Reviews, Reactions Archive

Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

TNOC reviews books, art, events, and other media related to our broad mission. We welcome inquiries from publishers.

The current review editorial team for books is: Ana Faggi (Buenos Aires), David Maddox (New York), and Philip Silva (New York). The lead Editor for art and events is Patrick M. Lydon (San Jose & Seoul).


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...

31 March 2020

Nature in Korea’s Capital: The Magic Stops at the Car Bridge
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of Min Joung-Ki, an exhibition of large-scale urban nature paintings at Kukje Gallery in Seoul, South Korea. Founded in 1982, Kukje Gallery is one of Korea’s most prolific exhibitors of international contemporary artists. Indeed, the institution is more of a small arts complex than a gallery, consisting of...

31 January 2020

Cloud Cities, Melting Cities: A Review of Yumiko Ono’s “Epitomes” at Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of “Epitomes,” an exhibition by Yumiko Ono, on view at Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Taipei through 2 February 2020. Situated a few blocks from Taipei’s central train station in an old school building, MOCA Taipei is currently hosting a large exhibition of catastrophic visions of past,...


18 November 2019

City as Nature Festival, Osaka, Japan
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

Co-sponsored by The Nature of Cities and FRIEC, the inaugural City as Nature Festival took place from 11-22 October 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Featuring interactive, place-based art, workshops, concerts, walks, talks, and storytelling events, the festival aimed at cultivating our awareness of urban environmental landscapes. The works and activities within...

28 October 2019

Plastic Bag as Tumbleweed: Poetic Observations of the Everyday Around Us
Malerie Lovejoy,  Oxford

A review of Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary, by Harryette Mullen. Greywolf Press 2013. Buy the book. For renowned poet and professor, Harryette Mullen, awareness is walking. Inspired by the Japanese syllabic verse form of the tanka, Mullen set out to explore her environment in a series of captured...

30 September 2019

Towards Innovative Design of Stormwater Management, with Landscape at the Center
Gloria Aponte,  Medellín

A review of Sustainable Stormwater Management: A Landscape-Driven Approach to Planning and Design, by Thomas W. Liptan with J. David Santen Jr. 2017. ISBN 13:978-1-60469-486-4. Timber Press, Inc. Portland, Oregon. 280 pages. “If we are to create living environments in which human beings can lead happy lives, we must plan cities and...

24 June 2019

How Can We Improve Social Infrastructure?
Laura Landau,  New York

A review of the book Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, by Eric Klinenberg. 2018. 290 pages. Random House. Buy the book. In Eric Klinenberg’s 2018 book, Palaces for the People, he argues that investing in social infrastructure (the assets...

27 May 2019

Imagining Future Cities in an Age of Ecological Change
Ursula Heise,  Los Angeles

  The guidelines of the prompt were very simple. Stories had to be set in a city in the distant future (i.e. in or near the year 2099), be 1,000 words or less, and have as significant plot points both nature and people. With this framework The Nature of Cities launched...

30 January 2019

French Landscape Painters and the Nature of Paris
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of Masterpieces of French Landscape Paintings from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts Moscow, an exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Art in Osaka, Japan. If we learn anything from an exhibition such as “Masterpieces of French Landscape Paintings”, it might be that French landscape painters have...


29 December 2018

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

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...

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...

13 August 2018

Nature after Nature and the Animal Internet
Rob Pirani,  New York

A review of the book Animal Internet: Nature and the Digital Revolution by Alexander Pschera (English translation from German by Elisabeth Lauffer). 2016. 209 pages.ISBN: 9781939931351. New Vessel Press. Buy the book. Apply the sunscreen, fill the water bottle, and put the damn phone at the bottom of the pack. My (precious)...

17 July 2018

When a Korean Hillside Town Disappears, Who will Notice?
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of “A Local Neighborhood Traveler,” an exhibition of painting and drawing by Korean artist Se Hee Kim at the Boroomsan Museum of Art in Gimpo, South Korea. On the outskirts of Seoul, tucked away into a traditional hillside garden is the Boroomsan Museum of Art. The museum sits...

28 May 2018

Gentrification Reconsidered: An Ambitious Framework for Equitable Urbanism
Sheila Foster,  Washington, DC

A review of the book Gentrifier (UTP Insights) by John Joe Schlichtmann, Jason Patch, and Marc Lamont Hill. 2017. 256 pages. ISBN-10: 1442650451 / ISBN-13: 978-1442650459. University of Toronto Press. $21.98 (Hardcover). Buy the book “As city residents and students of the city ourselves, we have increasingly noticed an elephant sitting in...

