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Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.
January, 2019

24 January 2019

Rebuilding Bosnia and Herzegovina Cities
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

There is a sadness in Bosnia and Herzegovina that will follow me for a long time. Of all the wonders and troubles we have witnessed during our walk through Asia and Europe, the visible signs of this country’s post-war hardships break my heart the most in this multi-year journey. Our...

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18 January 2019

Rethinking Cities in Arid Environments for the 21st Century
Huda Shaka, Dubai

Arid cities around the world Over two years ago, my colleagues and I at Arup began a research project focused on the topic of planning and designing cities in arid environments. We were initially interested in exploring the most relevant practices and innovations for cities in the Middle East, but...

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13 January 2019

Many Small Changes Cascade into Big Change
Leen Gorissen, Antwerp

How can cities accelerate transitions to sustainability? That was the central question in the collaborative EU-funded research project called ARTS, in which researchers, policy makers, citizens, artists, and entrepreneurs co-reflected on pathways to fast-forward urban sustainability. Upon the request of many urban changemakers, we translated the academic findings into an...

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11 January 2019

Nature in the City—An Urban Adventure
Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

My husband went on his bicycle to get our Christmas standing rib roast (an extravagance of every few years) at the local artisanal butcher. The butcher is in the legendary Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles, corner of 3rdand Fairfax. It remains relatively authentic despite the immense Disneyesque mall just adjacent...

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8 January 2019

The Planet’s Gift to Humans: Soil Uncovered
Chantal van Ham, Brussels

Soil is a unique living ecosystem that provides a wide range of services to people. It is the foundation of life on the planet, home to biodiversity, it regulates the water cycle, stores and filters water, is the basis for producing food and fuel, it facilitates the natural recycling of...

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3 January 2019

Nature Rebounding in the Peri-Urban Landscapes that the Industrial Revolution Left Behind: North West England’s Carbon Landscape
Janice Astbury, Manchester Joanne Tippett, Manchester

Less than an hour cycling out of central Manchester along the Bridgewater Canal takes you into a green and blue landscape. It only becomes clear that this is a post-industrial area when the infrastructure of a coalfield pithead rises up behind the trees. Further along the canal you encounter attractive...

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December, 2018

29 December 2018

Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2018
David Maddox, New York City

Today’s post celebrates some of the highlights from TNOC writing in 2018. These contributions—originating around the world—were one or more of widely read, offering novel points of view, and/or somehow disruptive in a useful way. All 1000+ TNOC essays and roundtables are worthwhile reads, of course, but what follows will give you a...

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20 December 2018

A Transformative New Era for Landscape Conservation in Cities
Will Allen, Chapel Hill

When I started my career in land and water conservation almost 25 years ago, cities and nature were usually seen as two separate things. Many strategic conservation planning efforts focused on finding the best places to protect nature from people. But as we have learned from The Nature of Cities and...

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12 December 2018

Regaining Paradise Lost: Global Investments, Mega-Projects, and Seeds of Local Resistance to Polluted Floods in Belém
José Alexandre de Jesus Costa, Belém Vitor Martins Dias, Bloomington Pedro Paulo de Miranda Araújo Soares, Belém

People have lived in and around the Una Hydrographic Basin for as long as the city of Belém itself. Belém is the largest urban center in the Amazon River Delta, with a population that exceeds 2 million people in its metropolitan region. Beginning at Guajará Bay, the Una Basin comprises...

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7 December 2018

Renaturing Malta through Collaborations for Nature-based Solutions
Mario Balzan, Valletta

With an area of just 316 Km2and a population of more than 475,000, Malta is the smallest member country of the European Union (EU). This island state has been moulded through human action since the first recorded human settlement more than 7000 years ago. Today, more than 30 percent of...

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1 December 2018

Signs of Depressed Urban Economies
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

It has been raining all afternoon in Megali Sterna, a village in the north of Greece, and, from the empty and closed café we have been sitting in for  hours, it looks like the rain will continue into the evening. We scan the neighborhood for a dry place to pitch...

