Meet the Author:
PK Das,  Mumbai

Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.
PK Das

PK Das

Architect-Activist Mumbai, India P.K. Das is popularly known as an Architect – Activist. His priority has been to establish a very close relation between architecture and people by involving them in a participatory planning process. His wide spectrum of work includes organizing slum dwellers for better living and evolving affordable housing models, engaging in policy framework for mass housing, reclaiming public space in Mumbai by developing the waterfronts, Re-envisioning the Open Spaces of Mumbai, urban renewal and conservation projects along with an architectural practice involving urban planning, urban design, architecture and interior design assignments across the country. He is the Joint Convener of the Housing Rights Organization called Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti, Chairperson of the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre, Council member of the Indian National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Mumbai chapter, member of the Steering Committee set-up by MMRDA for the preparation of a Vision Plan for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, member of the National Advisory Council-Working Group on Alleviation of Urban Poverty including Rajiv Awaas Yojna (RAY) and founder of P.K. Das & Associates, a Planning & Architectural firm. He has been widely published and has also delivered talks and lectures across the world. His work in the development of Mumbai’s coastline and his slum rehabilitation projects has won him several national and international awards including the first Urban Age Award instituted by the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank conferred to the Mumbai Waterfronts Centre in which P.K. Das is the Chairperson. ‘Struggle for Housing – A people’s Manifesto’ and ‘A village called Puntamba, a Social-Architectural study’, ‘Vision Juhu-Expanding Public Spaces in Mumbai’, ‘On the Waterfront-Reclaiming Mumbai’s Open Spaces’, ‘Mumbai’s Open Spaces– Maps & A Preliminary Listing Document’ are some of the more known publications of Mr. Das With an extremely strong emphasis on participatory planning, he hopes to integrate architecture and democracy to bring about desired social changes in the country.

October, 2020

20 October 2020

The Next “Normal” City Must be a Sustainable Habitat for Healthy Humans
Matteo Giusti, Gävle

“Stay home!” This is the imperative that has echoed across the planet in the last months. Everyone is at, and a, risk to themselves and others. And so we did. We mostly stayed at home. After a few days, we began to notice that our house, our cities, and our...

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8 October 2020

The LEAF Episode 1: Show and Tells from FRIEC Collective Artists
Olive Bieringa, Oslo Matthew Jensen, New York Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro, Paris

Want to explore diverse and connecting threads in urban ecological arts? In the LEAF, three FRIEC Urban Arts Collective members share something from their ideas and work for 10 minutes each, followed by Q&A. Presenters: Olive Bieringa, OsloMatthew Jensen, New YorkStéphane Verlet-Bottéro, Paris 21 October, 11am EDT  Olive Bieringa, Oslo: “Resisting Extinction” is...

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7 October 2020

Stories of the Nature of Cities 1/2 Hour. Episode 2—Sea Level Rise
Karen Tsugawa

Episode 2—Sea Level Rise Thursday 5 November, 11am EDT This episode’s theme: Sea Level Rise. The read stories are Rym Kechacha’s “Old Father Thames” and Alyssa Eckles’ “Uolo and the Idol”. The Stories are first read, then authors Rym and Alyssa then join for conversation. “Old Father Thames” by Rym...

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6 October 2020

Parks are Critical Urban Infrastructure: The Use of Urban Green Space in New York City During COVID-19
Timon McPhearson, New York Christopher Kennedy, New York Bianca Lopez, Amherst Emily Maxwell, New York

Urban green spaces have long been a refuge for city dwellers, especially in times of crisis, but how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the use and importance of urban green and open spaces? Are they perceived or used differently during this time? Who has access historically, but also during COVID-19?...

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September, 2020

30 September 2020

What’s Next? Learning From Nature During Lockdown
Elmaz Abinader, Oakland Jane Ingram Allen, Santa Rosa Carmen Bouyer, Paris Anne Brochot, Voulx Joyce Garvey, Dublin Leslie Gauthier, New York Frances Mezzetti, Dublin Munira Naqui, Portland

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30 September 2020

Urban Gardening As a Response to Food Supply Issues in Dense Urban Areas During the COVID-19 Crisis
Constanza Cerda, Stuttgart

En español. In December 2019, the city of Wuhan, China, reported the first case of Coronavirus. Since then, the virus has spread rapidly, reaching more than 31,300,000 cases worldwide (as of September 2020, according to John Hopkins University). Globally and regionally, a series of measures have been taken to slow...

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28 September 2020

Stories of the Nature of Cities 1/2 Hour. Episode 1—Biodiversity
Claire Stanford, Los Angeles Elizabeth Twist, Hamilton Paul Currie, Cape Town

Episode 1—Biodiversity Thursday 8 October, 2pm EDT This episode’s theme: Biodiversity. The read stories are Claire Stanford’s “Neither Above Nor Below” and Elizabeth Twist’s “May Apple”. Both stories were prize winners in the original Stories of The Nature of Cities 2099 contest. The Stories are read by actors Howard Overshown...

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24 September 2020

Socially Distant Summer: Stewarding Nature and Community to Meet Basic Needs during a Pandemic
Lindsay Campbell, New York Michelle Johnson, New York City Laura Landau, New York Sophie Plitt, New York Erika Svendsen, New York

SUMMER We started to settle into our “new normal”, with the pace of our journal entries significantly slowing down. Social distancing didn’t feel as novel any more, we weren’t noticing the shifts and changes as much. Or perhaps we were worn down with mental fatigue and journaling didn’t feel therapeutic,...

