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Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.
November, 2018

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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October, 2018

29 October 2018

How Do City Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Plans Compare?
Sara Meerow, Tempe

Record-breaking disaster losses, unprecedented storms and heat waves, and stark warnings in the most recent IPCC report all point to an urgent need for local governments around the world to prepare for climate change impacts. Consequently, many cities have developed climate change adaptation plans that outline projected climate change impacts...

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25 October 2018

The Green Soul of the Concrete Jungle
Rob McDonald, Washington, DC

As readers of the Nature of Cities are no doubt aware, we are living in what could rightly be called the urban century, with 2.4 billion more people forecast to live in cities by 2050. In a recent essay in Sustainable Earth, my coauthors, Tim Beatley, Thomas Elmqvist and I...

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21 October 2018

New Zealand’s Ecological Identity: Should We All Kill Exotic Species to Protect our Natural Heritage?
Yolanda van Heezik, Dunedin

The image of a child triumphantly brandishing a dead rat on national TV news in New Zealand, trapped in her backyard as part of a community’s bid to try to bring native birds and lizards back into her neighbourhood, reminded me of the extent to which local people in New...

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18 October 2018

Jerusalem of Gold and Green
Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

 Jerusalem has been described as “golden” by many poets and writers, inspired not only by the golden domes of holy buildings in the city, but also by the special quality of illumination created when the evening sun is reflected from the famous Jerusalem stone which characterizes most buildings in the...

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15 October 2018

Participation in the Achievement of a Sustainable Ecology: The case of Irla nullah Re-invigoration Movement in Mumbai
PK Das, Mumbai

As I am writing this piece, the entire state of Kerala in India stands devastated due to floods. It is estimated that more than 300 people have died, 10,000km of roads damaged and property worth millions of rupees lost (yet to be estimated). As per the Times of India report,...

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5 October 2018

As a landscape architect, how do you interpret the word “biodiversity”? How does this meaning find expression in your design?
Gloria Aponte, Medellín AnaLuisa Artesi, Buenos Aires Andrew Grant, Bath Yun Hye HWANG, Singapore Maria E Ignatieva, Perth Jason King, Portland Victoria Marshall, Singapore Daniel Phillips, Detroit Mohan Rao, Bangalore Sylvie Salles, Paris Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth Diana Wiesner, Bogota

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2 October 2018

A Picture We Wished was Worth 1000 Words, But in Fact Only a Few
Hita Unnikrishnan, Sheffield Harini Nagendra, Bangalore

Sustainable cities can be viewed from multiple perspectives. Each perspective can highlight or mute certain aspects, leading us to take different positions on complex issues. Take for example the recent floods in Kerala, the southernmost state of India. Unprecedented rainfall led to intense floods across the state. Over 400 people...

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September, 2018

23 September 2018

How Greening Strategies Are Displacing Minorities in Post-Harvey Houston
Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski, Barcelona

On 14 June 2018, Isabelle Anguelovski participated in the panel Designing, Planning and Paying for Resilience at Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research, where she and other leading experts discussed flood mitigation strategies such as low impact design, green infrastructure and urban-scale greenspace preservation, and how they interact with a community’s broader planning efforts....

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20 September 2018

Discovering New Life in the Aging Form of Suburbia
Kevin Sloan, Dallas-Fort Worth

A review of the book Suburban Remix: Creating the Next Generation of Urban Places, Edited by Jason Beske and David Dixon. 2018. 330 pages. ISBN: 9781610918626. Island Press. Buy the book. In the course of solving a design problem, landscape architects and designers will often encounter an unexpected issue that suddenly...

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15 September 2018

Connect Urban Planners and Urban Ecologists to Create Sustainable Canadian Cities
Carly Ziter, Montreal Matthew Mitchell, Vancouver Adrina Bardekjian, Montreal Tenley Conway, Toronto Angela Danyluk, Vancouver Michelle Molnar, Toronto Marcin Pachcinski, Vancouver Justin Podur, York Valentin Schaefer, Victoria Josephine Clark, Vancouver Sinead Murphy, Vancouver

The Challenge of Managing Urban Ecosystems Cities are increasingly understood as mosaics of grey, green, and blue infrastructure that interact in complex ways to affect the wellbeing of urban residents (Ahern 2007, Svendsen and Northridge 2012). In particular, green and blue infrastructure provides important benefits to urban residents (Lovell and...

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12 September 2018

A City Designed by Trees
Patrick M. Lydon, Osaka

Awake a few hours earlier than necessary, we are on bicycles heading through urban infill, in a part of town that used to be Osaka Bay. Moving inland, we pass through a few old shopping arcades, and several dozen close-knit neighborhood blocks where century-old homes with wood frames and soil...

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9 September 2018

Tales from the London 2018 Heatwave. But Are We Listening?
Paula Vandergert, London

The 2018 London heatwave lasted weeks! I know we Brits like to talk about the weather—but honestly, it has been really hot—and it’s unheard of to be able to go for weeks without worrying about bringing a cardigan, umbrella, or raincoat when you step outside your door. The parks have...

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5 September 2018

Taking the Long View: Looking at Landscape Restoration Through Varied Lenses
Bruce Roll, Portland

Each morning on my way to work, just west of Portland, Oregon, I pass a thriving new development with hundreds of brand new houses, a beautiful new school, bustling stores and new parks. These new assets, which serve humans so well, have largely replaced the green expanse that characterized this...

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1 September 2018

Hearing from the Future of Cities
Diana Wiesner, Bogota

“What I like about this landscape is that it’s not painted….I can move around into it and feel it. I think about all the things I can find there. But, after I leave this picture, something always changes, and I do too.” —Gabriela Villate, 7 years old. People see a...

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August, 2018

28 August 2018

The Relation Between Cities and Nature: Searching for More Sensitive Laws
Paula Villagra, Valdivia Carolina Rojas, Concepción

Today, people tend to prefer to live in the same places where the hotspots of biodiversity are located. Many of these hotspots are found in places with a Mediterranean climate, which provide fertile soils for food production and water. As a result, cities are sprawling in areas of high ecological...

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24 August 2018

Cues to Care: Are City Landowners Willing to Make Eco-friendly Landscapes?
Mark Hostetler, Gainesville

As an urban ecologist interested in biodiversity conservation, I often work with homeowners, developers, landscape architects, planners and other design professionals. With goal of improving urban biodiversity, I attempt to bring more vegetative complexity and native plants into urban landscapes. I will not outline it here, but it is important...

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