Meet the Author:
Lesley Lokko,  Johannesburg

Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.
Lesley Lokko

Lesley Lokko

Architect, Academic, Novelist
Accra, Johannesburg, London

LESLEY LOKKO is an architect, academic and the author of eight best-selling novels. She studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College London, graduating in 1995 with a BSc(Arch) and DipArch, before going on to gain her PhD from the University of London in 2007.
She has taught a numerous schools of architecture in the US (Iowa State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago); the UK (Bartlett School of Architecture, Kingston University, London Metropolitan University and the University of Greenwich), as well as South Africa, where she was Visiting African Scholar at the University of Cape Town. She was the Martin Luther King Visiting Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan and has, since 2004, been Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster. In 2000, she edited White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and since then, has ben an on-going contributor to discourses around identity, race, African urbanism and the speculative nature of African architectural space and practice. She was a founding member of ThirdSpace, a UK-based collective that researched the relationship between architecture, globalisation and cultural identity, and was a co-founder of the current MArch programme at the University of Westminster, Architecture, Cultural Identity and Globalisation (MACIG). She is an active participant in the UCT-funded Centre for the Study of African Cities, and is a regular juror at international competitions and symposia, most recently at EUROPAN (Vienna 2009); Blueprints of Paradise (Amsterdam 2012) and ArchiPRIX International (Moscow 2013).
In 2004, she made the successful transition from academic to novelist with the publication of her first novel, Sundowners (Orion 2004), a UK-Guardian top forty best-seller, and has since then followed with eight further best-sellers, which have been translated in fifteen languages. For over a decade, she has juggled two very different careers simultaneously, though not always smoothly.

July, 2021

19 July 2021

If Nature is the Answer to Climate Change, What are the Questions?
Rob Pirani, New York

Recently, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of “Restore Mother Nature”, an aggressive program for habitat restoration and flood reduction. “We must begin restoring the natural balance we disrupted,” said the Governor. “Mother Nature had a plan, she had resiliency built in. We are the ones who...

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June, 2021

25 June 2021

Greening the Recovery? A Proposal for Forwarding Urban Transitions as a Recovery Agenda Towards Resilience
Niki Frantzeskaki, Melbourne

As we are living in the second year of the pandemic. We are learning to adapt to new urban living, new ways of working—mostly remotely and at times in a blended way—and most of all, learn to reconnect to our urban places and spaces. Many local governments have put in...

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15 June 2021

Embracing Unexpected Six-Legged Commuters
Timothy Bonebrake, Hong Kong

 Every day I make the commute between my home in a rural-style village on an “outlying island” (Lamma Island) to the middle of the city in Hong Kong. Altogether the journey is about one hour one way and involves walking, a ferry, and a subway/MTR ride. A variety of things...

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7 June 2021

Beyond equity: What does an anti-racist urban ecology look like?
Julian Agyeman, Medford Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski, Barcelona Anna Livia Brand, Berkeley Jean-Marie Cishahayo, Ottawa CJ Goulding, Teaneck Morgan Grove, Baltimore Derek Hyra, Washington Laura Landau, New York María Mejía, Bogotá Polly Moseley, Liverpool Amanda Phillips de Lucas, Baltimore Steward Pickett, Poughkeepsie Charles Prempeh, Accra Malini Ranganathan, Washington Baixo Ribeiro, São Paulo Amrita Sen, Bangalore Suné Stassen, Cape Town Abdallah Tawfic, Cairo Cindy Thomashow, Seattle Hita Unnikrishnan, Sheffield Ebony Walden, Richmond Ibrahim Wallee, Accra Diana Wiesner, Bogota


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May, 2021

31 May 2021

From Design to City Life: What It Takes to Bring Nature-based Solutions to Urban Reality
Niki Frantzeskaki, Melbourne Paula Vandergert, London Stuart Connop, London Karlijn Schipper, Rotterdam Iwona Zwierzchowska, Poznań Marcus Collier, Dublin Lodder Marleen, Rotterdam

Cities around the globe are seeing increased civic interest and appreciation of nature in the city. Pictures with citizens thronging to urban parks and urban waterfronts adhering to social distancing have flooded social media and traditional media alike in the past months. This appreciation and recognition of how important it...

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22 May 2021

Financer des villes plus vertes pour l’avenir que nous voulons
Financing Greener Cities for the Future We Want

Ingrid Coetzee, Cape Town Elisabeth Chouraki, Paris

(Read this in English.) Pour des infrastructures respectueuses de la nature Le monde s’urbanise rapidement, exposant nos ressources naturelles à une pression croissante pour répondre aux demandes en infrastructures, terres, eau, nourriture et autres besoins vitaux. Selon le département des affaires économiques et sociales des Nations unies (UN DESA), 55...

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18 May 2021

Mobilising Our Union for Ecological Urbanism
Russell Galt, Edinburgh

Things fall apart Standing at a crossroads, looking into the eye of a perfect storm, these are anxious days for humanity. The full social, humanitarian and economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic may have barely come to pass but it already makes the 2008-09 global financial crisis look like child’s...

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12 May 2021

Co-Creating Sustainability: Integration of Local Ecological Knowledge in Art Works
Baiba Pruse, Venice Marthe Derkzen, Arnhem/Nijmegen Eva Bubla, Budapest Iván Greco, Buenos Aires Ezequiel Filgueira Risso, Buenos Aires Lindsay Campbell, New York Jaime Jackson, Birmingham/West Midlands Julia Prakofjewa, Venice Rick Hall, Nottingham Lara Eva Bustamante, Buenos Aires Colin Meurk, Christchurch Nataliya Stryamets, Venice Andra Simanova, Riga Anna Varga, Pécs Cristina Flora, Venice

Art and activism have a great potential to communicate social-ecological messages, and to engage the public in exploring local ecological knowledge. Where and how local ecological knowledge (LEK) appear in urban environments through artwork? We are in a great position to be able to share the reflections of one of...

