The Nature of Cities

How can we make better cities than ever, better workplaces, better schools... how can we immerse ourselves in nature everyday instead of thinking we have to get in SUV and drive 50 miles? There is no doubt that we need nature. It's absolutely essential to daily life. We can find it in the cities where we live, it's all around us if we look, but there are also many innovative ways in which nature can be designed into urban environments.

This is the story of both the nature in our own backyards as well as that being built into to cities of the future. We've got to rethink everything that we do in cities today to make them profoundly more resilient. We know in fact that we need daily contact with the natural environment and we have to overcome this sort of bifurcation that cities and nature can't coexist.

Part of our separation from nature is that we thought nature is something "over there" and where we live is not nature, and especially if we live in a cities. But in terms of ongoing human experience we need everyday, ordinary nature as an ongoing part of our everyday lives. It's very important, it really touches us at some deeper level, it's part of what we are as a species, to be interested in the world and nature around us.

If we understand that these green systems have a true function that could make a real difference. The power, the idea of biophilic design for instance is that it's more than the traditional definition of green urbanism. Green design is about saving energy and efficiency and biophilic or regenerate design is about saving and producing human energy. It's about making life better not just sustainable. The prospects for building nature into new living spaces are abundant, but there are many opportunities already in our backyards.

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