The Surprise and Delight of Urban Nature

By Tim Beatley Part of the great pleasure of living in a city is discovering the many forms of “nature in unexpected places,” the theme of this month’s e-newsletter. Some of this nature is designed, of course, but much of it is simply extant, and resiliently co-adapting to urban conditions.  The city is after all [...]

Using Green Walls to Educate Children

Post written by MARC GRAÑÉN – landscape artist. I began using landscapes as art with the intention to bring nature to children. I realized that the only way to create change was through children. As they spend most of their time at school, that is where I had to start. This is how I began [...]

Green roofs on buses? Phytokinetic says yes!

Post written by MARC GRAÑÉN - landscape artist. PHYTOKINETIC After many years working in landscape projects, increasing green areas in urban environments by using walls and roofs, I noticed how many square meters were not used in other ways. I decided to create the first and unique worldwide-patented system to increase green urban areas, through [...]

Butterflies in the City

Post by Tim Beatley Few creatures capture our imagination or spark a sense of glee when we see them more than butterflies. It is likely a combination of their mysterious life cycle, and their ability to so profoundly metamorphose, but also undoubtedly the beauty of their colors, shapes and the serendipitous and charming ways in [...]

Blue Urbanism: Connecting Cities and the Nature of Oceans

While we are increasingly the planet of cities, we must not forget that we live and share space on the blue planet. We rarely put these two realms (or words) together, but we must begin to. By some estimates, two-thirds of our global population lies within 400 kilometers of a shoreline. As oceanographer and National [...]

Connecting Health-Nature-Economy: Birmingham’s Emerging Model*

Cities today face a myriad of issues, from very bad air quality, to the need to adapt to climate change, to a variety of health-related problems including diet, rising obesity and a lack of physical activity. These are complex and challenging issues to deal with and one potential solution is to explore and develop more [...]

Biophilic Birmingham

In early April, I traveled to Birmingham, UK, to celebrate its intentions to become that nation’s first biophilic city. It was a heady few days, coinciding with a large national conference on Trees, People and the Built Environment (TPBEII).  A pre-conference symposium was organized by the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Advanced Studies to begin [...]

Sutton Park: Wild in the City

Sutton Park is described on the City of Birmingham’s webpage as “delivering a sense of wilderness with an urban environment.” Sutton Park, in its size and natural qualities, certainly conveys a wildness, but is also a landscape that reflects thousands of years of human alteration and habitation. It is an unusual mix of history and [...]

Biophilic Cities for Health

Few modern challenges are as vexing as health, and as costly it seems.  And the modern dimensions are many, from obesity and sedentary lifestyles, to the rise in depression, to the continuing toll of cancer. In the US we spend an astounding $2.8 Trillion on health care, nearly 18% of our GDP, and yet we [...]

Fremantle Greenskins: Green Wall Trials in a Challenging Climate

In 2011 a local council in Perth, Western Australia imposed the construction of a green wall as a condition of development for a builder of a block of units. This was because the intended units would obstruct the view of an existing block of units. The council saw a green wall as a beneficial and [...]