The weekly magazine Garden and Forest existed for only nine years (1888–1897). Yet, in that brief span, it brought to light many of the issues that would influence the future of American environmentalism. In The City Natural, Shen Hou presents the first “biography” of this important but largely overlooked vehicle for individuals with the common goal of preserving nature in American civilization.
As Hou’s study reveals, Garden and Forest was instrumental in redefining the fields of botany and horticulture, while also helping to shape the fledgling professions of landscape architecture and forestry. The publication actively called for reform in government policy, urban design, and future planning for the preservation and inclusion of nature in cities. It also attempted to shape public opinion on these issues through a democratic ideal that every citizen had the right (and need) to access nature. These notions would anticipate the conservation and “city beautiful” movements that followed in the early twentieth century.
Hou explains the social and environmental conditions that led to the rise of reform efforts, organizations, and publications such as Garden and Forest. She reveals the intellectual core and vision of the magazine as a proponent of the city natural movement that sought to relate nature and civilization through the arts and sciences. Garden and Forest was a staunch advocate of urban living made better through careful planning and design. As Hou shows, the publication also promoted forest management and preservation, not only as a natural resource but as an economic one. She also profiles the editors and contributors who set the magazine’s tone and follows their efforts to expand America’s environmental expertise.
Through the pages of Garden and Forest, the early period of environmentalism was especially fruitful and optimistic; many individuals joined forces for the benefit of humankind and helped lay the foundation for a coherent national movement. Shen Hou’s study gives Garden and Forest its due and adds an important new chapter to the early history of American environmentalism.
As our world becomes increasingly urbanized, an understanding of the context, mechanisms, and consequences of city and suburban environments becomes more critical. Without a sense of what open spaces such as parks and gardens contribute, it’s difficult to argue for their creation and maintenance: in the face of schools needing resources, roads and sewers needing maintenance, and people suffering at the hands of others, why should cities and counties spend scarce dollars planting trees and preserving parks?
In Constructed Climates, ecologist William G. Wilson demonstrates the value of urban green. Focusing specifically on the role of vegetation and trees, Wilson shows the costs and benefits reaped from urban open spaces, from cooler temperatures to better quality ground water—and why it all matters. While Constructed Climates is a work of science, it does not ignore the social component. Wilson looks at low-income areas that have poor vegetation, and shows how enhancing these areas through the planting of community gardens and trees can alleviate social ills. This book will be essential reading for environmentalists and anyone making decisions for the nature and well-being of our cities and citizens.
The future of our cities is not what it used to be. The modern-city model that took hold globally in the twentieth century has outlived its usefulness. It cannot solve the problems it helped to create—especially global warming. Fortunately, a new model for urban development is emerging in cities to aggressively tackle the realities of climate change. It transforms the way cities design and use physical space, generate economic wealth, consume and dispose of resources, exploit and sustain the natural ecosystems, and prepare for the future.
In Life After Carbon, urban sustainability consultants Pete Plastrik and John Cleveland assemble this global pattern of urban reinvention from the stories of 25 "innovation lab" cities across the globe—from Copenhagen to Melbourne. A city innovation lab is the entire city—the complex, messy, real urban world where innovations must work. It is a city in which government, business, and community leaders take to heart the challenge of climate change and converge on the radical changes that are necessary. They free downtowns from cars, turn buildings into renewable-energy power plants, re-nature entire neighborhoods, incubate growing numbers of clean-energy and smart-tech companies, convert waste to energy, and much more. Plastrik and Cleveland show that four transformational ideas are driving urban climate innovation around the world, in practice, not just in theory: carbon-free advantage, efficient abundance, nature's benefits, and adaptive futures. And these ideas are thriving in markets, professions, consumer trends, community movements, and "higher" levels of government that enable cities.
Life After Carbon presents the new ideas that are replacing the pillars of the modern-city model, converting climate disaster into urban opportunity, and shaping the next transformation of cities worldwide. It will inspire anyone who cares about the future of our cities, and help them to map a sustainable path forward.
2018 Reading the West Book Awards Nonfiction Winner
Have you ever wondered about society’s desire to cultivate the perfect lawn, why we view some animals as “good” and some as “bad,” or even thought about the bits of nature inside everyday items–toothbrushes, cell phones, and coffee mugs? In this fresh and introspective collection of essays, Julia Corbett examines nature in our lives with all of its ironies and contradictions by seamlessly integrating personal narratives with morsels of highly digestible science and research. Each story delves into an overlooked aspect of our relationship with nature—insects, garbage, backyards, noise, open doors, animals, and language—and how we cover our tracks.
With a keen sense of irony and humor and an awareness of the miraculous in the mundane, Julia recognizes the contradictions of contemporary life. She confronts the owner of a high-end market who insists on keeping his doors open in all temperatures. Takes us on a trip to a new mall with a replica of a trout stream that once flowed nearby. The phrase “out of the woods” guides us through layers of meaning to a contemplation of grief, remembrance, and resilience.
Out of the Woods leads to surprising insights into the products, practices, and phrases we take for granted in our everyday encounters with nature and encourages us all to consider how we might re-value or reimagine our relationships with nature in our everyday lives.
