Announcing The Nature of Cities
A collective blog on nature, ecosystems and biodiversity in urban spaces.
Cities are ecological spaces.
They are ecosystems packed with trees and vegetation that comprise an urban forest, birds, insects, small mammals, water, and more. They are connected to suburban and rural areas along ecological gradients. Human wellbeing and effective urban design is intimately connected to the health of urban ecosystems.
This Blogspace is devoted to conversation about cities as ecological spaces…on the nature of cities.
Urban sustainabilty & resilience, Socio-ecology,
and the connection between people and natural resources
Urban sustainability is one of the most pressing natural resources and social issues of our time.
As the majority of human populations move into cities and urban areas, the need for thoughtful and effective design and management of urban green spaces and ecosystem services is critical for our communities -- livelihoods, human health, quality of life, economic vitality -- and biodiversity.
The relationships between human communities and the natural resources that support them are complex and can be difficult to detect and articulate. At Sound Science, we use a variety of methods to reveal, display, and explain these relationships, and do so using iterative techniques in consultation with our clients and their partners. Our clients benefit from our broad set of skills: climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy development; community sustainability planning; human ecosystem analysis; park planning; natural resource management training; urban ecology; watershed management; social and biophysical spatial analysis and mapping; estuarine research; meeting facilitation and conflict resolution; organizational development, strategic planning; collaboration and partnership development.
Sound Science has organized and faciliated numerous meetings and groups devoted to finding new solutions to ecological and social issues in urban sustainability. Specific projects include those in green infrastructure and urban forests, conservation of urban wetlands, green jobs, analysis of social networks, and development of urban research programs.
David Maddox and Shawn Dalton lead Sound Science's expanding efforts in urban sustainability and socio-ecology..
S2 Associate Haiyun Chen works in community forestry governance and livelihoods, principally in Asia. He is currently based in Germany.
Recent and current projects on urban issues include:
New York City Urban Field Station: Strengthening Our Partnerships and Programs is a collaboration with the US Forest Service to conduct outreach, create partnerships, and expand collaborations with diverse organizations across New York City.
Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests: A National Call to Action is a national Task Force of thought leaders convened by the USDA Forest Service and New York Restoration Project to produce recommendations for the USFS's engagement in urban forestry. S2 Chief Scientist David Maddox is an organizer and lead facilitator. Click here for more information. See the full document here.
Urban Wetlands Protection and Restoration Workshop: Identifying Regional Priorities was held at Columbia University in New York City in 2010. S2 Chief Scientist David Maddox served as a moderator and breaout leader for monitoring and evaluation.
Supporting Success: Making the Transition to Green Collar Jobs was held in June 2010 in New York City. S2 Chief Scientist David Maddox was a lead organizer and facilitator. See the report here.
MillionTreesNYC, Green Infra-structure and Urban Ecology: A Research Symposium was held 5-6 March 2010 in New York City. Click herefor more information. S2 Chief Scientist David Maddox was a lead organizer. A proceedings was published in the journal "Cities and the Environment" (CATE).
MillionTreesNYC, Green Infrastructure, and Urban Ecology: Building a Research Agenda. Held in New York City in April 2009, the Workshop brought together researchers, practitioners and local policymakers to collaboratively develop prospectus for a research agenda that supports MillionTreesNYC and contributes to the accumulating knowledge on urban landscapes and green infrastructure.
Rural livelihoods, natural resources, and community forestry governance in China. Sound Science Associate Haiyun Chen leads an evaluation of benefits in propserity and natural resources sustainability of community-based co-management of forests in central China. Some of this research will be published as:
Chen, Haiyun, Ganesh Shivakoti, Zhu Ting, and David Maddox 2012. Livelihood Sustainability and Community Based Co-Management Projects in China: Change and Improvements in Project Design. Environmental Management 49: 219-228.
Zhu Ting, Ganesh Shivakoti, Chen, Haiyun, and David Maddox 2012. A survey-based evaluation of community-based co-management of forest resources and livelihood: a case study of Baishuijiang National Natural Reserve in China. Environment, Development and Sustainability 14(2): 197-220.