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Soundmapping: Redefining the Way We Think About Natural Soundscapes in Cities

By |January 25th, 2015|Categories: Soundscapes, Technology|

Over the past several years cities have undergone a profound transformation in how they share information about their natural resources. For decades, maps and nature guides produced by cities facilitated the exploration of urban trails, parklands, and other natural assets that exist within the urban boundary (Check out San Francisco’s Nature in the City map for an example of how one city is educating its residents about urban natural history). These maps have enhanced urbanites' ability to both discover and enjoy their cities’ sometimes hidden green infrastructure, connecting city dwellers to the nature around them in the most useful of ways. With the proliferation of technology and web-based information sharing, many cities and organizations are becoming more creative with the way they promote 'urban nature' through interactive, web-accessible [...]

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Listening to the Nature in Cities

By |January 23rd, 2015|Categories: Biophliic Cities, Blog, Soundscapes|

By Tim Beatley Few sounds return me to my childhood as quickly or as vividly as those enjoyed on a typical summer evening here in the eastern U.S.: the katydids, grasshoppers, tree frogs, and other sounds that make up nature’s nightly music festival. These are sounds that settle us, calm us, often lull us to sleep, and in my case bring back memories of camping in the backyard and long evening adventures. These are absolutely place-fixing sounds, the natural soundtracks to our lives. Photo by Tim Beatley Photo by Enrique Gomez But for the most part we tend to forget about sound, and tend not to view it as a positive attribute in community planning and design. Sound clearly takes a [...]

Sounding Out Environmental Health

By |January 22nd, 2015|Categories: Guest Blog, Soundscapes|

Post written by Julia Africa, Program Leader, Nature, Health, and the Built Environment at the Center for Health and the Global Environment The great beating heart of the biophilic cities proposition, a colleague recently pointed out, is its fearless use of the word “love”; urban greening frameworks rarely cast our innate affinity for nature in such fundamentally emotional terms. By contrast, the exsanguinated language of applied economics does a particular disservice to the spiritual and sensorial benefits of biodiverse urban environments by reducing them to functional attributes (e.g., “the value of biodiversity change to society depends on the net marginal effect of the change on all ecosystem services”). Increasingly, the  term ‘ecosystem services’ has widened to accommodate the particular characteristics of urban green that support [...]