30 April 2018

New Integrated and Actionable Urban Knowledge for the Cities We Want and Need
Thomas Elmqvist,  Stockholm Xuemei Bai,  Canberra Niki Frantzeskaki,  Utrecht Corrie Griffith,  Tempe David Maddox,  New York Timon McPhearson,  New York Sue Parnell,  Cape Town Paty Romero-Lankao,  Boulder David Simon,  London Mark Watkins,  Phoenix

A preview of the book, Urban Planet: Knowledge Towards Sustainable Cities. 2018. Editors: Thomas Elmqvist, Xuemei Bai, Niki Frantzeskaki, Corrie Griffith, David Maddox, Timon McPhearson, Susan Parnell, Patricia Romero-Lankao, David Simon, Mark Watkins. Cambridge University Press. Available as an open source download here, or purchase as a physical book. We are living on an...

19 April 2018

A Bengaluru that Endures in Essence, Yet Constantly Transforms
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town

A review of Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future, by Harini Nagendra. 2016. 214 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0199465927 / ISBN-10: 0199465924. Oxford University Press. £ 25.99 (Hardback). Buy the book. In her book Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future (OUP, 2016) Harini...

5 February 2018

Kuwait Transformed: Urban and Social Change from Pre- to Post-Oil Kuwait
Huda Shaka,  Dubai

A review of Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life, 1st Edition. by Farah Al-Nakib. 2016. 296 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0804798525 / ISBN-10: 0804798524. Stanford University Press. Buy the book For anyone interested in understanding urban development in the Arabian Gulf (“Gulf Urbanism”), Farah Al-Nakib’s Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil...

18 January 2018

A Hymn for Architecture that is Good for People and Neighborhoods, not Just Buildings
Samarth Das,  Mumbai

A review of Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone by John Cary. 2017. 275 pages. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-793-3 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-793-6. Island Press, Washington. Buy the book. We live in a consumer’s world. Fed by products every second of our lives, urged to ponder, deliberate, and eventually consume that which...


26 December 2017

Half-Earth Cities
Paul Downton,  Melbourne

In Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, published in 2016, E. O. Wilson made a reasoned and impassioned call for making our human future fit within the boundaries of just half a planet, with the other half given over to human-free nature. He reasoned that unless natural systems have sufficient...

30 October 2017

Where Did the Rivers Go? The Hidden Waterways beneath London
David Goode,  Bath

A review of The Lost Rivers of London, by Nicholas Barton and Stephen Myers, 2016.  ISBN:1905286511. Historical Publications Ltd . 224 pages. Buy The Lost Rivers of London. …and London’s Lost Rivers, by Paul Talling. ISBN: 184794597X. Random House UK. 192 pages. Buy London’s Lost Rivers. The Lost Rivers of London by Nicholas Barton...

16 October 2017

Rewriting the Book on Urban Transportation Design
David Bragdon,  New York

A review of Global Street Design Guide. From the Global Designing Cities Initiative. ISBN: 9781610917018. Island Press. 442 pages. Buy the book. Streets are often the biggest share of publicly-owned land in a city. All too often, they’re conceived and managed only as thoroughfares for motor vehicles. A whole set of standards has...

2 October 2017

The Power of N
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town

A review of Vitamin N, by Richard Louv. 2016. ISBN:1616205784. Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill. 304 pages. Buy the book. Combating nature-deficit disorder—the new self-help fad, or something really useful? When I stumbled on Richard Louv’s book Vitamin N (2016 Algoquin Books) my initial reaction was one of shock. Have we really...

18 September 2017

New York’s Central Park as Muse, as Imagination, as Home
Mary Mattingly,  Brooklyn

A review of: Painting Central Park, by Roger Pasquier. 2015. ISBN: 0-86565-314-3. Vendome Press, New York. 197 pages. Buy the Book. For the past two years, I’ve invited people to pick free food on Swale, an edible public park built on a barge in New York City. Creating something unexpected is a...

4 September 2017

Urban Farming for Everyone / La Agricultura Urbana para Todos
Francois Mancebo,  Paris

A review of: Agricultura Urbana – Espacios de Cultivo para una Ciudad Sostenibles / Urban Agriculture – Spaces of Cultivation for a Sustainable City by Graciela Arosemena. 2012. 128 pages.  ISBN: 9788425224232.  Buy the book. Urbanization has gone hand-in-hand with agriculture from the beginning. Even in medieval times, when walls and defensive structures left...

21 August 2017

Green as a Color, a Philosophy, and a Marketing Strategy
Stephanie Pincetl,  Los Angeles

A review of: Paradoxes of Green, by Gareth Doherty. 2016. 216 pages. ISBN: 9780520285026. University of California Press. Buy the book. Greening cities has become an internationalized norm in urban sustainability initiatives. Increasing open spaces and urban vegetation are widely seen as positive improvements for the quality of life of city residents, and...

