Cities and nature don’t need to be opposite ends of the spectrum. A city that lets its residents experience the natural world is a happier, more productive city.

The world’s urban population is ballooning. By 2050, 70% of humanity will live in cities. But that doesn’t mean that city dwellers have to be disconnected from nature.

The Biophilic Cities Project, an initiative organized by Professor Tim Beatley of the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture, aims to come up with best practices for creating “biophilic cities” that meld with the natural world. It’s the “idea that we have coevolved with the natural world and to be happy and healthy and lead meaningful lives we need contact with nature,” explains Beatley.

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