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  • January 8, 2017

    The Real Dirt on Urban Compost
    Sven Eberlein, Oakland

    “Why isn’t every city doing this?” Dave Vella asks as he intently massages a handful of succulent compost from the towering pile freshly deposited onto his vineyard’s gravel thoroughfare. Dressed in jeans and denim shirt, the veteran Grape Manager of...

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    January 2, 2017

    Resolving to Act After the 2016 U.S. Election and the United Nations Climate Conference
    Franco Montalto, Philadelphia and Venice
    Hugh Johnson, Philadelphia

    We attended the 22nd session of the United Nations Climate Conference (also called COP22) as “Observers” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Since 1995, the COP has served as the annual UN climate conference, providing an...

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    December 22, 2016

    We Need to Think Trashy Thoughts
    Valerie Gwinner, Nairobi

    Out of sight, out of mind. That is how most of us want to think about the trash we generate. But as our cities become increasingly overwhelmed with the burden of refuse collection and disposal, we must refocus the way...

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    December 14, 2016

    History’s Peak: A Long View of the Nature of Cities
    Eric Sanderson, New York

    Author’s note: Through TNOC, we are encouraged to take a broad view of how nature can contribute to urban life. “Many voices, greener cities, better cities” is our mantra. Given the recent election of Mr. Donald Trump in the United...

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    November 2, 2016

    The Co-City: From the Tragedy to the Comedy of the Urban Commons
    Sheila Foster, New York City

    “Urban commons: the goods, tangible, intangible, and digital, that citizens and the Administration, [through] participative and deliberative procedures, recognize to be functional to the individual and collective wellbeing…to share the responsibility with the Administration of their care or regeneration in...

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    October 2, 2016

    Closing the Gap Between Girls’ Education and Women in the Workforce
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    Nilofar* leans over to pour us more tea. All conversations in Central Asia seem to start with tea. She is asking questions about our trip, wondering why we are walking from Bangkok to Barcelona. She wants to know if we...

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    September 25, 2016

    The Promise of the Big City: Migrants and Refugees Will Come to Your City. It’s Not a Novel Idea, but Cities Act Like it Is
    Jennifer Baljko, Barcelona

    “My husband is in Moscow.” “My son and his wife moved to Moscow a few years ago.” “My brother and sister work in Moscow.” “I want to go to Moscow. I can find a job there, and make more money...

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    September 18, 2016

    Three Key Ideas for Making Sense of Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Ecosystem Management
    Camilo Ordóñez, Toronto

    The sustainability of urban ecosystems depends on how we respond to future social, economic, and environmental challenges. From reducing the negative effects of highly engineered infrastructure on the ecological functioning of natural systems in cities, to achieving a more equal...

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    September 11, 2016

    Welcome to Beijing? The Migrant Population is Critical to Building an Inclusive Beijing
    Pengfei XIE, Beijing

    As the world is fighting against climate change, many Chinese cities are now trying to transition towards a low-carbon development pathway. Beijing, the capital city of China, promised to peak its carbon emissions by 2020, an ambitious target that inspires...

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    August 21, 2016

    Farmers, Chefs, and Lawyers: Building an Ecology of One
    Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul

    We live in an ecology of separation. Our human-built ecology is today so far separated from the earth’s ecology that it is impossible for sustainability—let alone environmental and social well-being—to be achieved within it. This is where we are as...

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    August 17, 2016

    Chicks in the City
    Valerie Gwinner, Nairobi

    Urban livestock has long been viewed as dirty, unsafe, and decidedly un-modern by both policymakers and members of the general public. Yet, for many people living in and near the cities of developing countries, animals are a key source of...

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    August 14, 2016

    Citizen Science Facilitates Both Science and Engagement
    Laura Booth, San Francisco

    When I pulled up in my friend’s truck to the tunnel entrance to the Marin Headlands, part of San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, I entered what appeared to be a fine mist of white plant fluff. I turned off...

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    August 7, 2016

    Elephants in the City
    Lynn Wilson, Vancouver

    I recently spent a month in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and have been reflecting on my experience ever since. Chiang Mai is a beautiful and vibrant city, rich in culture and history. The Buddhist religion permeates every aspect of the city...

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    July 17, 2016

    When Will We Start to Green the Roofs of Cities on a Massive Scale?
    Andrew Clements, Corinth

    The urban heat island is a well-known phenomenon that affects all cities around the world. It is the difference in temperature between a city and the surrounding suburban area. In countries such as Greece, the peak summertime temperature difference between...

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    July 10, 2016

    Restoration of Natural Ecosystems Makes Society Thrive
    Chantal van Ham, Brussels

    Our planet is at a crossroads. The ecosystems that underpin our economy, well-being, and survival are collapsing, species are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate, and climate change continues unabated. In these times of change, nature-based solutions can offer a...

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    May 24, 2016

    A Sustainable Future with Jobs and Social Harmony Starts with Urban Nature
    Buyana Kareem, Kampala

    According to the United Nations’ sustainable development framework, there are three dimensions of sustainability: (1) economic sustainability (jobs, prosperity, and wealth creation for all); (2) social sustainability (reduced vulnerability to poverty, inequality, and insecurity); and (3) environmental sustainability (production and...

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    May 22, 2016

    Market-Based Solutions Cannot Forge Transformative and Inclusive Urban Futures
    Richard Friend, Bangkok

    There is an advertisement that is played with great frequency on television in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Even without the language, the imagery is powerful and vivid; the meaning seems unambiguous. In the setting of a sparklingly clean, modern kitchen, a young...

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    March 22, 2016

    People Working for Nature in Cities: the Invisible Revolution
    Cecilia Herzog, Rio de Janeiro

    In the Third Millennium, we live in a globalized urban world, where loss of local culture and deep social segregation are happening. Climate is changing faster than predicted, hitting cities and people hard: climate-related floods, landslides, droughts, heat waves, traffic...

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    March 13, 2016

    Land Use Planning: The Critical Part of Climate Action Plans that Most Cities Miss
    Emily Wier, New Haven
    Alisa Zomer, New Haven

    Cities pledge to reduce emissions and fight climate change—but do these commitments measure up? The transport sector makes up nearly one-third of urban emissions, a factor influenced by distances traveled and modes of travel. Most cities focus on policies to...

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    March 8, 2016

    We Cannot Reduce Urban Inequality Unless We Fix Inequality in Exposure to Disaster Risk
    Fadi Hamdan, Beirut

    Inequality is on the rise! Recent statistics published by Oxfam on the economy of the 1 percent show that the richest 62 billionaires own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population. The report goes on to...

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