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...

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...

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...

26 June 2017

Drought and Flood: A Silicon Valley Museum Explores Water, Society, and City
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

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...

12 June 2017

Great Cities Grow from Great Spaces and Listening to their Citizens
Darlene Wolnik,  New Orleans

A review of: Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs, by Robert Kaniglel. 2016. Knopf. 512 pages. Buy the book. Garden Legacy, by Mary Louise Mossy Christovich and Roulhac Bunkley Toledano, with a foreword by S. Frederick Starr. 2016. The Historic New Orleans Collection. 268 pages. Buy the book. Ecocities...

29 May 2017

Biophilia’s Place in an Integrated Approach to Urban Planning
Mike Wells,  Bath

A review of the Handbook of Biophilic City Planning and Design, by Timothy Beatley. 2017. ISBN 978-1-61091-620-2. Island Press, Washington. 289 pages. Buy the book. The term “biophilia” describes our positive and innate response to the key features of the natural world that are thought to have been associated with our...

8 May 2017

Tracing Contemporary Landscape Architecture to Sound Ecological Foundations
Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie

A review of Toward an Urban Ecology, by Kate Orff. 2016. ISBN978-1-58093-436-7. The Monacelli Press, New York. 272 pages. Buy the book. Kate Orff, one of the leading ecologically-oriented landscape architects working today, and her firm, SCAPE, have put together an engaging and important book. The book describes what it means...

10 April 2017

The Suburban City, Usefully Seen as a Mega-Landscape
Kevin Sloan,  Dallas-Fort Worth

A review of The Future of the Suburban City: Lessons from Sustaining Phoenix, by Grady Gammage, Jr. 2016. ISBN 1610916239. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 208 pages. Buy the book. When taken together, recent books, lectures, and exhibitions on design paint a picture that Architecture and Landscape Architecture are two disciplines moving in...

27 March 2017

How Large Parks Complete Cities
Lynn Wilson,  Vancouver

A review of Large Parks, edited by Julia Czerniak and George Hargreaves. 2007. ISBN 1-56898-624-6. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 255 pages. Buy the book. “Large parks are priceless, and those cities that do not have an effectively designed one will always be the poorer.” –James Corner As a Regional Park...

13 March 2017

The Devil is in the Details: Wild Design, from an Ecological Point of View
Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville

A review of Wild by Design: Strategies for Creating Life-Enhancing Landscapes, by Margie Ruddick. 2016. ISBN: 9781610915991. Island Press, Washington, DC. 264 pages. Buy the book. This book, Wild by Design, is written from the perspective of a landscape architect, Margie Ruddick, who designs cityscapes and individual lots in such a...

27 February 2017

Poems Have the Power to Elucidate New Urban Futures
Laura Booth,  San Francisco

A review of The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street. 2013. Trinity University Press, San Antonio, TX. 628 pages. Buy the book. Are cities beyond the help of poetry? Donald Trump and his administration seem to think so, and their recent actions give the question urgency for...

30 January 2017

Finding Nature in the Walls of a Power Station
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of Why Not Ask Again, the 11th Shanghai Biennale at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, China, on view through 12 March 2017. It’s not unusual by any means in the contemporary art world, but as an edifice, the Power Station of Art is just about as...

18 January 2017

Can a City Be Sustainable?
Paul Downton,  Melbourne

A review of Can a City Be Sustainable? By Gary Gardner, Tom Prugh, and Michael Renner. 2016. Island Press.  Buy the book. This compact volume is an ambitious portmanteau of information on sustainable urbanism that covers an impressive range of issues and amply demonstrates how many of the essential initiatives needed to make...

2 January 2017

Civic Ecology: A Book that Inspires and Guides Teaching
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town

A review of Civic Ecology, Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up, by Marianne E. Krasny and Keith G. Tidball. 2015. ISBN: 9780262028653. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 328 pages. Buy the book. Krasny and Tidball’s Civic Ecology is a book that promises something different—and then actually delivers. The book sets out...


12 December 2016

Full Function May Remain Out of Reach, But Urban Stream Restoration Can Empower Communities
Marit Larson,  New York

A review of Restoring Neighborhood Streams: Planning, Design, and Construction. By Ann L. Riley. 2016.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN: 9781610917391. 288 pages. Buy the book. The basic challenge of restoring urban streams that support diverse environmental, social, and ecological functions is that these functions are inextricably linked to the surrounding watershed. Development...

28 November 2016

Morphology, Generosity, and the Nature of Cities
Stephanie Pincetl,  Los Angeles

A review of The Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria. By Marwa Al-Sabouni. 2016. Thames & Hudson, New York. ISBN-10: 0500343179. 208 pages. Buy the book. I have been reading an extraordinary book by Marwa Al-Sabouni: The Battle for Home: the Vision of a Young Architect in Syria, who...

