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Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.
August, 2017

16 August 2017

Turning Rio Upside Down! The Baixo Rio Neighborhood Project
Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

Leia uma versão em português aqui. About fifteen years ago I fell in love with watersheds. Then, my passion extended to the forests and ecosystems that sustain them. Then, I discovered the urban waters and biodiversity, and consequently urban ecology, when I started researching on urban blue-green infrastructure and how...

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16 August 2017

Imagine an “ecological certification” for urban design. What are such a certification’s key elements?
Ankia Bormans, Cape Town Katie Coyne, Austin Sarah Dooling, Austin/Boston Nigel Dunnett, Sheffield Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires Sarah Hinners, Salt Lake City Mark Hostetler, Gainesville Jason King, Seattle Marit Larson, New York City Nina-Marie Lister, Toronto Travis Longcore, Los Angeles Colin Meurk, Christchurch Diane Pataki, Salt Lake City Mohan Rao, Bangalore Aditya Sood, Delhi

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13 August 2017

For the Sake of the Common Good? “Gentrifying Conservationism” and “Green Evictions”
Marcelo Lopes de Souza, Rio de Janeiro

The “common good”—what an ambitious expression! As far as environmental protection is concerned, governments want us to believe that it is always performed precisely for the sake of the “common good”, or “public interest”. However, things are not that simple. From a socially critical viewpoint, environmental protection remains a dangerously...

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9 August 2017

Black Cockatoo Rising: The Struggle to Save the Bushland in the City
Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

Protecting remnant swathes of nature is not easy, and may often require concerted, vigorous community efforts. There are many threats: the most common of which seem to be highways and development, which are often backed by considerable financial resources and lots of momentum. So one takes notice when something unusual...

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7 August 2017

Patrick Geddes’ 19th Century “Pocket Park” Inspires Art Installation
Allison Palenske, Edinburgh

A review of “Palm House”, a commissioned project on view at the Edinburgh Art Festival until 27 August 2017. The year is 1880; the place is Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh’s Old Town is internationally known for its squalid conditions; its tenement slums plagued by poor sanitation and overcrowded housing. The medieval...

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6 August 2017

Shutting Down Poletti—An Urban Environmental Victory
Rebecca Bratspies, New York City

In 2013, the New York Power Authority razed the Charles Poletti Power Plant in Astoria, NY. In doing so, Power Authority removed what local elected official Michael Gianaris had characterized as a “symbol[] of pollution that haunted [the] neighborhood”. The characterization was an apt one. The Poletti Plant had for...

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2 August 2017

Wall Watching in Iran
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

We walked approximately 1,500 kilometers in Iran, and something was noticeably missing: Graffiti. Scribbled names or tags, spray painted symbols, and thought-provoking political commentary were absent in cities, towns and villages from Sarakhs on the Turkmenistan border to Astara on the Azerbaijan border to the sprawling capital of Tehran to...

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July, 2017

30 July 2017

Urban-Rural Inequalities in Carbon Emissions
Jose Puppim, Johor Bahru / Cambridge / Rio Mahendra Sethi, New Delhi

Cities have been recognized as key drivers toward the successful governance of resources and as the front line in combating climate change. But there is a huge urban-rural inequality in carbon emissions in the making, particularly in rapidly urbanizing developing countries. Thus, the political and economic divide between the Global North and...

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26 July 2017

Swiss Green Roof Standards: Experiences and Exchanges from Three Years of Practice
Nathalie Baumann, Basel

Some weeks ago my colleagues (from the University of Applied Sciences in Geneva and the City of Lausanne, Nature and City Department) and I organized a half-day event: an exchange of experiences on the Swiss green roof standards practice with the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA) in Lausanne....

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24 July 2017

Sparrow, Our Constant Friend
Ian MacGregor-Fors, Xalapa

A review of: Sparrow by Kim Todd. 2012. 192 pages. ISBN 978-1-86189-875-3. Reaktion Books, London. Buy the book. Sparrows are everywhere! They are varied in types and forms, offering a unique repertoire of opportunities to get to know and assess them, from their scientific study to the most diverse artistic interpretations. In...

