Essays Archive

Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.
October, 2019

16 October 2019

Co-creating Inclusive Green Cities: European Examples and Global Learning Opportunities
Katharina Hölscher, Rotterdam Alice Reil, Freiburg

“Co-creation” has garnered much buzz as a promising enabler of greener and better cities for all. During a hands-on session (“Co-creating inclusive green cities: European examples and global learning opportunities”) at the Nature of Cities Summit in Paris (June 4-7, 2019) with co-creation experts and cities—co-organised by Connecting Nature partners...

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11 October 2019

WILD STRAY CARE: Exploring multiple ways people co-exist with urban nature
Ferne Edwards, Barcelona Amy Hahs, Ballarat Yun Hye HWANG, Singapore

Human relationships with nature are highly complex and variable. Particularly now when the human connection to nature has been highly disrupted, and the sense of custodianship or stewardship has been displaced. Yet at the same time, there is a growing awareness and movement of the need to reconnect people and...

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6 October 2019

How Much Nature in Cities Should Be Set Aside?
Will Allen, Chapel Hill

Even in an era of extreme political divisiveness across the globe, clean air, clean water, and land conservation are extremely important goals across the political spectrum. According to recent bi-partisan polling in the US, 84 percent believe we can protect land and water and have a strong economy at the same...

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1 October 2019

Can Cities be Greta?
Peleg Kremer, Princeton Raz Godelnik, Princeton

On the last week of September millions of people participated in climate strike marches around the world, protesting against global inaction on climate change. Led by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, the youth climate strike movement and other social movements such as the Sunrise Movement in the U.S. and Extinction Rebellion...

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September, 2019

21 September 2019

China Is Investing $13 Trillion in Construction. Will It Pursue Zero Carbon Buildings?
Tatsatom Goncalves, Washington, DC Debbie Weyl, Washington, DC

China is in the midst of a construction mega-boom. The country has the largest buildings market in the world, making up 20% of all construction investment globally. And it’s only set to grow: China is expected to spend nearly $13 trillion on buildings by 2030. This unprecedented level of construction has tremendous implications—not just for the...

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16 September 2019

Smart vs Green: Technology Paradigms Battle it Out for the Future City
Sarah Hinners, Salt Lake City

 Vision A—The Smart City: The city is an intricate network of digital communications, computations, and connections. Data are being collected everywhere, at all times, and feed into computing systems that work to coordinate functions like power availability and traffic to optimize efficiency in real time. Autonomous vehicles navigate the streets...

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8 September 2019

Avoid Pitfalls and Expand the Promise of Urban Wetlands for Biodiversity: A Tale of Three Urban Wetlands
Timothy Bonebrake, Hong Kong

Madagascar is well known for its incredible biodiversity; the lemurs, chameleons, and the baobabs are, for good reason, recognized as the environmental rock stars of the island. In July 2019 I landed in the capital of Antananarivo to participate in the 56th meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and...

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5 September 2019

Teleportation and the Reinvention of the World’s Cities: A 20-year Retrospective
Rob McDonald, Washington, DC

It began, like electricity before it, as a new technology for the rich in lower Manhattan to play with. A daring startup, Helios Travel, began offering teleportation from Greenwich (Connecticut) to Wall Street for the princely sum of $10,000 a pop. Many potential customers couldn’t handle the idea of all...

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3 September 2019

One Minute of Dance a Day, at TNOC Summit
Nadia Vadori-Gauthier, Paris

One of the One Minute of Dance a Day project. This dance was performed on the Sorbonne campus during the TNOC Summit, outside the main auditorium venue. Beats by 3’z. There are over 700 dances, and you can search them by Paris neighborhood, site type, nature element, and more.

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August, 2019

31 August 2019

The Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework
Didier Babin, Paris Oliver Hillel, Montreal Elisabeth Chouraki, Paris

The team working for the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support project implemented by Expertise France participated to the international summit The Nature of Cities (TNOC) from the 4th to the 7th of June at the University of Paris Sorbonne of which the objective is to mobilize cities, metropolitan areas...