14 November 2016

Tim Ingold’s “Sustainability of Everything”
Chris Fremantle,  Ayrshire, Scotland

A review of Tim Ingold‘s lecture event “The Sustainability of Everything” at the Centre for Human Ecology, Pearce Institute, Glasgow, Scotland Sustainability is an overused word. It is much diminished by its occurrence in too many documents purporting to suggest that transport, local government or this tea or those coffee...

2 November 2016

Where Did All the Streams Go?
Eric Sanderson,  New York Christopher Spagnoli,  New York

A review of Hidden Waters of New York City: A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams in the Five Boroughs. By Sergey Kadinsky. Countryman Press, Woodstock, VT. ISBN: 9781581573558. 336 pages. Buy the book. There is something about a stream that just won’t let go...

17 October 2016

Embedding Urban Ecology into Policy: West Berlin as a Case Study
Katharine Burgess,  Washington, D.C

A review of Greening Berlin: The Co-Production of Science, Politics and Urban Nature. By Jens Lachmund. 2013. MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262018593. 320 pages. Buy the book. The overgrown train tracks of Gleisdreieck Park. The community gardens and art installations of Tempelhofer Feld. The flora and fauna of Südgelände Nature Park....

26 September 2016

Urban Wildlife—Celebrating the Commonplace
Mike Houck,  Portland

A review of Field Guide to Urban Wildlife: Common Animals of Cities & Suburbs How They Adapt & Thrive by Julie Feinstein. 2011. Stackpole Books. ISBN978-0-8117-0585-1. 453 pages. Buy the book. While it may have set a Guiness record for longest subtitle, Julie Feinstein’s Field Guide to Urban Wildlife caused me to...

12 September 2016

Talking the Walk—Narrating and Navigating the Life of the Los Angeles River
Anne Trumble,  Los Angeles

A review of Rosten Woo’s “Bowtie Nature Walk,” available at the Bowtie Parcel on the east side of the Los Angeles River’s Glendale Narrows. A map and tour audio files are available here. A “nature walk” seems like an unlikely activity to find on the industrial banks of the Los...

29 August 2016

Timely Tales of Urban Nature
Gavin Van Horn,  Chicago

A review of City Wilds: Essays and Stories about Urban Nature by Terrell F. Dixon. 2002. The University of Georgia Press. ISBN: 978-0820323398. 336 pages. Buy the book. Writing this review came with a built-in challenge: Is an anthology, now almost 15 years old, worth a reader’s time and money? I...

15 August 2016

Better Places Add Up to Better Cities
Traci Sooter,  Springfield

A review of Good Urbanism: Six Steps to Creating Prosperous Places by Nan Ellin. 2012.  Island Press. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-374-4. 141 pages. Buy the book. Many people have a desire to improve spaces in their cities and neighborhoods, but most don’t know where to begin or what steps to take to see a community...

1 August 2016

Lessons from Beasts, Birds, and Other Inhabitants of the Urban Jungle
Chris Hensley,  Fresno

A review of The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. 2013. ISBN: 978-0316178525. Little, Brown and Company. 338 pages. Buy the book. Bestiaries—elaborate and fantastical combinations of medieval scientific knowledge and folklore—were meant to describe the animal life of the Earth. These large volumes depict all...

18 July 2016

The High Line. Foreseen. Unforeseen.
Adrian Benepe,  New York

A review of The High Line. By James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofido + Renfro. 2015. ISBN: 9780714871004. Phaidon Press. 452 pages. Buy the book. New York City’s High Line Park, once a rusting relic of abandoned freight rail transportation infrastructure, has become arguably one of the world’s best-known...

4 July 2016

Gazing at the Gowanus
Keerthi Potluri,  New York City

A review of Gowanus: Brooklyn’s Curious Canal. By Joseph Alexiou. 2015. ISBN: 9781479892945. NYU Press. 2015. 398 pp. Buy the book. Even a brief summer shower can cause fresh human waste to spill into the Gowanus Canal, as anyone who lives along one of America’s most polluted waterways can tell you from...

23 June 2016

Is There a Suburbia 2.0? Ideas for Designing the Next Generation of Suburbs
Kevin Sloan,  Dallas-Fort Worth

A review of A Sequel to Suburbia: Glimpses of America’s Post-Suburban Future. By Nicholas A. Phelps. 2015. ISBN: 9780262029834. MIT Press. 248 pages. Buy the book. James Joyce suggested that the creative work of an author—and I also include the work of an artist or landscape architect—presumes the intellectual level...

