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  • March 15, 2017

    The Barrancas of Cuernavaca: Rescuing Lost Landscapes Hidden by Garbage
    Janice Astbury, London

    The first five people we spoke to in the San Anton neighborhood of the Mexican city of Cuernavaca didn’t know the location of the Salto Chico (small waterfall). The neighborhood’s larger waterfall, referred to as the Salto Grande or Salto...

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    January 25, 2017

    Beyond the City
    Naomi Tsur, Jerusalem

    This concept paper was inspired by a series of round table discussions that were hosted by the Israel Urban Forum, together with the Bezalel Academy of Urban Design in Jerusalem. The participants at my round table, where the topic of...

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    December 28, 2016

    Highlights from The Nature of Cities in 2016
    David Maddox, New York City

    Today’s post celebrates highlights from TNOC writing in 2016. These contributions, originating around the world, were widely read, offer novel points of view, are somehow disruptive in a useful way, or combine these characteristics. Certainly, all 550+ TNOC essays and roundtables are...

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    December 19, 2016

    Urban Nature Forms Urban Character
    Leda Marritz, San Francisco

    “Urban nature” is, for many people, a contradiction in terms. Urban spaces are all about control, hard edges, and the fabrication of an environment. Nature is wild, opportunistic, and fragile. Where is the overlap? Yet for those of us who...

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    December 12, 2016

    Full Function May Remain Out of Reach, But Urban Stream Restoration Can Empower Communities
    Marit Larson, New York City

    A review of Restoring Neighborhood Streams: Planning, Design, and Construction. By Ann L. Riley. 2016.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN: 9781610917391. 288 pages. Buy the book. The basic challenge of restoring urban streams that support diverse environmental, social, and ecological functions is that...

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    November 30, 2016

    From Biomimicry to Ecomimicry: Reconnecting Cities—and Ourselves—to Earth’s Balances
    Olivier Scheffer, Paris

    One reason we should care about biodiversity is that it might be the solution to our environmental impact: after 3.8 billion years on planet Earth, Nature certainly has some sustainability and resilience lessons to teach us—that is, before it gets...

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    November 16, 2016

    Social Media Sharks and Tell-Tale Vultures—Connecting to Nature in a Digital Age
    Tim Beatley, Charlottesville

    Nature is being lost all around us. It is alarming in its implications for both livability and sustainability. How can we better connect to nature in a distracted digital world? Although it may not be intuitive, these are also promising...

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    November 6, 2016

    Are You Connected?
    Erik Andersson, Stockholm

    I am an unreserved admirer of landscape scenery and mountain vistas, space, and the connection between site and surroundings has always interested me. When I was first in Japan, I spent a lot of time visiting and enjoying parks. Aesthetics...

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    October 20, 2016

    Viola Has an Acorn in Her Pocket
    Stephan Barthel, Stockholm

    I live in Stockholm, Sweden. I enjoy talking walks in the autumn, inhaling the scent from degrading debris, kicking around dead leaves, and gazing at the vivid colors. This fall, my baby daughter has often followed me on my walks....

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    October 17, 2016

    Embedding Urban Ecology into Policy: West Berlin as a Case Study
    Katharine Burgess, Washington, D.C

    A review of Greening Berlin: The Co-Production of Science, Politics and Urban Nature. By Jens Lachmund. 2013. MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262018593. 320 pages. Buy the book. The overgrown train tracks of Gleisdreieck Park. The community gardens and art installations of...

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    October 12, 2016

    Making Connections and Feeding Relationships: Reflections from a Biocultural Axiom of Aloha
    Heather McMillen, Honolulu & New York City

    What if urban resource management and conservation reflected not just the politics and science of the day, but were rooted in creation stories, place-name stories, and personal stories about the relationships people have with place? This kind of thinking is...

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    September 28, 2016

    Designing Ecologically Sensitive Green Infrastructure that Serves People and Nature
    Christine Thuring, Sheffield

    “Cities separate us from nature, do they not?” —Light, 2003 No, they don’t; or at least they don’t have to. The good news: green infrastructure is expanding and gradually softening a proportion of our planet’s increasingly urban surface. It appears...

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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 12, 2016

    The Forgotten Rurality: The Case for Participatory Management in Bogotá and its Surrounding Countryside
    Diana Wiesner, Bogota

    En español aquí. We often think of the city and the country as separate, and that development planning and urban sustainability ends at the city boundary. But this isn’t true—in a planning and sustainability sense, the city and the surrounding rural...

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    June 21, 2016

    What is the Meaning of a Potato? Cuisine as Language for Biocultural Connectivity
    William Dunbar, Tokyo

    A cuisine is a “culinary language” that communicates values and forms bonds between people just as effectively as words. This was one of the messages of Mr. Gastón Acurio Jaramillo, Peruvian chef and “ambassador of Peruvian cuisine”, in his keynote...

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    May 26, 2016

    Sense of Place
    Jennifer Adams, New York City
    David Greenwood, Thunder Bay
    Mitchell Thomashow, Seattle
    Alex Russ, Ithaca

    Different people perceive the same city or neighborhood in different ways. While one person may appreciate ecological and social aspects of a neighborhood, another may experience environmental and racialized injustice. A place may also conjure contradicting emotions—the warmth of community...

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    May 23, 2016

    Poetry Produces the Novel Language of Future Cities
    Laura Booth, San Francisco

    A review of Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City. 2000. Edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis. ISBN: 1571314105. 265 pages. Buy the book. How can poems advance our understanding of nature in cities? If cities themselves are...

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    April 5, 2016

    Cities Are Home to Threatened Species. So What?
    Chris Ives, Nottingham

    My and my colleagues’ recent research from Australia has shown that cities are hotspots for threatened species (Ives et al 2015). There is a remarkable diversity of rare plants and animals that exist alongside the places where people live and...

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