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November, 2018

27 November 2018

Our goal is to empower cities to plan for a positive natural future. What is one specific action that should be taken to achieve this goal?
Graciela Arosemena, Panama City Marcus Collier, Dublin Marlies Craig, Durban Samarth Das, Mumbai Ana Faggi, Buenos Aires Sumetee Gajjar, Bangalore Gary Grant, London Eduardo Guerrero, Bogotá Fadi Hamdan, Beirut Scott Kellogg, Albany Patrick M. Lydon, Osaka Yvonne Lynch, Melbourne Emily Maxwell, New York Colin Meurk, Christchurch Ragene Palma, Manila Jennifer Rae Pierce, Vancouver Mary Rowe, Toronto Luis Sandoval, San José

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26 November 2018

(R)Evolution and Cities
Paul Downton, Melbourne

(This is a recasting of an essay of the same title recently published in the limited circulation Ecocity World newsletter) “You say you want a revolution Well, you know We all want to change the world You tell me that it’s evolution Well, you know We all want to change...

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22 November 2018

Tracking Biodiversity Around Us: You Can’t Care about What You Don’t Know
Leah Thorpe, Singapore Peta Thorpe, Singapore Olivia Tay, Singapore Lena Chan, Singapore

From early on as a family, we considered ourselves to be fairly knowledgeable about environmental issues, such as plastic pollution, deforestation, and global warming from all we’d learnt through the media. We recycled. We bought fair-trade items like chocolate and bananas. We also participated in environmental initiatives like a national...

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18 November 2018

Legacy as Visioning Tool: Urban Greening in Zagreb
Neven Tandaric, Nottingham Chris Ives, Nottingham

When we consider planning for green infrastructure, we typically think forward to what kind of city we might imagine for the future. Far less frequently do we consider the history of the city and how past generations have shaped the green spaces and the activities and meanings related to them....

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14 November 2018

Connecting Cities and Resources: UBHub Offers Map and Database of Hundreds of Urban Biodiversity Activities
Melissa Barton, Portland Jennifer Rae Pierce, Vancouver Mika Mei Jia Tan, Los Baños Juan de Dios Morales, Guayaquil

Cities that plan for biodiversity recognize the potential of healthy ecosystems to mitigate urban problems and enhance quality of life but, due to limited capacity, can struggle with developing and managing their biodiversity strategies. Our team at the Urban Biodiversity Hub (UBHub) has compiled thousands of examples of biodiversity work...

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12 November 2018

To Tree or Not to Tree? Or, Why Urban Trees Today?
Stephanie Pincetl, Los Angeles

Urban trees and tree planting is like a contemporary urban planner’s holy grail—more trees means a better city, and better city assumedly means a better quality of life for city residents. But why is this the case? I’ve set out here to reflect on this.  Why the focus on urban...

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8 November 2018

Sewage Eating Floating Islands: Operationalizing “Urban Ecosystem Justice”
Scott Kellogg, Albany

While the urban sustainability movement has had many successes over the past decades, the benefits have been disproportionately befitted affluent residents. This is partly on account of the fact that sustainability discourse over recent years has placed a stronger emphasis on the “environmental” and “economic” aspects of sustainability, largely ignoring...

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5 November 2018

Walls that Talk: Green Fences in Kampala City
Buyana Kareem, Kampala

Walls that talk are not found in haunted houses or buildings but rather symbolic to the phenomenon of greening residential fences using organic plant species, in ways that non-verbally speak to the broader goal of re-naturing cities. This is happening in Kampala city, where vertical structures with walls that have...

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2 November 2018

Earthworms Can Awaken Us to Ecological Change
Toby Query, Portland

The soil is alive and there is a whole ecosystem waiting to be explored, right below our feet. Anywhere in the city, where there are leaves and some cracks in the sidewalk, there is life underneath us! The soil is a living complex of roots, bacteria, fungi, substrate (rocks, sand...

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