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ECOLOGICAL CITIES

Cities, Nature and the Leaders of Tomorrow

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Cities, Nature and the Leaders of Tomorrow

by Global Managing Director, Cities, The Nature Conservancy,August 2016

The Conservancy’s LEAF and Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities program interns, monitor trees impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New York City. Photo © Karine Aigner
The Conservancy’s LEAF and Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities program interns, monitor trees impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New York City. Photo © Karine Aigner

Orlando Raez has been working in city planning since 2004, but he's been thinking about environmental issues and the relationship between cities and nature for much longer. An early interest in nature led Orlando to apply to The Nature Conservancy's

(Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future), which provides paid summer internships for high school students and helps educators from environmental high schools share best practices and scientific resources. That experience influenced his decisions to study environmental policy and eventually pursue a career as a city planner in southern Florida. Now he's hoping to take some of his environmental concerns into the political sphere as he launches a campaign for mayor of Hollywood, Florida. I recently spoke with Orlando about the connections between cities and nature, the role of education and youth programs, and how The Nature Conservancy (TNC) can support cities working to engage their citizens in environmental issues.

Pascal Mittermaier: Tell me a little bit about your experience with the LEAF Program.

Orlando Raez: I'd learned about environmental issues at school and from television programming growing up, but I never had much opportunity to experience the natural environment in meaningful way. When I heard about LEAF, I took advantage of the opportunity and I spent a summer living in Altmar, NY, just north of Watertown, NY. It's a small town, a farming community. My job was to team up with TNC naturalists to learn about invasive plants affecting natural habitats and work on some of the invasive eradication measures.

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Practical Application of Eco2 Cities Initiative: Guide for Practitioners

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Practical Application of Eco2 Cities Initiative: Guide for Practitioners
Brown Bag Lunch Series
September 12, 2011

Eco2 Cities: Ecological Cities as Economic CitiesThis BBL introduced practical applications of the Eco2 Cities Initiative. Eco2Cities is a sustainable urban development initiative launched in 2009 as a part of the Bank’s Urban and Local Government Strategy. Its objective is to help cities in developing countries achieve greater ecological and economic sustainability in synergy. Eco2 Cities builds on the interdependence of ecological and economic sustainability. An integrated approach across sectors appears to overcome many barriers to urban sustainability and offers communities a path towards increased well-being for the short- and long-term. Pilot operations are ongoing in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. 

Following an introduction by Hiroaki Suzuki of the Eco2 concept, including its four principles and implementation status, Ryoko Iizuka presented the Eco2Guide, which has been developed based on the Eco2 Book to help cities put the Eco2 concepts into practice on the ground. The 60-page Guide aims to stimulate the transformation of city governance around the cornerstone of leadership and collaboration for planning integrated urban development. The Guide is divided into two parts: Part I - Fundamentals of Eco2, which includes self assessment based on the four Eco2 principles, and Part II - Practical Elements of Eco2, which is further divided into three sections including Eco2 Leadership, Eco2 Planning, and Supportive Environment. The Guide also refers to methods and tools and introduces cases and interviews with practitioners. The Guide is intended for city officials who have a critical role in deciding the development path and integrated urban planning of the city. Eco2 Cities: Concept, Implementation and Final Agenda (pdf 1,501k)
Hiroaki Suzuki, Lead Urban Specialist and Eco2 Team Leader, World Bank

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IEES/ZHAW Symposium 2012 - Eco-Cities and Ecological Engineering

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IEES/ZHAW Symposium 2012 - Eco-Cities and Ecological Engineering

26 - 28 January 2012: New solutions through transforming traditional ways of thinking

IEES/ZHAW Symposium 2012

Our world is approaching a phase where several resources will become scarce at the same time: energy, nutrients, water availability, space... The wealth and well-being of coming generations will depend on us being able to adapt our economies to the finite world that our planet actually is. 

Transforming today’s cities into sustainable eco-cities is one of the main adaptations that will be necessary. Ecological engineering offers a holistic approach, a wide spectrum of possible solutions and a wealth of business opportunities. It might well become one of the key factors in this transformation process. 

