The mission of The Nature of Cities is to promote worldwide dialog and action to create green cities that are sustainable, resilient, livable, and just. The TNOC community comprises a broad diversity of people, from architects and designers to scientists, from practitioners to entrepreneurs and artists—pursuing transformational dialog that leads to the creation of better cities for all.
TNOC is a virtual magazine and discussion site on cities as ecosystems. It is a global collective of contributors, an essay, long-form, media, and discussion site devoted to cities as social-ecological spaces, ecosystems of people, buildings, open spaces, and nature. We believe that cities are human habitat, and that design with nature and public open space at the metaphorical center is key to urban resilience, sustainability, livability and justice.
TNOC was founded and is curated by Dr. David Maddox. Cities are fundamentally ecological spaces. They are ecosystems packed with trees and vegetation that comprise an urban forest. They house birds, insects, small mammals, diverse ecological habitats, and more. They are connected to suburban and rural areas along ecological gradients. Human well being, social justice and effective urban design is intimately connected to the health of urban ecosystems. Cities are habitat for people, and urban design with nature at the center is essential to resilience, sustainability, and livability.
We believe that the nature of cities—by which we mean cities as ecosystems of people, green and blue nature, biodiversity, and built infrastructure…habitat for people-needs more voices, more perspectives and expanded conversation about its critical importance for people and how it can be promoted, conserved, managed, and in some cases designed for the good of all.
The Nature of Cities is a platform—a virtual magazine and media site for a variety of content and conversations on these themes, including blogs and virtual roundtables. In the near future we will introduce other styles of conversation. We are a collaborative of 275+ writers from many disciplines and from many places around the world. New columns are published twice weekly and rotate among our roster. Virtual Roundtables, in which a dozen or so writers respond to and discuss a specific question, appear every month. Podcasts and book reviews appear more or less monthly.
We are, by design, a diverse group and our ideas about the nature of cities emerge from wide-ranging perspectives. Our contributors include activists, designers, biologists, ecologists, sociologists, economists, artists, architects, artists, landscape architects, nature writers, leaders of community organizations, public space managers, lawyers, and leaders in international organizations.
We live and work in 25 countries and six continents. We are men and women. The study, understanding, and management of urban nature is fundamentally multidisciplinary and many-voiced (or should be), and the diversity in our collective attempts to honor this fact.
Yet we remain a work in progress, always striving to make sure we write from many perspectives.
Our readers have visited over 400,000 times, from over 3,500 cities and 140 countries.
Our intended audience is everyone interested in creating better cities that are resilient, sustainable, livable, and just—cities that effectively function as ecosystems and are better habitat for people.
We crave dialogue and comments from our community of readers. So please keep in touch.
Each of the opinions expressed in publications on our site are the author’s own and emerge from the vantage point of his or her discipline, but the core themes of our writing are human habitat nature, ecosystems and biodiversity in urban settings, especially as they relate to sustainability, resilience, livability, and human well-being.
Rights to each essay and its images are held jointly by the authors and designers/photographers of the particular piece and The Nature of Cities. Rights to the site as a whole are held by The Nature of Cities.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)
"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"
Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster
Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.
I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.