Thirty years ago, the best thinking on urban stream management prescribed cement as the solution to flooding and other problems of people and flowing water forced into close proximity. Urban streams were perceived as little more than flood control devices designed to hurry water through cities and neighborhoods with scant thought for aesthetics or ecological considerations. Stream restoration pioneers like hydrologist Ann Riley thought differently. She and other like-minded field scientists imagined that by restoring ecological function, and with careful management, streams and rivers could be a net benefit to cities, instead of a net liability. In the intervening decades, she has spearheaded numerous urban stream restoration projects and put to rest the long-held misconception that degraded urban streams are beyond help.
What has been missing, however, is detailed guidance for restoration practitioners wanting to undertake similar urban stream restoration projects that worked with, rather than against, nature. This book presents the author’s thirty years of practical experience managing long-term stream and river restoration projects in heavily degraded urban environments. Riley provides a level of detail only a hands-on design practitioner would know, including insights on project design, institutional and social context of successful projects, and how to avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes. Early chapters clarify terminology and review strategies and techniques from historical schools of restoration thinking. But the heart of the book comprises the chapters containing nine case studies of long-term stream restoration projects in northern California. Although the stories are local, the principles, methods, and tools are universal, and can be applied in almost any city in the world.
It’s early fall when Ricky and Ellie travel to Portland from their homes in the Cascade Mountains for a weekend school exchange. Much to their surprise, they find an astounding variety of wildlife in the city. With the help of their new friends, Jenny and Marcus, they explore Portland’s habitats, from its streets and gardens to woodlands, streams, and river banks. Ellie tests her bird-watching skills while Ricky learns ways to count fish in streams. Together they are fascinated by stunning wildlife in the city’s restored wetlands.
The kids find insects and reptiles moving about garden patches and bioswales, song birds and squirrels in neighborhood tree canopies, falcons and eagles crossing spacious river floodplains. As they record and map how wildlife and people are connected in these city spaces, they become community scientists, contributing to actual regional databases. After they see the young trees Marcus planted in his neighborhood, the feeders Jenny tends for hummingbirds, and the fascinating wildlife underpasses built in the wetlands, Ricky and Ellie realize there are many ways people actively care for the city’s wildlife.
In this fourth and final story of their award-winning children’s series, M. L. Herring’s vivid pen and watercolor illustrations complement the engaging storytelling of Judith Li. Readers will delight in the journal pages and maps “hand drawn” by Ricky and Ellie at the end of each chapter, while the “Dear Reader” section offers further tips for budding citizen scientists.
Raptors are an unusual success story of wildness thriving in the heart of our cities—they have developed substantial populations around the world in recent decades. But there are deeper issues around how these birds make their urban homes. New research provides insight into the role of raptors as vital members of the urban ecosystem and future opportunities for protection, management, and environmental education.
A cutting-edge synthesis of over two decades of scientific research, Urban Raptors is the first book to offer a complete overview of urban ecosystems in the context of bird-of-prey ecology and conservation. This comprehensive volume examines urban environments, explains why some species adapt to urban areas but others do not, and introduces modern research tools to help in the study of urban raptors. It also delves into climate change adaptation, human-wildlife conflict, and the unique risks birds of prey face in urban areas before concluding with real-world wildlife management case studies and suggestions for future research and conservation efforts.
Boal and Dykstra have compiled the go-to single source of information on urban birds of prey. Among researchers, urban green space planners, wildlife management agencies, birders, and informed citizens alike, Urban Raptors will foster a greater understanding of birds of prey and an increased willingness to accommodate them as important members, not intruders, of our cities.
Urban Wildlife Habitats was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In cities, towns, and villages, between buildings and parking lots, streets and sidewalks, and polluted streams and rivers, there is ever less space for the "natural," the plants and animals that once were at home across North America. In this first book-length study of the subject, Lowell W. Adams reviews the impact of urban and suburban growth on natural plant and animal communities and reveals how, with appropriate landscape planning and urban development, cities and towns can be made more accommodating for a wide diversity of species, including our own.
Soils and ground surface, air, water, and noise pollution, space and demographics are among the urban characteristics Adams considers in relation to wildlife. He describes changes in the composition and structure of vegetation, as native species are replaced by exotic ones, and shows how, with spreading urbanization of natural habitats, the diversity of species of plants and animals almost always declines, although the density of a few species increases. Adams contends, however, that it is possible for a wide variety of species to coexist in the metropolitan environment, and he cites a growing interest in the practice of "natural landscaping," which emphasizes the use of native species and considers the structure, pattern, and species composition of vegetation as it relates to wildlife needs. Urban habitats vary from small city parks in densely built downtowns to suburbs with large yards and considerable open space. Adams discusses the opportunities these areas—along with school yards, hospital grounds, cemeteries, individual residences, and vacant lots—provide for judicious wildlife management and for the salutary interaction of people with nature.
Lowell W. Adams is vice president of the National Institute for Urban Wildlife in Columbia, Maryland.