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22 August 2019

From City of Light to Ville Verte: How a Comprehensive Approach to Climate Change Adaptation is Making Paris the World’s Green Innovator
Adrian Benepe, New York

On a recent visit to Paris after an absence of more than a dozen years, I was struck by the comprehensive and visionary approach to urban resilience and livability that is transforming Paris into the global leader in innovative urban greening. Since my childhood, I have been entranced by the...

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12 August 2019

Oh, For the Love of Bicycles! A Walking Reflection about Moving on Two Wheels through Urban and Rural Areas
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

Walking may be my main form of transportation these days, but I often daydream about wheels…bicycle wheels…and the way they move people through urban and rural spaces. Most of our 14,000-kilometer journey to date is speckled with memories of two-wheeled riders, and my longing to join them in their pedaling...

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2 August 2019

London National Park City is a Reality
David Goode, Bath

During the past week the eyes of the world have been on London, to see a new Prime Minister installed at Westminster. But the week has also seen a momentous decision made for a sustainable and liveable future for London. The city was designated as a National Park City, the...

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July, 2019

26 July 2019

We’re Not “Solving” Wicked Challenges through Design and Science. Is That Ok?
Daniel Phillips, Detroit

Many of us are drawn to the process and potential of transdisciplinary projects through a desire to deepen the scope and impact of our work. Though landscape architects and planning practitioners claim to be capable of achieving socio-ecological impact, their proposals and built projects too often lack necessary grounding in...

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17 July 2019

Closer to Home, Higher the Walls
Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

We noticed an extraordinary thing walking across Asia and Europe since January 2016: the absence and presence of fences. It may not be extraordinary in the “I climbed Everest” kind of way. But, for us, it’s extraordinary in the “I walk slow enough to see how fences change” kind of...

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10 July 2019

Neighborhoods that Change in Non-linear Ways—Urban Planning for Succession
Mathieu Hélie, Montréal

For most of urban history, urbanization was a nonlinear process. Lots filled in as needed over time, in a process some call incremental growth, or organic growth, seemingly randomly and chaotically. It was iterative, driven by acute feedback and extreme scarcity. Even the shape of lots was refined over time,...

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4 July 2019

Water Sensitive Urban Design Goes Mainstream in Victoria, Australia
Meredith Dobbie, Victoria

Victoria, in south-eastern Australia, has long had a reputation as a garden state, even to the extent of describing it as such on car registration plates in the past. Victorian cities boast many parks, large and small, which are highly valued by their residents but threatened by drought and climate...

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June, 2019

30 June 2019

Imagine A City Where No One Sleeps Outside: Eden Village, A Model to End Homelessness
Traci Sooter, Springfield

When Dr. David and Linda Brown retired, they moved into a loft in downtown Springfield, Missouri. Very quickly they got to know and become friends with their new urban neighbors. But rather than visiting in with these neighbors in their apartments or lofts, their conversations were always on the streets,...

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24 June 2019

The Singing Air
Andreas Weber, Berlin

“…as if refusing to be caught / In any singular vision of my eye / Or in the nets and cages of my thought, / They tower up, shatter, and madden space / With their divergences, are each alone / Swallowed from sight.”— Richard Wilbur, An Event (excerpt) In the last...

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May, 2019

30 May 2019

How can local governments retain and plant trees on private lands—a primer
Camilo Ordóñez, Melbourne Judy Bush, Melbourne Joe Hurley, Melbourne Marco Amati, Melbourne Stephen Livesley, Melbourne

The future sustainability and liveability of cities in many bioregions will depend on retaining established trees, and on planting new trees, including on private lands. While retaining and planting trees in public space has become a familiar feature in many cities, the role of private land areas in a city’s...

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