From red foxes in London and wild boars in Berlin to cockroaches in New York City and slugs in Miami, Feral Cities is full of...

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    June 3, 2015

    Joplin Tornado Anniversary Marks Civic Ecology Successes
    Keith Tidball, Ithaca

    On May 22, 2011, a devastating EF-5 tornado forever changed the Midwestern cities of Joplin and Duquesne. The tornado was ½ mile to ¾ of a mile wide and traveled nearly thirteen miles, with winds estimated at 200 mph. The tornado took 161 lives and destroyed homes, businesses, churches, hospitals,...

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    May, 2015

    May 31, 2015

    “Community in Nature”: Reconnecting Singapore’s Urbanites with Nature
    Lena Chan, Singapore
    Linda Goh, Singapore
    Samantha Lai, Singapore
    Boyi Zhou, Singapore

    In an increasingly urbanised world, there is a growing disconnect between the people who live in cities and the natural environment. Urbanites tend to have less contact with natural habitats and biodiversity than their country or rural counterparts, and in some cases have been known to develop a disinterest or...

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    May 27, 2015

    Cities, People, Business and Nature: In Search of Innovative Models of Engagement
    Chantal van Ham, Brussels

    Seek the silent places where no jarring sound is heard and nothing breaks the stillness but the singing of a bird. Nature tells her secrets not to those who hurry by, but to those who walk with quiet heart and seeing eye. —Chinese proverb I recently discovered that the word...

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    May 26, 2015

    Nature, New York, and the Practice of Paying Attention
    Philip Silva, New York

    A review of Still the Same Hawk, edited by John Waldman. 2012. ISBN: 9780823249893. Fordham University Press, New York. 160 pages. “Dualism is the defining quality of urban nature.”  Thus begins John Waldman’s introduction to Still the Same Hawk, a grab bag book of “reflections on nature and New York”...

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    May 24, 2015

    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...

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    May 20, 2015

    An Urban Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
    Taida Garibovic, Zadar, Croatia

    A review of Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections between Cities and Oceans by Timothy Beatley. 2014. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-405-5 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-405-8. Island Press, Washington. 165 pages. Timothy Beatley, a recognized environmental urbanist and planner, has recently been working on the concept of sustainable communities and resilient cities. In particular, the author’s...

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    May 20, 2015

    Urban China’s Appetite for Land
    Judy Li, Beijing
    Pengfei XIE, Beijing

    Efficient land use for urban development is crucial for limiting urban sprawl, conserving nature around a city, and improving the livability of the city itself. In China, the unprecedented speed of urbanization over the past three decades has unfortunately resulted in widespread inefficient land use, creating problems that only some...

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    May 19, 2015

    Taking “resilience” out of the realm of metaphor. How do you measure resilience in cities? How would you know if your city or your community was resilient?
    Keren Bolter, Fort Lauderdale
    Cezar Busatto, Porto Alegre
    Lorenzo Chelleri, L'Aquila
    William Dunbar, Tokyo
    Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm
    Antoine Faye, Dakar
    Richard Friend, Bangkok
    Lance Gunderson, Atlanta
    Tom Henfrey, Bristol
    Patricia Holly, Barcelona and Nairobi
    Dan Lewis, Barcelona and Nairobi
    Rachna Leveque, London
    Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala
    Timon McPhearson, New York
    Franco Montalto, Philadelphia and Venice
    Luciana Nery, Rio de Janeiro
    Henk Ovink, The Hague
    Elisabeth Peyroux, Paris
    Catherine Sutherland, Durban
    Pakamas Thinphanga, Bangkok
    Claire Weisz, New York
    Daniel Zarrilli, New York

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    May 17, 2015

    The Waste Economy as a Transformative Gendered Practice for Sustainable Resource Management in Urban Africa
    Buyana Kareem, Kampala

    Frameworks for understanding the gendered nature of urban waste management have yet to emerge and analyses on the relationship between sustainable urban resource management and waste re-use and recycling at the neigbourhood-level are few. Those that do exist are more focused on city-level industry and infrastructure. This article illustrates how...

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    May 13, 2015

    Regulating the Bee Buzz
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Most people would agree that honeybees need help. Concerns about their dwindling numbers and the pesticides used on the food they eat have rallied environmental activists around the save-the-bees cause. That increased awareness, combined with a host of other reasons including a movement to buy and produce local-made, organic honey,...

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    May 13, 2015

    The City Bee. TNOC Podcast Episode 005
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona
    David Maddox, New York City

    Also available at iTunes. Story notes: (See the companion essay here.) Bees have always been a part of the city landscape. But something is happening in the world today that’s making their presence more noticeable. Whether it’s because people love honey or want to better understand bee behavior or are looking for...

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