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11 September 2020

A Walk Along the Bièvre River
Carmen Bouyer, Paris

Since 1912 in Paris, the river Bièvre, once the city’s second-largest river, has disappeared from our landscape. It used to cross the whole left bank from south to north, flowing through the 13th and 5th arrondissements before reaching the Seine between “Le Jardin des Plantes”, our historical botanical garden, and...

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3 September 2020

Nature in Cities in a Post-Covid-19 World: Don’t Blame Urban Density in a Pandemic
Will Allen, Chapel Hill

As a city and regional planner by training, I have been alarmed at the tendency to blame urban density (defined as people per square mile) as a primary culprit for New York City’s relatively severe initial COVID-19 outbreak. An epidemiologist from Stanford, a professor of infectious diseases at the University...

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August, 2020

24 August 2020

Family Tree
Andreas Weber, Berlin

Linden In early summer, after the crest of the first wave of the pandemics had broken and kids resumed to go to school and street cafés had opened again, I spent days alone writing on the balcony of a flat in a somewhat sketchy Berlin neighbourhood. Down in the street,...

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24 August 2020

To Live in Companionship with Trees, Plants, Rivers, and Mountains
Martine Murray, Melbourne

We are gardening. Feeding our trees. We decide to cut the deadwood off the Fejoa tree. Afterwards it’s considerably squat and oddly shaped, but we agree it looks better. Or it feels better. Or it seems to us that it, the tree, feels better. It has just been liberated of...

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18 August 2020

Gifting a White Elephant, In the Form of Green Infrastructure
Amanda Phillips de Lucas, Baltimore

White Elephant: 2. figurative. A burdensome or costly objective, enterprise, or possession, esp. one that appears magnificent; a financial liability. With reference to the story that the kings of Siam (now Thailand) would make a present of a white elephant to courtiers who had displeased them, in order to ruin the...

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12 August 2020

The Value of Green Urban Assets and the True Costs of Development
Martin Westerman, Seattle

The building boom that’s driving up real estate prices and jamming Seattle with housing and high-rises is also squeezing out and devaluing the city’s green and open spaces. That “progress” presents paradoxes: “Hard assets” provide value temporarily, as they are amortized over their “useful lives”; green, or “soft,” assets are...

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July, 2020

29 July 2020

The Shape of Water, the Sight of Air, and Our Emergence from Covid
Lucie Lederhendler, Montreal

“Absences should not cause us to look elsewhere, but to look closer.” i I have been working on a mind map of emptiness, inspired by an old Wiccan meditation practice of gazing into a bowl of water and trying to see the middle of the water.ii In the middle of a...

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24 July 2020

The Place of Nature in Cities: Taking Inspiration from Singapore
Perrine Hamel, Singapore

What is the place of nature in cities? As the COVID-19 pandemic challenged societal norms, this question took a new turn for professionals and the public alike. Having recently moved to Singapore I’m sharing here a few thoughts as I’m learning how the city-state designs our relationship with nature. Singapore...

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20 July 2020

Crisis Reveals the Fault Lines of Gender in Environmentalism—How Do We Value Everyday Environments?
Nathalie Blanc, Paris Sandra Laugier, Paris Pascale Molinier, Paris Anne Querrien, Paris

These are times of crisis. One might even think that the COVID-19 crisis looks like a an alternative expression of crises that are already building, especially ecological ones. Harald Welzer in The Climate Wars shows that the feeling of crisis as well as fear is born in the face of...

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14 July 2020

Getting to Know You: The Under-Appreciated Art (Science) of Slow Research and Arts-Led Community Engagement
Paula Vandergert, London Susie Miller Oduniyi, London

Know the feeling when every project seems to require a huge amount of work in a short amount of time, for very little reward?? This seems to be the way of the world, whether you’re a practitioner, a researcher, or a community activist (or all three). I was prompted to...

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7 July 2020

My Past, Present, and Future: A Review of Ecological Mediations
Malerie Lovejoy, Oxford

The sciences meet the arts in the poetic renderings of Dr. Karan Aggarwala’s 2010 collection, Ecological Mediations(Xlibris). An optometrist by training, Dr. Aggarwala’s poetic view of the world reflects years of science met with a holistic ecological view of the mechanisms of our world. His inspiration draws clearly from personal...

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4 July 2020

How is COVID-19 affecting caring for and researching urban ecology?
Christina Breed, Pretoria Mark Champion, Wigan Joy Clancy, Twente Ian Douglas, Manchester Pete Frost, Cardiff Lincoln Garland, Bath David Haley, Ulverston Jane Houghton, York Yun Hye HWANG, Singapore Christian Isendahl, Gothenburg Philip James, Salford Sarah Lindley, Manchester Patrick M. Lydon, Osaka Nancy McIntyre, Lubbock Camilo Ordóñez, Melbourne Stephan Pauleit, Munich Joe Ravetz, Manchester Graham Rook, London Richard Salisbury, Manchester Alan Scott, London Richard Scott, Liverpool Monica Smith, Los Angeles Marcelo Lopes de Souza, Rio de Janeiro Miriam Stark, Honolulu Katalin Szlavecz, Baltimore Joanne Tippett, Manchester Piotr Tryjanowski, Poznan Tim Webb, London Mike Wells, Bath Phil Wheater, Manchester

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