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5 May 2021

Tree Inequality Is Worse in the Suburbs
Rob McDonald, Washington, DC

Urban trees and their canopy cover provide many benefits for urban residents, reducing air pollutant concentrations, mitigating stormwater runoff, maintaining water quality, encouraging physical recreation, and improving mental health. But just as urban ecologists are quantifying more and more benefits of urban trees for health, other research increasingly shows that...

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April, 2021

30 April 2021

What actions are successful in activating cities to implement urban biodiversity conservation policies, campaigns, and projects?
Eric Butler, Portland Georgina Cullman, New York Eduardo Guerrero, Bogotá Hayato Hasegawa, Fukuoka Clara Holmes, New York Mark Hostetler, Gainesville Keitaro Ito, Fukutsu City Mahito Kamada, Tokushima Marit Larson, New York Gilles Lecuir, Paris Kevin Lunzalu, Nairobi Colin Meurk, Christchurch Matthew Morrow, New York Siobhán McQuaid, Dublin Tomomi Sudo, Fukuoka Pamela Zevit, Surrey

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29 April 2021

Documenting the Pandemic Year: Reflecting Backward, Looking Forward
Lindsay Campbell, New York Michelle Johnson, New York City Sophie Plitt, New York Laura Landau, New York Erika Svendsen, New York

This essay is part four in a series. Since 13 March 2020, our team of social science researchers has been keeping a collective journal of our experiences of our New York City neighborhoods, public green spaces, and environmental stewardship during COVID-19. Read the essays from spring, summer, and fall here....

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21 April 2021

A Walk in the Park? Re-imagining Urban Environmental Conservation during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Kaja Aagaard, Middlebury Mika Mei Jia Tan, Los Baños Jennifer Rae Pierce, Vancouver

The COVID-19 pandemic has established a moment of immense global loss. In the midst of this public health crisis, our concerns for our families and communities necessarily take priority. Yet, addressing these concerns demands a look towards the future: to the reevaluation of global systems that may produce or obstruct...

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9 April 2021

Is Cali the City with the Most Birds in the World?
Rubén Darío Palacio, Durham

The city of Cali in southwestern Colombia boasts a staggering number of 562 species of birds, and it probably has the longest bird list for any city in the world. But can we find out for sure? Birds are the link between the urban and the wild. A bird-friendly city can harbor...

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5 April 2021

About the Festival
Karen Tsugawa

TNOC Festival pushed boundaries to radically imagine our cities for the future. A virtual festival that covered 5 days with programming across all regional time zones and provided in multiple languages: 22-26 February 2021, 2200 participants from 72 countries. Outputs and new emerging projects will appear in this space soon....

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March, 2021

24 March 2021

Putting Nature First: Driving Actions for Nature in Cities
Niki Frantzeskaki, Melbourne Cathy Oke, Melbourne Judy Bush, Melbourne Sarah Bekessy, Melbourne James Fitzsimons, Melbourne Georgia Garrard, Melbourne Maree Grenfell, Melbourne Martin Hartigan, Melbourne

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how important urban nature is for our physical and mental health. As urban strategists embark on ideas and think of pathways for recovery and “building back better” our societies and especially cities, it is paramount that the green recovery include nature in the mix of options...

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20 March 2021

Vegetation is the Future of Architecture
Gary Grant, London

Most of the inhabitable regions of the Earth were originally covered by forests, grasslands, and wetlands. These carbon-grabbing, biodiverse, spongy landscapes have been largely replaced by agriculture and urban development, which is drier, belches carbon, is erosive of soils, and which has lost most of its wildlife. Indeed, biodiversity declines...

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12 March 2021

Knowledge Systems for Urban Renewal
Chris Ives, Nottingham

“Science is meaningless because it gives no answer to our question, the only question important for us: ‘What shall we do and how shall we live?’ ” — Leo Tolstoy  We know that our cities need to look and function differently. There is a wealth of scientific evidence showing that urbanisation...

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7 March 2021

Including Diverse Voices in Adaptation Planning
Marthe Derkzen, Arnhem/Nijmegen Timon McPhearson, New York Huda Shaka, Jeddah Marion Lacourt, Paris Frida Larios, Antiguo Cuzcatlán, Copán, and Washington

This contribution is the result of a thought-collecting Seed Session during the TNOC Summit in Paris, held on June 5, 2019. Pitches, group breakouts, and a facilitated discussion addressed the question: Including diverse voices in adaptation planning, how do we make it happen? Two illustrators, Frida Larios and Marion Lacourt,...

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2 March 2021

Making Spaces for Edible Gardens in Compact Cities: the Taipei Case
Wan-Yu Shih, Taipei Che-Wei Liu, Taipei

Edible urban gardens have gained increasing popularity in the Global North within the narrative of nature-based solutions for cities and as parts of urban green infrastructure, which reintroduce greenspaces and associated functions into built environments, with the aspiration of leading to a socially and ecologically more sustainable city. Amid the...

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January, 2021

31 January 2021

Stories of the Nature of Cities 1/2 Hour—Episode 4: Oasis
David Maddox, New York

Episode 4: Oasis “Happy Hour at the Green Man” by Kate Wing, read by Lucy Symons A small bar in the middle of the city has a portal to an ancient ghost forest.  “Where Grass Grows Greener” by Jenni Juvonen, read by Nora Achrati The narrator explores a forest and meets a...

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