There is a major obstacle against this transition: conventions and paradigms in the minds of planners, engineers, architects and politicians. In the past 200 years, they have been the drivers of an unprecedented success story in our societies. However, today these inherited ways of thinking increasingly represent barriers to new and more sustainable approaches!

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Eco2 Cities: Ecological Cities as Economic Cities

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Eco2 Cities: Ecological Cities as Economic Cities is a programme launched by the World Bank in 2010 to help cities in developing countries achieve greater ecological and economic sustainability. The Cities Alliance is supporting the Eco2 Cities initiative, piloting the program in three countries in East Asia as well as a set of knowledge activities.
The programme will provide practical and scalable, analytical and operational support to cities. It also aims to build a global partnership among forward-looking cities in developing countries, global best-practice cities, academia, and international development communities.
As part of the programme, a number of publications and guides are being produced. They include:
 

The Ecological Cities Project

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The Ecological Cities Project

The Ecological Cities Project is a quasi-independent program of research, teaching, and outreach affiliated with the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Founded in 1999 by Dr. Rutherford H. Platt, the program seeks to promote sharing of knowledge and experience among disciplines, sectors, and urban regions regarding new approaches to urban greenspace creation and management.

About the EC Project

People
Overview
Goals
Activities
History

People

Rutherford H. Platt is the director of the Ecological Cities Project based at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Project is staffed by a group of graduate students with related research interests. We also receive support and advice from an impressive National Steering Committee.

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Overview

The Ecological Cities Project is a quasi-independent program of research and outreach affiliated with the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was started in 1999 by Dr. Rutherford H. Platt, a geographer and land use lawyer, and author of Land Use and Society: Geography, Law and Public Policy and Disasters and Democracy: The Politics of Extreme Natural Events, both published by Island Press. The program seeks to promote sharing of knowledge and experience among disciplines, sectors, and urban regions regarding new approaches to urban greenspace creation and management.

For more details on our mission, see our organizational diagram and project flier.

With the benefit of a National Science Foundation grant, the Ecological Cities Project is conducting a national study of new approaches to urban watershed and estuary management. This study is also helping to nurture a broad network of contacts with and among urban resource managers and researchers for the mutual benefit of their efforts and the ecological betterment of our cities and suburbs.

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Goals  

  • Promote a better understanding of urban ecology;
  • Regional capacity-building;
  • Sharing of regional experience; and
  • Optimize benefits of new and existing open space resources.

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Activities 

  • Facilitation of regional Ecological Cities Symposia (organized locally);
  • Research on urban ecological functions and management;
  • Cross-fertilization among metropolitan greenspace programs;
  • Publication of working papers, articles, and proceedings volumes;
  • Outreach through participation in conferences, media contacts, op-ed columns; and
  • Training of undergraduate and graduate students in relevant disciplines.

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History

In 1990, Dr. Rutherford H. Platt, professor of geography and planning law at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, organized a "Symposium on Sustainable Cities" at the Chicago Academy of Sciences which explored "place-based experience" involving urban watersheds, wetlands, floodplains, energy efficient landscaping, and urban wildlife. The Ecological Cities Project grows out of that conference. Sixteen papers prepared for the symposium were published as The Ecological City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity (Platt, Rowntree, and Muick, eds. 1994) which received an award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.

The first in this national series of regional Ecological Cities Symposia was held at Boston College on November 6-7, 2000 under the local auspices of the Boston College Watershed Institute. That event, which was supported in part by the Lincoln Institute, creatively blended the perspectives of natural scientists, design professionals, and lay activists. Through invited speakers, it compared regional experience in Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore and elsewhere. Next, in March 2001, the University of South Carolina hosted a conference focusing on Columbia followed by a symposium organized by the ECP in New York City in honor of the late William H. Whyte in June 2002. Most recently, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research hosted a conference in May 2004. Future symposia are under discussion in Pittsburgh and Portland. Oregon.

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