Essays Archive

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

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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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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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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20 August 2018

Greening the Blues: Nature and Depression
Yvonne Lynch, Melbourne

 The benefits of nature for general health are well established. Indeed, we intuitively know that green is good for our mental health, but just how good is it? The stress reduction/ supportive design theory posits that viewing or experiencing nature activates our parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress levels (Ulrich...

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12 August 2018

Urban Habitat Management that Could Attract Species that Otherwise Avoid Cities
Luis Sandoval, San José

In 2010, humanity reaches a historical milestone, because the majority of humans started to live in the urban areas for the first time. This milestone produces big pressure on remaining natural habitats inside urban areas, because those areas are the places that can be used to build more housing for...

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7 August 2018

Farmers From the City
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

It’s a hot June day in rural Greece. We stop in a run-down gas station on a small secondary road cutting through wheat fields on both sides. We wipe the sweat from our brows. The gas station attendant opens the refrigerator and pulls out a crate of cherries.  “Take what...

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2 August 2018

Ramsar COP 13: What can Artists Contribute to Urban Wetland Restoration?
Chris Fremantle, Ayrshire, Scotland

The Ramsar Convention (also known as Convention on Wetlands) is the first of the major intergovernmental convention on biodiversity conservation and wise use. It was signed in 1971, in the City of Ramsar in Iran. This October, the 13th Ramsar Conference of the Parties (COP 13) will take place in...

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July, 2018

24 July 2018

Urban Metabolism: A Real World Model for Visualizing and Co-Creating Healthy Cities
Sven Eberlein, Oakland

Like the human body, cities are living, ever-evolving organisms. Just as diet, exercise, sleep, or laughter can be seen as indicators of our personal physical and emotional well being, the ways in which goods, water, commuters, or food move through the urban ecosystem determines a city’s health and sustainability within...

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20 July 2018

Bangalore Pile Study: Curiosity and Intervention in the Margins of a Megacity
Daniel Phillips, Detroit

To begin to grasp Bangalore’s frenetic patterns of urbanization, Google Earth offers an interesting place to start. Yet despite its much lauded reputation as India’s “Silicon Valley”, the “street view” function is still unavailable here. It appears to be the case that in a city which boasts among the worst...

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17 July 2018

SALT: Restoration + Recreation = Water in California
Robin Lasser, Oakland Marguerite Perret, Topeka

It is late June and we are up to our knees floating a small tent sculpture in a containment pond filled with a thick green milkshake-like goo. A combination of duck week and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), this overgrowth or bloom is probably caused by fertilizer run-off from the surrounding cemetery...

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14 July 2018

2046, year of our lady The Fog
Claudia Luna Fuentes, Saltillo

This is part of the TNOC poetry series “The City We’re In”. Lea el poema en español, su idioma original. Lisez le poème en français. 2046, year of our lady The Fog Poems by Claudia Luna Fuentes Translation from Spanish by Gerardo Mendoza Garza _____________________________________________   2046, año de Nuestra...

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