Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

ESSAYS

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Highlights from The Nature of Cities 2021
David Maddox,  New York

When we read unexpected and remarkable things, we smile, even laugh out loud, and think: yes, this makes sense; and I didn’t think of it before now. In this spirit, let us celebrate some of the highlights from TNOC writing in 2021. These contributions from around the world were some combination of widely read, especially innovative, and/or disruptive in a useful way....

Embracing Diverse Concepts of Nature-based Solutions to Enact Transformational Change: A Perspective From the Early Career Working Group of the NATURA Network
Zbigniew Grabowski,  Millbrook
Ffion Atkins,  Cape Town
Lelani Mannetti,  Atlanta
Clair Cooper,  Durham
Danielle McCarthy,  Belfast
Robert Hobbins,  Atlanta
Matt Smit,  University Park
Yuliya Dzyuban,  Singapore
Charlyn Green,  Atlanta
Yeowon Kim,  Ottawa
Hopeland P,  Tamil Nadu
Pablo Cantis,  New York
Luis Ortiz,  New York

Governments and communities around the world are embracing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) as a major climate adaptation strategy. Building off of pre-existing approaches to integrating ecological and built systems, NbS attempt to meet a wide array of social goals including improving urban quality of life, supporting transit and recreation, and mitigating the impacts of extreme events. In support of this work,...

Where Have All Our Gunda Thopes Gone? An Illustrated Story of Loss and Hope Around Peri-Urban Commons in Karnataka, India
Sahana Subramanian,  Lund
Neeharika Verma,  Amherst
Sukanya Basu,  Göttingen
Seema Mundoli,  Bangalore
Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore

“Lakshmamma thought sadly of her grandchildren, growing up in the city, in a crowded slum with no thope to run around in or trees to climb.” This excerpt, from our bilingual book “Where have all our gunda thopes gone?”, is a story of loss and hope—loss of nature as a city expands and hope that our readers will be encouraged...

Planning is Power: How Planning Shaped Colonial Realities in Occupied Palestine
Huda Shaka,  Jeddah

Urban planning often serves existing power structures to the detriment of the marginalized and as such has been used as a tool for racial segregation and discrimination in many contexts. As UCLA Professor Ananya Roy puts it: “Urban planning has repeatedly produced segregation and displacement”. Much has been written, for example, on the discriminatory urban planning practices in the United...

VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLES

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How can nature-based solutions (NBS) provide the basis for a nature-based economy?
John Bell,  Brussels |  Guilherme Castagna,  São Paulo |  Emre Eren,  London |  Susanne Formanek,  Wien |  Tiago Fritas,  Brussels |  Rhoda Gwayinga,  Kampala |  Simon Gresset,  Freiburg |  Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá |  Mamuka Gvilava,  Tbilisi |  Cecilia Herzog,  Rio de Janeiro |  Antonia Lorenzo,  Málaga |  David Maddox,  New York |  Rupesh Madlani,  London |  Taícia H. N. Marques,  Lima |  Ana Mitić-Radulović,  Belgrade |  Hans Müller,  Kornwestheim |  Isaac Mugumbule,  Kampala |  David Simon,  London |  Audrey Timm,  Chilton |  Ellie Tonks,  Amsterdam |  Naomi Tsur,  Jerusalem |  Domenico Vito,  Milan | 
Innovations from the Post-COVID-19 City CoLab Challenge
Amal al Balushi,  Aachen |  Georgia Bertagna,  Parma |  Thomas Beery,  Kristianstad |  Charlotte Britton,  Munich |  Jenna Cardinale,  New York |  Davide Geneletti,  Trento |  Eva Hoppmanns,  Aachen |  Dana Johnston,  Munich |  Vanessa Kucharski,  Aachen |  Audrey Leung,  Munich |  Mareeya Mitmana,  Munich |  Siân Moxon,  London |  Lea Schwab,  Aachen |  Colm O’Driscoll,  Dublin |  Anneliese Zausner-Mannes,  New York | 
Beyond equity: What does an anti-racist urban ecology look like?
Julian Agyeman,  Medford |  Isabelle Michele Sophie Anguelovski,  Barcelona |  Anna Livia Brand,  Berkeley |  Jean-Marie Cishahayo,  Ottawa |  CJ Goulding,  Teaneck |  Morgan Grove,  Baltimore |  Derek Hyra,  Washington |  Laura Landau,  New York |  María Mejía,  Bogotá |  Polly Moseley,  Liverpool |  Amanda Phillips de Lucas,  Baltimore |  Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie |  Charles Prempeh,  Accra |  Malini Ranganathan,  Washington |  Baixo Ribeiro,  São Paulo |  Amrita Sen,  Bangalore |  Suné Stassen,  Cape Town |  Abdallah Tawfic,  Cairo |  Cindy Thomashow,  Seattle |  Hita Unnikrishnan,  Sheffield |  Ebony Walden,  Richmond |  Ibrahim Wallee,  Accra |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota | 
What actions are successful in activating cities to implement urban biodiversity conservation policies, campaigns, and projects?
Eric Butler,  Portland |  Georgina Cullman,  New York |  Eduardo Guerrero,  Bogotá |  Hayato Hasegawa,  Fukuoka |  Clara Holmes,  New York |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Keitaro Ito,  Fukutsu City |  Mahito Kamada,  Tokushima |  Marit Larson,  New York |  Gilles Lecuir,  Paris |  Kevin Lunzalu,  Nairobi |  Colin Meurk,  Christchurch |  Matthew Morrow,  New York |  Siobhán McQuaid,  Dublin |  Tomomi Sudo,  Fukuoka |  Pamela Zevit,  Surrey | 

