Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Sewage Eating Floating Islands: Operationalizing “Urban Ecosystem Justice”
Scott Kellogg,  Albany

While the urban sustainability movement has had many successes over the past decades, the benefits have been disproportionately befitted affluent residents. This is partly on account of the fact that sustainability discourse over recent years has placed a stronger emphasis on the “environmental” and “economic” aspects of sustainability, largely ignoring or underemphasizing sustainability’s social dimension. Albany, NY, Summer 2018. The...

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ESSAY
CROSSTALK

Walls that Talk: Green Fences in Kampala City
Buyana Kareem,  Kampala

Walls that talk are not found in haunted houses or buildings but rather symbolic to the phenomenon of greening residential fences using organic plant species, in ways that non-verbally speak to the broader goal of re-naturing cities. This is happening in Kampala city, where vertical structures with walls that have elements of green cover are being erected around residential dwellings...

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GLOBAL
ROUNDTABLE

As a landscape architect, how do you interpret the word “biodiversity”? How does this meaning find expression in your design?
Gloria Aponte,  Medellín |  AnaLuisa Artesi,  Buenos Aires |  Andrew Grant,  Bath |  Yun Hye HWANG,  Singapore |  Maria E Ignatieva,  Perth |  Jason King,  Portland |  Victoria Marshall,  Singapore |  Daniel Phillips,  Detroit |  Mohan Rao,  Bangalore |  Sylvie Salles,  Paris |  Kevin Sloan,  Dallas-Fort Worth |  Diana Wiesner,  Bogota |  7 Comment(s)
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REVIEWS
REACTIONS

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 becomes the real problem to solve and driver of the...

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RECENT ESSAYS...

Earthworms Can Awaken Us to Ecological Change
Toby Query, Portland

The soil is alive and there is a whole ecosystem waiting to be explored, right below our feet. Anywhere in the city, where there are leaves and some cracks in the sidewalk, there is life underneath us! The soil is a living complex of roots, bacteria, fungi, substrate (rocks, sand and clay particles), and animals. Many soil animals are microscopic...

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How Do City Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Plans Compare?
Sara Meerow, Tempe

Record-breaking disaster losses, unprecedented storms and heat waves, and stark warnings in the most recent IPCC report all point to an urgent need for local governments around the world to prepare for climate change impacts. Consequently, many cities have developed climate change adaptation plans that outline projected climate change impacts and response actions (Woodruff & Stults, 2016). In the last...

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The Green Soul of the Concrete Jungle
Rob McDonald, Washington, DC

As readers of the Nature of Cities are no doubt aware, we are living in what could rightly be called the urban century, with 2.4 billion more people forecast to live in cities by 2050. In a recent essay in Sustainable Earth, my coauthors, Tim Beatley, Thomas Elmqvist and I reviewed three different academic disciplines—urban economics, environmental health, and ecology—to...

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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 Zealand’s urban areas have committed to protecting and enhancing urban...

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RECENT ROUNDTABLES...

Artists in Conversation with Water in Cities
Carmen Bouyer,  Paris |  Patrick M. Lydon,  Osaka |  Antonio José García Cano,  Murcia |  Katrine Claassens,  Montreal |  Claudia Luna Fuentes,  Saltillo |  Nazlı Gürlek,  Istanbul & Palo Alto |  Basia Irland,  Albuquerque |  Robin Lasser,  Oakland |  Mary Mattingly,  New York City |  Marguerite Perret,  Topeka |  Bonnie Sherk,  San Francisco |  Nadia Vadori-Gauthier Vadori-Gauthier,  Paris |  Aloïs Yang,  Prague | 
8 Comment(s)
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An urban planner and an urban ecologist walk into a bar. They chat about how (and maybe whether) “ecology” could play a bigger role in planning…
Will Allen,  Chapel Hill |  Juan Azcarate,  Bogotá |  Amy Chomowicz,  Portland |  Katie Coyne,  Austin |  Georgina Cullman,  New York |  PK Das,  Mumbai |  David Goode,  Bath |  Mark Hostetler,  Gainesville |  Elsa Limasset,  Orléans |  Ragene Palma,  Manila |  Diane Pataki,  Salt Lake City |  Gil Penha-Lopes,  Lisbon |  Lauren Smalls-Mantey,  New York | 
15 Comment(s)
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Smart cities are coming. Can they be as much about nature, health, and wellbeing as traffic flows, crime detection, and evermore efficient provision of utilities?
Helga Fassbinder,  Amsterdam-Vienna |  Gary Grant,  London |  Pratik Mishra,  London |  Seema Mundoli,  Bangalore |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Vishal Narain,  Gurugram |  Eric Sanderson,  New York |  Huda Shaka,  Dubai |  Shaleen Singhal,  New Delhi | 
5 Comment(s)
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What is one thing every ecologist should know about urban ecology?
Pippin Anderson,  Cape Town |  Erik Andersson,  Stockholm |  Marc Barra,  Paris |  Nathalie Blanc,  Paris |  Marcus Collier,  Dublin |  Paul Downton,  Melbourne |  Ana Faggi,  Buenos Aires |  Niki Frantzeskaki,  Rotterdam |  Dagmar Haase,  Berlin |  Steven Handel,  New Brunswick |  Nadja Kabisch,  Berlin |  Timon McPhearson,  New York |  Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore |  Steward Pickett,  Poughkeepsie |  Philip Silva,  New York |  Mike Wells,  Bath |  Weiqi Zhou,  Beijing | 
14 Comment(s)
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MORE ESSAYS IN...

SCIENCE &
TOOLS

Open Wells and Urban Resilience
Hita Unnikrishnan,  Sheffield
Harini Nagendra,  Bangalore

What happens to a city’s traditional foundations of service delivery when it expands boundaries and enhances its infrastructure? Does the city still concern itself with the maintenance of the supply structures that were once essential for...

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PEOPLE &
COMMUNITITES

Let’s Apply an Ethno-ecological Approach to Cities and their Nature
Gloria Aponte,  Medellín

(Una versión en español, aqui.) Activities related to urban development usually reflect the prevailing global cultural characteristics of a society. At the same time, other aspects of the local culture remain silently persistent, tied to more intimate and traditional values than those the present trend of globalization motivates or allows. For example, the stiffening of the meandering flow of water...

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PLACE &
DESIGN

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 the enquiring spirit of the old naturalists” and “maintaining a...

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ART &
AWARENESS

Skin the City
Paula Segal,  Brooklyn
Daniel Eizirik,  Porto Allegre

The skin of the city shifts. Waves of residents come and go; meanings vanish. The longer I live here, the more I feel like I am a creature of many phantom limbs. Hungry, I walk to Jimmy’s hoping for fish and a chair to eat it in, but it is gone. In its place, a bodega expanded into a head...

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