The Nature of Cities
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The Nature of Cities

2010, Environment  -   13 Comments
Ratings: 8.18/10 from 102 users.

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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13 Comments / User Reviews

  1. city nihilist

    How about abolishing cities and civilization altogether?

  2. DustUp

    Question everything. Are there too many people to return to a pastoral setting as the guy from Yale stated as supposed fact? It doesn't seem so. However, I do prefer everyone live in a city so they don't bother me out in the country. It is good that they learn about nature because I have met some really clueless folks from the cities. Some think it is horrible to cut down what they considered to be a forest, which was about 40 acres of hybrid fast growing trees planted just 7 years earlier on flat land to make paper. Even when you tell them it is a crop, just taller than usual kind, they cannot comprehend and state that it should not be allowed to be cut down. I'm sure they didn't write on paper and used corn cobs in the restroom and despise meat eaters while walking in their leather shoes.

    It is a problem of the corporate take over. Fascism not capitalism. Through these corporations the Rockefellers, Soros, and their ilk desire to control every aspect of your life. Education, information, energy, food, water, work, healthcare, government. The greatest problem is mindset. People seem to prefer cheap poison to more expensive nutritious food. So the big agriculture corporations bought up small farms who had a hard time making it competing against the cheaper poison that can look pretty on the outside, much worse than lacking nutrients on the inside (GMO). Hopefully small organic farming will continue to progress affording more people to get out of the cities. However, once the land is in the hands of the big corps, it is difficult to get it back so more people can sustain themselves and provide food for others.

    Energy crops like pi melons could be grown in the deserts by people who like it hot.

    @bob harns makes a good point. How many are going to enjoy being crapped on by birds as they walk through their wonderful "green wall" facade entrance? How long before the green in the green wall, erodes and weakens that wall? Where do a fair number of rapes occur? Parks with lots of foliage. Some municipalities won't even publish that they are occurring so to warn the gals. They don't want the bad publicity. How nice your govt is!

    Way too many problem causers called govt, hiring yet more problem creators called ecologists, planners, etc. Govt caused the problems described via zoning. Their brainchild to Preserve nature and keep it separate from those awful humans. How long before they discover all these green spaces make it too easy for terrorists, bums, and wackos to hide and in a few decades or less, decide that they all need to go to make more condos?

    Although the grass mat roof is interesting, I'd go a different route. Collect the heat and use it. I do prefer the bats and insect eating birds to insecticide spraying everywhere and everything to cut down on the disease carrying mosquitoes. Mosquito eaters (certain kind of little fish) will likely be needed in some of those water features.

    1. Urban dweller

      Dustup: the reason the government usually ends-up intervening is because businesses will do anything to get the most profits - throw pollutants in the water to avoid waste costs - polluting the air because they don't want to pay for the system to keep the air clean - car manufacturers that didn't want to install seat belts - contamination in baby foods - my gawd - the list goes on and on! THAT'S why government intervenes! Stop blaming the government and instead blame sleazy corporations!

    2. DustUp

      @Urban Dweller: The people who run Corporations are just the flip side of the coin of the type of people who run govt. Same coin; sometimes they switch places. Govt is made up of PEOPLE who arrogantly think they know best (how to line THEIR pockets). No different than corporations.

      However, these corporations you blame wouldn't exist if not for corrupt govt judges allowing a corporation to attain a status equal to or better than a person. Initially a corporation was formed to complete a public project, typically a road or reservoir. Then the weasel lawyers decided it would be great for them and their masters to be able to hide behind a corporation all the time. Gee nothing bad would be expected after that.

      It is ALWAYS govt which allows those corporations to POLLUTE, they even give them permits to do so. Govt PRETENDS to protect you while they mostly protect the Corporations FROM the people.

      Where are all those govt State and Federal environmental Agencies you pay for to stop the Pollution, if some corp is run by the same type of punks who run govt? If they are sued, it is a corrupt govt judge which finds for the corporation fairly often. Otherwise Monsanto wouldn't exist. They would have been sued out of existence for contaminating everyone else's crops with GMO. Yet your wonderful corrupt govt judges "decided" just the opposite. That adjacent farmers stole Monsanto's technology when the wind and bees do what they do.

      That isn't even the tip of the iceberg of what crazy corrupt evil govt allows (causes).

      Regardless those corporations you despise wouldn't exist if you and the rest didn't buy what they were selling.

      In the end WE need to take full responsibility, look in the mirror. Everything is the fault of the people for the awful govt and the awful corporations. Neither would be awful if not for us allowing it.

  3. bob harns

    ticks,mosquitoes and disease born on the wings of nature to debilitate and survive subduing human kind unsuspecting and fascinated with blindness

  4. HA7883

    The film is great and useful to my composition. The best documentary film I have ever seen

  5. CHO

    Excellent film. Cities all over should be taking note of the ideas here

  6. Hilz

    Great film! We really need this to be incorporated NOW.

  7. Kansas Devil

    It's easier to start with a clean slate than to replace the old with the new. It doesn't matter how nice of an idea it is, if the costs of transformation exceed available costs. Piecemeal attempts are nice but they will always be a minority activity.

  8. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    I'm a window washer... There are many condos and commercial buildings that are going up, using this technique. Personally I like it as it makes for a much more enjoyable sit down during break time, as opposed to tar mat or gravel roofs.


  9. chris

    I definitely think Charlottetown would be better off with this s*it

  10. User_1

    These people should be elevated to gods! If I lived in an area like this I would be worshiping them ever day! I wish this was the norm in all cities.

    1. bringmeredwine

      Me too!
      My little city is surrounded by lovely unspoiled forests and we border on a lake.
      Sadly, one by one the landowners sell out to the developers.
      I walk in those woods every chance I get with my dog. My regular routes keep getting destroyed by the encroaching suburbs. These new neighborhoods don't even have a single tree left! Deer are running through the streets in broad daylight.
      Raccoons and skunks, porcupines, groundhogs, bears; all have become instant nuisances.
      Never once in the past 10 years have I seen a child playing in what's left of our woods. In fact, you only see them outdoors if they're waiting for a school bus; because they're "not allowed" to walk or bike to school. Our local schools actively discourage that. Parents are too fearful to permit their children to go outside unsupervised. Sigh!
      There's lots of homes for sale in our old neighborhoods, but people prefer the newer, showier models. Each to his own, I guess.