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23 July 2017

Look More Closely, Think More Deeply: Experiences from the 2017 US Forest Service International Urban Forestry Seminar
Adrina Bardekjian, Vancouver

One adage I want to share after finishing the US Forest Service Inaugural International Urban Forestry Seminar is: look more closely, think more deeply. This was something that one of the presenters said to us on our first day in Chicago and it stuck with me throughout our journey. Over the...

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19 July 2017

Plants Do Not Care How Rich You Are: Anthropogenic Florstic Changes in Tehran’s Public and Private Green Areas
Maryam Akbarian, Tehran

The city landscape, because of the holistic nature of city-forming factors and urban community, is like a book in which the various characteristics of the city and its citizens are visible: values and norms, economic conditions, tastes and aesthetic criteria, commitment to the living environment, and so on. Throughout history, the...

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16 July 2017

“Immigrants Don’t Like Trees” and Other Myths of Urban Nature Management in Multicultural Cities
Camilo Ordóñez, Toronto

In many cities, urban nature is managed in a multicultural landscape. The ethnic and cultural diversity seen in many western cities today, mostly driven by recent immigration, is unprecedented. For example, Toronto boasts a foreign-born population of about 50%. In Australia, 25% of the population is foreign-born. In many European...

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10 July 2017

Designing Urban Nature: The Domain of Ecologically Informed Planners or Landscape Architects?
Will Allen, Chapel Hill

A review of: Nature and Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Design and Planning by Frederick R. Steiner, George F. Thompson, Armando Carbonell (eds.). 2016. ISBN 9781558443471. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 465 pages. Buy the book. As I opened this handsomely large book, I was pleased to see...

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9 July 2017

Crossing the Design-Science Divide
Jason King, Seattle

Designers and scientists are different. We think, communicate, and interact with the world in vastly different ways. For instance, designers often develop evocative renderings of our creations, varying in style, but of a similar nature to the image below: a collage perspective showing a scene explaining a design concept. For...

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5 July 2017

Building a Local and Integrated Renewable Energy Future: Brownfields to BrightGreenFields
Zoé Hamstead, Buffalo Ryan McPherson, Buffalo

Post-industrial cities in the United States and elsewhere are implementing brownfields to brightfields programs that help develop local economies, generate clean energy and manage pollution. Brownfields are former industrial sites or landfills with contaminated soil. These sites pose both environmental and social challenges, as contamination must be remediated prior to...

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2 July 2017

The Smart (Cyborg) City Needs Smarter Ecological Resilience Thinking
Stephan Barthel, Stockholm Johan Colding, Stockholm

Recently, Colding and Barthel (2017) critiqued how the Smart City-model is taken more or less as a given good for creating sustainable cities. This view is deeply rooted in seductive visions of the future, where the digital revolution stands as the primary force for change (for a critical perspective, see...

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June, 2017

30 June 2017

Are cities ecosystems—analogous to natural ones—of nature, infrastructure and people? Does thinking about cities in this way help us think about urban design?
Marina Alberti, Seattle Erik Andersson, Stockholm Sarah Dooling, Austin/Boston Paul Downton, Melbourne Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm Nancy Grimm, Phoenix Dagmar Haase, Berlin Dominique Hes, Melbourne Kristina Hill, Berkeley Madhusudan Katti, Raleigh Francois Mancebo, Paris Clifford Ochs, Oxford Steward Pickett, Poughkeepsie Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles Rob Pirani, New York Richard Register, Berkeley Eric Sanderson, New York Alexis Schaffler, Berkeley/Johannesburg/Cape Town Vivek Shandas, Portland David Simon, Gothenburg Jane Toner, Melbourne Yolanda van Heezik, Dunedin Ken Yeang, Kuala Lumpur David Maddox, New York City

 

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28 June 2017

The Effect of Iteration on Urban Form, Part II: Iteration in an Ecosystem
Mathieu Hélie, Montréal

In the Lille citadel example that we saw in the previous part, we could observe a building technology achieving greater complexity over time, as each iteration survived or failed a new series of tests. Another aspect of the complexity of a geometric process seen in the Lille citadel example is...

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26 June 2017

Drought and Flood: A Silicon Valley Museum Explores Water, Society, and City
Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

A review of “Liquid City,” The Darkened Mirror,” and “Fragile Waters,” a trio of water-related exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Art, currently on view together through August 6, 2017. As the representative contemporary art institution of Silicon Valley, the San Jose Museum of Art might be expected to...

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