RECENT EXHIBITIONS

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The State We’re in Water: Constructing a Sense of Place in the Hydrosphere

An exhibition by Robin Lasser and Marguerite Perret Originally produced by Oklahoma State Museum of Art,adapted and digitally-curated for The Nature of Cities by the Forum for Radical Imagination on Environmental Cultures (FRIEC).   Introduction “…from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” — Charles Darwin We human beings are...

Hidden Flows — photographers uncover the invisible flows in African cities

Introduction Welcome to our exhibition! It’s been a year in the making, and will keep evolving. We’d love to hear your thoughts: [email protected] The hidden flows exhibition emerged out of a need to enrich current conversations about resources, infrastructure and services in African cities. There is ongoing research, through the lens of urban metabolism, to measure and track how resources...

NYC Urban Field Station—Who Takes Care of New York?

Welcome! This interactive exhibition–originally mounted at the Queens Museum in 2019–highlights the stories, geographies, and impacts of diverse civic stewards across New York through art, maps, and storytelling. This is the Gallery Space’s “front door” and we are asking for a voluntary donation to support this exhibit—a tip jar, or pay-what-you-will ticket. During COVID-19, The Urban Ecological Arts Forum at...

Emilio Fantin—Dreams of Trees

Welcome to an exhibition and workshop that asks: how do we re-member what once rooted us in our own being and in the mutual being of the world around us? Fantin helps highlight a universal consciousness, and a relationship that affects not only the human being but all animated and non-animated things. This is the Gallery Space’s “front door” and...

EVENTS

TNOC Festival

TNOC Festival pushed boundaries to radically imagine our cities for the future. A virtual festival that covered 5 days with programming across all regional time zones and provided in multiple languages.

TNOC Festival Plenaries

TNOC Festival featured 18 plenaries, each with keynotes, panel dialogues, and art interventions. You can see them all here, both as complete plenary videos or segments.

TNOC Summit Outputs

This is a page for emerging outputs from The Nature of Cities Summit, in Paris 4-7 June 2019. New essays and roundtable appear here periodically, so keep checking back.

Conversations

TNOC operates three webinar series: Adventures in Collaboration, Stories of the Nature of Cities 1/2 Hour, and THE LEAF: Show and Tells from the Urban Arts Collective. After the scheduled live webinar, a recording will be made available to view.

PROJECTS

Fiction

We asked people to imagine future cities, in the form of a flash or very short fiction. The series now includes two volumes: the latest is titled CITY IN A WILD GARDEN, a collection of 49 stories from 21 countries.

Poetry

With SPROUT, we are curating a space for trans- and multi-disciplinary collaborations between poets, researchers, and citizens with a focus on geographical diversity, polyvocality, and translation. We are a creative project of The Nature of Cities, specifically interested in the character of green cities from many ways of knowing.

La Nature Des Villes

La Nature des Villes est un projet réalisé par The Nature of Cities. Cette une espace en ligne dédiée à la facilitation de la collaboration, en français, pour créer les villes qui soient meilleures pour la nature et tous les citoyens urbains. Nous existons à promouvoir les idées et les rassemblements multidisciplinaires entre divers acteurs urbains au monde francophone.

Food Water Energy

The IFWEN project stands for: Understanding Innovative Initiatives for Governing Food, Water and Energy Nexus in Cities. IFWEN is a Belmont Forum funded international team of researchers and stakeholders working to advance knowledge about urban governance related to FWEN, and Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI) as its base.

MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

Nature Atlas: Exploring Multi-scalar Methods for Mapping Urban Environments
Ruchika Lodha,  New York
Timon McPhearson,  New York

Edward O. Wilson popularized the concept Biophilia more than 30 years ago, in 1984, describing it as “the urge to affiliate with other life forms”. In short, Biophilia is a hypothesis that suggests the innate affinity...

PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

It Takes a Village to Green an Alley
Philip Silva,  New York
David Maddox,  New York

Story Notes: More and more cities throughout the world are turning to parks, gardens, green roofs, and other kinds of “green infrastructure” to soak up storm water and simultaneously create vibrant new patches of open space for their citizens. In this podcast, produced by Philip Silva, we explore three cases of green infrastructure that have popped up in alleyways and on...

PLACE &
DESIGN

St. Petersburg: Towards Integrated and Sustainable Green Infrastructure
Maria E Ignatieva,  Perth

Compared with other countries, Russia came relatively late to the world of market economy. It was a quite painful process as the Socialist planned economy changed to the demands of the market and working with private investors. Rapid urbanisation and new rules of planning require searching for new approaches to design and management of urban green areas in Russian cities....

ART &
AWARENESS

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 face in the landscape, one which is directly related to...