FRIEC: Forum for Radical Imagination on Environmental Cultures

Forum for Radical Imagination on Environmental Cultures

Welcome to FRIEC, the Forum for Radical Imagination on Environmental Cultures at The Nature of Cities, a place to build cities that nurture humanity’s relationships with urban nature through art and creative, cross-culture, cross-discipline collaboration.

Virtual Exhibitions

Join us as we bring to life interdisciplinary arts exhibitions that were canceled due to COVID-19. All exhibitions are supported by your generous donations.

What is FRIEC?

We are a place for radical imagination
about what cities could be,
where artists and practitioners of all backgrounds
can come together to:

collaborate with each other,
cities, and nature

challenge the framework
of established knowledge

allow new ideas for sustaining cities
across disciplines, species, and ways of knowing

imagine collaborative movements for livable,
resilient, healthy, poetic cities and regions
in partnership with nature

Recent Events

Together with global partners, we produce artist-led, interdisciplinary actions, exhibitions, residencies, and interventions in local urban landscapes.

Featured Stories

Stories that unveil creative actions for ecological wellness
in cities and cultures across the world.

What the Garden Belongs To: Sensorial Listening in Urban Space

On Emily Street between 7th and 8th in Philadelphia lies the Growing Home community gardens—two discrete plots of land separated by an assortment of old and new construction rowhomes that are the architectural hallmark of the neighborhood. Chainlink fences separate the gardens from the…
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Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2019

Today’s post celebrates some of the highlights from TNOC writing in 2019. 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,…
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City as Nature Festival, Osaka, Japan

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…
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The Culture Reviews

Reviews of urban ecological arts projects in galleries and the real-world urban theater. 

Trees of Life and Fruitful Relationships

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…
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Poetry and Fiction: The City We’re In

A curated a series of poems and fiction from around the world on themes of cities: communities, infrastructure, open space, and nature. These works are about the cities of our dreams: resilient, sustainable, livable, and just.

Neither Above Nor Below

Jakarta Is Sinking So Fast, It Could End Up Underwater —New York Times headline, 12/21/17  A flash of silver-green in the water. That is all Hasan sees, but it is enough. He runs after, alongside, his small legs propelling him across the planks and…
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2046, year of our lady The Fog

This is part of the TNOC poetry and fiction 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…
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More FRIEC Stories

Read more stories on creative actions for ecological wellness
in cities and cultures across the world

We Had Forgotten That We Are Ecological Beings

It’s afternoon in the middle of the work-week, and our local park is filled with people as if it were a holiday. There are little kids wildly chasing pigeons, and slightly bigger kids carefully stalking beady-eyed herons. There are teenagers racing on foot along…
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Who Takes Care of New York?

Civic leaders and community members regularly put time and energy into caring and advocating for the environment. We call these acts of care stewardship. Beyond improving green and blue spaces, stewardship can also lead to other types of civic action. Local stewardship groups can…
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SALT: Restoration + Recreation = Water in California

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…
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More Arts @ TNOC

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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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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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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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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We Had Forgotten That We Are Ecological Beings
Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka

It’s afternoon in the middle of the work-week, and our local park is filled with people as if it were a holiday. There are little kids wildly chasing pigeons, and slightly bigger kids carefully stalking beady-eyed herons. There are teenagers racing on foot along the pond, and families sitting on...

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Lost and Found: A Companion Essay to the Art Works of Katrine Claassens
Nina-Marie Lister,  Toronto

Before / Winter We are celebrating our 3-year friendship. Artist-climate activist and ecologist-designer. We met in Portland (a tip of two floral hats, and a gracious thank you to David and The Nature of Cities), a long way from Toronto and longer still from Cape Town. Our conversations have become...

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Covid has upended all the normal routines in our lives and work. How do you imagine you might be changed by it, both professionally, but also personally as you negotiate a new post-virus “normal”?
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski,  Barcelona Janice Astbury,  Buenos Aires Lindsay Campbell,  New York Sarah Charlop-Powers,  New York Katrine Claassens,  Montreal M'Lisa Colbert,  Montreal Carmen Bouyer,  Paris Marcus Collier,  Dublin Paul Currie,  Cape Town Samarth Das,  Mumbai Gillian Dick,  Glasgow Paul Downton,  Melbourne Emilio Fantin,  Milan Todd Forest,  New York Andrew Grant,  Bath Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá Bram Gunther,  New York Dagmar Haase,  Berlin Annegret Haase,  Leipzig Fadi Hamdan,  Beirut Cecilia Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro Alex Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro Mathew Jensen,  New York Panagiota Kotsila,  Barcelona Gilles Lecuir,  Paris Nina-Marie Lister,  Toronto Kevin Lunzalu,  Nairobi Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka Yvonne Lynch,  Riyadh David Maddox,  New York Antonia Machado,  Portland Francois Mancebo,  Paris Rob McDonald,  Washington, DC Brian McGrath,  New York City Siobhán McQuaid,  Dublin Ragene Palma,  London Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman,  College Park Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie Mary Rowe,  Toronto Andrew Rudd,  New York City Eric Sanderson,  New York Olivier Scheffer,  Bordeaux Huda Shaka,  Dubai Laura Shillington,  Montreal Elisa Silva,  Caracas David Simon,  London Mary Hall Surface,  Washington Erika Svendsen,  New York Abdallah Tawfic,  Cairo Christine Thuring,  Vancouver Naomi Tsur,  Jerusalem Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro,  Paris Andreas Weber,  Berlin Diana Wiesner,  Bogota Darlene Wolnik,  New Orleans Xin Yu,  Shenzhen Carly Ziter,  Montreal


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

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...

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