This article was originally published on The Nature of Cities.


“People like parks of all sizes—clean and safe ones anyway. They like trees and birds, even street trees and house sparrows, as they walk to work. Perhaps they are curious about the occasional dragonfly. Or at turns thrilled or alarmed by a coyote down the road. Enjoy the tranquility of a water course in a busy downtown. People like protection from storms too.

But do people see parks and birds and trees and the rest of urban nature (and its benefits) clearly enough to value them as elements of a well planed city? Do they appreciate the tree pits that suck up storm water? Do they celebrate the wetland that moderates storm surge and is a hatchery for game fish? Do they recognize cities as important sites of conservation?

Is the rich value of urban nature and its services—including economic value, social value, biophilic value, and conservation and biodiversity value—appreciated by citizens and policy makers enough to place them as co-equals at the planning table with transportation, sanitation, housing, and economic development? Do they understand nature as a key element of a city—their city—that is resilient, sustainable, just, and livable?

That’s where we need to be. But most cities, and most people, aren’t there yet…”

Read on at: The Nature of Cities.