6 June 2016

Burden or Futureproof?
Sam Holleran,  New York City

A review of Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World, Edited by Jared Green. 2015. ISBN: 161689300. Princeton Architectural Press. 176 pages. Buy the book. In the last several years our culture has taken a dystopian turn. Movies broadcasting bleak futures, such as The Hunger Games series...

23 May 2016

Poetry Produces the Novel Language of Future Cities
Laura Booth,  San Francisco

A review of Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City. 2000. Edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis. ISBN: 1571314105. 265 pages. Buy the book. How can poems advance our understanding of nature in cities? If cities themselves are ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure, it follows that these...

9 May 2016

Case Studies from Colombia that are Valuable Across South America
Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires

A review of Naturaleza Urbana. plataforma de experiencias, edited by María Angélica Mejía. 2016. ISBN 978-958-8889-69-6. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá. 208 pages. The Spanish version of the book can be downloaded here. An English version will be available in September. In 2007, people living in towns...

4 April 2016

Comparing Apples to Peaches: Cities in the United States and Canada
Mary Rowe,  Toronto

A review of America’s Urban Future: Lessons from North of the Border, by Ray Tomalty and Alan Mallach. 2016. ISBN: 9781610915960. Island Press. 312 pages. Buy the book. Canada and the United States share the longest unprotected border between two sovereign nations in the world. Current electoral politics in the...

14 March 2016

Knowing vs. Doing: Propelling Design with Ecology
Anne Trumble,  Los Angeles

A review of Projective Ecologies, edited by Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister. 2014. ISBN: 1940291127. ACTAR, Harvard Graduate School of Design. 314 pages. Buy the book. Several months ago, I reviewed Landscape Imagination, a collection of essays by James Corner, a professor at University of Pennsylvania and the landscape architect who...

7 March 2016

How To Put Information, Transparency, and Communities at the Center of Resilience Planning
Richard Friend,  York

A review of Planning for Community Resilience: A Handbook for Reducing Vulnerability to Disasters, by Jamie Hicks Masterson, Walter Gillis Peacock, Shannon S. Van Zandt, Himanshu Grover, Lori Felid Schwarz, and John T. Cooper Jr. 2014. ISBN: 9781610915854. Island Press, Washington. 256 pages. Buy the book. Resilience certainly is the buzzword...

22 February 2016

Green Infrastructure is Possible, and Necessary, for Communities at Multiple Scales
Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires

A review of Strategic Green Infrastructure Planning: A Multi-Scale Approach, by Karen Firehock, with chapter seven by R Andrew Walker. 2015. ISBN 978-1-61091-692-9. Island Press, Washington. 138 pages. Buy the book. Almost everyone knows what urban greening looks like and how much we need it in everyday life, but few understand why...

15 February 2016

Intertwining People, Nature, and Place with Quilts and Thread
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of Earth Stories, an exhibition on view at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles now through February 28, 2016. The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is tucked into a rather plain looking beige building at the southern end of San Jose’s “SoFA” arts district....

8 February 2016

Nature in Chicago: Surprisingly Wild, Surprisingly Human
Chris Hensley,  Fresno

A review of City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness, edited by Gavin Van Horn and Dave Aftandilian. 2015. ISBN: 978-0-226-19289-5. University of Chicago Press. 377 pages. Buy the book. Normally, in these book reviews, I do my best to present a fair, unbiased account of what a book does...

1 February 2016

Ecodesign is for Citizens and Nature, not for Consumers
Paul Downton,  Melbourne

A review of Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs, by Jonathan Barnett and Larry Beasley. 2015. ISBN: 9781610913393. Island Press, Washington. 280 pages. Buy the book. This book has an unashamedly strong emphasis on the city of Vancouver as a model—a city that has taken a leadership role. “Hundreds of thousands” of...

25 January 2016

The Heart, Brain and Soul of City Parks
Adrian Benepe,  New York

A review of Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities, by Alexander Garvin. 2010. ISBN: 0393732797. New York, USA: W. W. Norton & Company. 224 pages. And City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts, by Catie Marron. 2013. ISBN: 0062231790. New York, USA. Harper. 304 pages. Buy the books. The last part...

16 January 2016

To Harness Ecosystems, Conserve Them
Anna Backstrom,  Melbourne Laura Mumaw,  Melbourne

A review of Conservation for Cities How to Plan and Build Natural Infrastructure, by Robert I. McDonald. Island Press, Washington. 2015. ISBN: 9781610915236. 268 pages. Buy the book. In Conservation for Cities, Robert I. McDonald seeks to “guide urban planners, landscape architects, and conservation practitioners trying to figure out how to...

