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Reinventing Nature in the City: Leave No Trace and Do No Harm Turns Into Do Something, Make It Good

By |October 22nd, 2014|Categories: Ideas & Tools, Interviews, Unexpected Nature|

An Interview with Natalie Jeremijenko, Director of the Environmental Health Clinic, Associate Professor in the Visual Art Department, NYU and affiliated with the Computer Science Department and Environmental Studies program Natalie Jeremijenko is a renowned artist, engineer, and inventor who is innovating in unexpected ways. Jeremijenko, like many others, is dissatisfied with current reactions to many of today’s greatest environmental challenges. Instead of following suit, she has used her ingenuity to create a collection of demonstration projects that celebrate nature and allow citizens to experience nature in unexpected ways. These demonstration projects fall under the umbrella of the Environmental Health Clinic where instead of “patients” there are “impatients.” The “impatients” are fed up with the negative treatment of the environment and the impacts that this treatment of the environment has [...]

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Biophilic Cities Comes to Washington D.C.

By |October 16th, 2014|Categories: News, Unexpected Nature|

The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) hosted a presentation and discussion on the Biophilic Cities Initiative on Oct. 2nd in preparation for launching a Biophilic Cities project in the District. This opening event, featuring Prof. Tim Beatley and network members Stella Tarnay and Megan Draheim, introduced the concept of biophilic cities to local environmental leaders, many of whom are already working to protect and bring nature into the nation's capital. Representatives from organizations including City Wildlife, the Humane Society, Casey Trees, National Geographic, American Bird Conservancy, Friends of the Earth, the Songbird Project, DC Greenworks, the Alice Ferguson Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Anacostia Watershed Society were among those who took part in the conversation, as well as several universities and funding organizations. Biophilic [...]

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The Green Alley Project: A University-Community Partnership in Austin, Texas

By |October 13th, 2014|Categories: Design, Interviews, Unexpected Nature|

The idea of greening alleys is becoming more and more prevalent in cities across the globe. Just last year, Tim Beatley wrote about Montreal’s impressive Green Alley program.  From using alleys as stormwater management tools to creating new public green spaces, alleys provide a unique opportunity for nature in an unexpected place. This month I had the opportunity to interview Barbara Brown Wilson about a unique, ten year collaboration between the University of Texas-Austin, the City of Austin, Texas, and many community groups to make unused alleys into livable, green spaces. Caption: Students captured the greening possibilities of an alleyscape transformed.Credits: 2009 University of Texas Architectural Studio Alleys in Austin were never consistently used and had recently become a liability to the city [...]

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The Surprise and Delight of Urban Nature

By |October 13th, 2014|Categories: Biophliic Cities, Blog, Unexpected 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 an ecosystem and habitat for non-human and human alike. In a sense, for many who cling to a dichotomous city-nature mental frame, any nature encountered in the city is unexpected.  Over the course of a day there are typically numerous opportunities to be surprised (pleasantly) by the nature around us, as it appears and disappears from view (a bird, a mushroom, a flower), and appears again, depending on season, weather, [...]