4 January 2016

Leveraging Urban Form to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in China
Pengfei XIE,  Beijing

A review of Towards Low Carbon Cities in China: Urban form and greenhouse gas emissions, edited by Sun Sheng Han, Ray Green and Mark Y. Wang. 2015. ISBN: 9780415743310. Routledge, New York. 216 pages. Buy the book. Urban morphology has a great impact on greenhouse gas emissions, a viewpoint supported...


14 December 2015

Sowing the Seeds of Green Urbanism: ‘Spring is Here and the Time is Right for Planting in the Streets’
Paul Downton,  Melbourne

A review of The Revolutionary Urbanism of Street Farm: Eco-Anarchism, Architecture and Alternative Technology in the 1970s, by Stephen E. Hunt. 2014. ISBN 978-1-906477-44-8. Tangent Books, Bristol. 246 pages, including 16 pages of illustrations. Visions of cities draped in vegetation are now de rigueur for any architect, planner or urbanist...

3 December 2015

Can Large Parks be Urban Green Saviors?
Maria E Ignatieva,  Perth Richard Murray,  Stockholm Henrik Waldenström,  Stockholm

A review of the Large Parks in Large Cities conference, Stockholm, 2-4 September 2015. The prognosis for urbanization is challenging—in the next 40 years, urban population will double. Under the growing pressure of modern urban development, large parks are valued by people more than ever. From the beginning of city...

23 November 2015

Including Animals’ Perspectives Can Expand How We Define Cities
Chris Hensley,  Fresno

A review of Urban Animals: Crowding in Zoocities, by Tora Holmberg. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-138-83288-6. Routledge, New York. 164 pages. Cities are largely viewed as cultural constructs, built by humans for humans. However, the reality is that animals, whether wild or domesticated, also participate in the creation and definition of cities...

9 November 2015

History, the Detroit River and Building an International Wildlife Refuge Right
David Goode,  Bath

A review of Bringing Conservation to Cities: Lessons from Building the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, by John H. Hartig. 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9921007-4-2. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI. Ecovision World Monograph Series. 282 pages. John Hartig is currently the refuge manager for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge....

2 November 2015

Abandoned and Auctioned, an Old House Finds a Future in Flowers
Rebecca Salminen Witt,  Detroit

A review of Flower House Detroit, which ran October 16-18, 2015 at 11751 Dequindre St, Hamtramck, Michigan. Once again, something amazing and ephemeral has appeared in Detroit. Flower House Detroit (which was actually located in the city of Hamtramck, 2 square miles enveloped by the city of Detroit) was, at its...

26 October 2015

Granny Flats and a Sponge House: Rethinking Necessities for the Future of Communities Along the Los Angeles River
Allison Palenske,  Edinburgh

A review of “Shelter,” an exhibition on view at the Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles until Nov. 6, 2015. Although recent efforts to mitigate the characteristic poor air quality and largely suburban character of Los Angeles have been the focus of much debate and action, the city still faces...

19 October 2015

Urban Latin America: How’s it Going?
Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires

A review of the status of and need for green urban work in Latin America as of 2015. Throughout the Latin American continent, metropolitan areas and intermediate cities are growing rapidly with their individuality and particular regional features. More than 80 percent of the population in Latin America lives in...

12 October 2015

Are Individual Practitioners of Civic Ecology the Answer to Sustainability?
Stephanie Pincetl,  Los Angeles

A review of Civic Ecology, Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up, by Marianne E. Krasny and Keith G. Tidball. 2015. ISBN: 9780262028653. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 328 pages. This is a book that seeks to highlight the heroic efforts of individuals to make a difference in the quality of life...

5 October 2015

Rah! Rah! for Rail: Solving Transportation in Cities
Eric Sanderson,  New York

A review of Rail and the City: Shrinking Our Carbon Footprint While Reimaging Urban Space, by Roxanne Warren. 2014. ISBN: 9780262027809. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 336 pages. Like a dog with a bone, some of us just can’t let go of the notion of rail in cities. I’m certainly one...

28 September 2015

Stormwater Management as Both Utility and Amenity
Ben Feldmann,  Los Angeles

A review of Artful Rainwater Design: Creative Ways to Manage Stormwater, by Stuart Echols and Eliza Pennypacker. 2015. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-266-2 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-266-7. Island Press, Washington. 284 pages. Stormwater is a topic of great interest, especially now that the plight of water has been heightened by environmental pollution, dwindling...

21 September 2015

Move Slow and Connect People with Nature: The Economics of Happiness in Jeonju
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of the International Conference on the Economics of Happiness, held on September 3-5, 2015 in Jeonju, South Korea. “We need to re-establish the link between city and land.” At the opening ceremony of the Economics of Happiness conference, we were happily greeted with this statement from the event’s...

14 September 2015

The Myths of Alien Species: An Alternate Perspective on “Wild”
Divya Gopal,  Berlin

A review of The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation, by Fred Pearce. 2015. ISBN 978-0-8070-3368-5 / ISBN 978-0-8070-3369-2. Beacon Press, Boston. 245 pages. The New Wild is an intriguing book that looks at non-native species and nature in new light, challenging popular notions of ‘nativism,’ ‘wild’ and nature’s...

8 September 2015

What Makes a “Great” City Park? The Beholder Sees
Adrian Benepe,  New York

A review of Great City Parks; Second Edition, by Alan Tate with Marcella Eaton. 2015. ISBN 978-0-415-53802-2/ ISBN 978-0-415-53805-3/ ISBN 978-1-315-75071-2. Routledge, New York. 344 pages. In this thoughtful and detailed documentation of “great” city parks, which is enlivened  by spare and insightful opinions, I am reminded of the series...

10 August 2015

Glasgow Made the Clyde and the Clyde Made Glasgow
Allison Palenske,  Edinburgh

A review of “Clyde Reflections,” an art film by Stephen Hurrel and  Ruth Brennan, on exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, Scotland. The west coast of Scotland has been known to enchant, with its rough coastal edges, intricately carved islands, charming towns, and an aquatic landscape that...

3 August 2015

James Corner on Reading and Imagining the Landscape
Anne Trumble,  Los Angeles

A review of The Landscape Imagination: The Collected Essays of James Corner 1990—2010, by James Corner. 2014. ISBN 9781616891459. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 320 pages. James Corner’s prolific writing from the past two decades invites readers on a journey to discover the elusive medium of landscape. As one of the...

27 July 2015

Get Your Blue Mind On
Tim Beatley,  Charlottesville

A review of the “Urban Blue,” the Blue Mind Five Summit, which took place on May 11, 2015 in Washington, D.C. “Get your blue mind on!” is a frequent expression and admonition of Wallace J. Nichols, known simply as “J” to most of us. J has been a leading thinker,...

20 July 2015

How Tactical Urbanism “Adds Up”
Sarah Bradley,  Montreal

A review of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change, by Anthony Garcia and Mike Lydon. 2015. ISBN 9781610915267. Island Press, Washington. 256 pages. Tactical Urbanism: it’s one of the buzz words in the emerging people-centred planning paradigm. If you do a Google News search of the term, you’ll find articles from...

13 July 2015

Trees of Life and Fruitful Relationships
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of Arboreal Architecture: A Visual History of Trees, an exhibition on view at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, now through July 20, 2015. The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford is a beacon for global arts and culture in Silicon Valley—it opened its doors in 1894, nearly a century...

7 July 2015

Sustainable Design is Useful, Beautiful, and Connected to People
Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires

A review of Sustainable Infrastructure. The Guide to Green Engineering and Design, by S. Bry Sarté. 2010. ISBN 978-0-470-45361-2. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ. 364 pages. Buy the book. Sustainable infrastructure design—from water, energy, material flows, built systems—is the art of seeking solutions that address ecology, engineering and culture as interconnected...

29 June 2015

Sustainability is Everywhere
Stephanie Pincetl,  Los Angeles

A review of Sustainability in the Global City, Myth and Practice, edited by Cindy Isenhour, Gary McDonogh and Melissa Checker. 2015. ISBN: 9781107076280. Cambridge University Press, New York. 426 pages. As the introductory chapter states: “Sustainability is everywhere.” Indeed, what did we do before the introduction of the term? Sustainability...

22 June 2015

Cities FOR People
Mary Rowe,  Toronto

A review of People Habitat: 25 Ways to think about Greener, Healthier Cities, a collection of essays by F. Kaid Benfield. 2014. ISBN: 9780989751100. Island Press, Washington. 304 pages. Cities are arguably the greatest achievement of our human species. They are such an impressive naturally-occurring phenomenon: popping up over the...

11 June 2015

To Grow a Garden, Invest in Organizing
Derek Nichols,  Buffalo

A review of Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook, by LaManda Joy. 2014. ISBN-10: 160469484X. ISBN-13: 9781604694840. Timber Press, Portland. 224 pages. Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook is exactly that. This comprehensive resource is perfect for backyard gardeners wanting to go communal, community organizers wanting to impact their...

5 June 2015

Lions and Roaches and Boars, Oh My! Cities are Full of Animals
Chris Hensley,  Fresno

A review of Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle, by Tristan Donovan. 2015. ISBN: 978-1-56976-067-3. Chicago Review Press, Inc., Chicago. 256 pages. From red foxes in London and wild boars in Berlin to cockroaches in New York City and slugs in Miami, Feral Cities is full of...

26 May 2015

Nature, New York, and the Practice of Paying Attention
Philip Silva,  New York

A review of Still the Same Hawk, edited by John Waldman. 2012. ISBN: 9780823249893. Fordham University Press, New York. 160 pages. “Dualism is the defining quality of urban nature.”  Thus begins John Waldman’s introduction to Still the Same Hawk, a grab bag book of “reflections on nature and New York”...

20 May 2015

An Urban Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
Taida Garibovic,  Zadar, Croatia

A review of Blue Urbanism: Exploring Connections between Cities and Oceans by Timothy Beatley. 2014. ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-405-5 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-405-8. Island Press, Washington. 165 pages. Timothy Beatley, a recognized environmental urbanist and planner, has recently been working on the concept of sustainable communities and resilient cities. In particular, the author’s...

12 May 2015

Bringing Cities to Nature at the 2015 George Wright Society Conference
Lynn Wilson,  Vancouver

A review of “Engagement, Education & Expectations—The Future of Parks & Protected Areas,” the George Wright Society’s 18th bi-annual conference, which took place in Oakland, California from March 29-April 3, 2015. A new energy is emerging around the importance and relevance of connecting urban dwellers with nearby nature to realize a full range of human...

2 May 2015

A World without Cars, as Imagined by Eric Sanderson
Paul White,  New York City

A review of Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars and Suburbs, by Eric W. Sanderson. 2013. ISBN 978-1-4197-0434-5. Abrams Books, New York. 351 pages. “…and thus we layered a continent with asphalt and linoleum.”—Eric Sanderson (Terra Nova) In 2010, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West was transformed with a protected bike lane...

16 April 2015

Artists, Vagabonds, and an Accidental Nature Reserve in San Francisco Bay
Patrick M. Lydon,  Daejeon

A review of Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art and Culture, an exhibition curated by Robin Lasser, Danielle Siembieda, and Barbara Boissevain at SOMArts, San Francisco, USA.  For such a far-reaching social and ecological exposition, Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art and Culture centers on a surprisingly small piece of man-made land...

2 April 2015

Complex and Useful, Green Is Infrastructure
Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires

A review of Green Infrastructure: A Landscape Approach, by David C. Rouse and Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa. 2013.  ISBN: 978-1-611900-62-0. Report Number 571. Planning Advisory Service. American Planning Association. 157 pages. Available here.  This PAS Report, in line with the current principles of sustainability, discusses green infrastructure (GI) as the visible...

19 March 2015

Lessons from Britain’s Urban Nature Movement
Mike Houck,  Portland

A review of Nature in Towns and Cities, by David Goode. 2014. William Collins, New Naturalist Library. ISBN: 9780007242405. ISBN 10: 0007242409. 417 pages. The newest title in The New Naturalist Library, Nature in Towns and Cities by Dr. David Goode, is true to the series’ dual goals of “recapturing...

5 March 2015

Apples and Tomatoes: Comparing Community Gardens and Municipally Sponsored Urban Agriculture
Mara Gittleman,  Brooklyn

A review of Public Produce: Cultivating our Parks, Plazas, and Streets for Healthier Cities, by Darrin Nordahl. 2014. Island Press, Washington. ISBN: 9781610915496. 224 pages. When Darrin Nordahl first published Public Produce: the New Urban Agriculture in 2009, most urban agriculture took place in community gardens, backyard gardens, and urban farms....

19 February 2015

Illuminating New York Harbor
Rob Pirani,  New York

A review of Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, Revised Edition, by John Waldman. 2012. Fordham University Press, New York. ISBN: 9780823249855. 160 pages. 38 black and white illustrations. New York Harbor is a murky place by nature. The mixing of fresh and salt waters,...

26 January 2015

Common Sense Urban Tools to Change Cities, Via Curitiba
Sebastian Miguel,  Buenos Aires

A review of Urban Acupuncture: Celebrating Pinpricks of Change that Enrich City Life, by Jaime Lerner. 2014. Island Press, Washington.  ISBN 13: 978-1-61091-583 / ISBN 10: 1-61091-583-6. 143 pages.  For traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a method to stimulate specific points of the body to change or regulate a specific pathology and benefit the...

9 January 2015

Practical Advice for the Design of Greenways
Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires

A review of Designing Greenways: Sustainable Landscapes for Nature and People (Second Edition), edited by Paul Cawood Hellmund and Daniel Somers Smith. 2006. ISBN 1-55963-325-5. Island Press, Washington. 270 pages.  Greenways (GW)—from  wide wild areas to narrow urban trails—are linear bands of land and water designed and managed for multiple purposes such as...