Category: Cities

  • The Succession of Cities: Organic Patterns Shaping Urban Growth

    The Succession of Cities: Organic Patterns Shaping Urban Growth

    Do Cities Grow Like Ecosystems? Until millennia, city building was an organic, bottom-up, incremental process beginning with a handful of people looking for opportunities at the confluence of waterways, trade roots, and resources. Speculating newcomers establish temporary structures, replaced over time with permanent buildings. Enterprising citizens set up shops to supply growing demands, and streets…

  • How To Grow a 1000-Year-Old Tree

    How To Grow a 1000-Year-Old Tree

    Edmonton Public Library How-To Festival What would it be like to live in a world where people tended 1000-year-old trees? How might planting long-lived trees change our thinking about the future and our role in its creation? The following is a recording and edited transcript of a talk I gave at the Edmonton Public Library’s…

  • 11 Woody Superpowers That Grow Better Cities

    11 Woody Superpowers That Grow Better Cities

    Trees have woody superpowers that, when used correctly, can grow better cities. We plant trees in our parks, boulevards, and yards, but for many of us, they’re little more than greenery in the landscape. But noticed or not, trees are silently making our yards, communities, and cities better places to live. Whether shading our homes,…

  • Researching Edmonton Heritage Trees

    Researching Edmonton Heritage Trees

    Supported by the Edmonton Heritage Council On the edge of downtown Edmonton, on the river valley slopes, grows a wild patch of goji berries, descended from seeds imported and tended by Edmonton’s early Chinese community. A few blocks West, surrounded by asphalt, the chestnut seed Walter Holowach collected in Vienna stands forty feet tall, casting…

  • What Makes A Heritage Tree? Part 1 -Time

    What Makes A Heritage Tree? Part 1 -Time

    Time, Novelty, and Narrative and the Value of Heritage Trees The 2008 book Heritage Tree of Alberta lists 28 trees in Edmonton that are said to have “heritage value,” but what does that mean? How can we define “heritage tree”? This article attempts to synthesize a definition of a heritage tree by comparing the twenty-eight…

  • Development and the Lifespan of Urban Trees

    Development and the Lifespan of Urban Trees

    Tree Life Expectancy and the Cycle of Urban Development Since trees can live longer than buildings, development has an enormous impact on the lifespan of urban trees. While mature trees increase property value, they’re susceptible to damage from nearby development. Soil compaction from heavy equipment or storing materials, damage to roots from excavation, and regarding…

  • Cultivate McCauley

    Cultivate McCauley

    McCauley is Edmonton’s Gardening Community In the Fall of 2014, I found myself looking at a house off Church Street in the inner-city neighbourhood of Edmonton McCauley. I was familiar with the community due to frequent visits to the Italian Centre Shop and Coffee Shop Cafe, Zocalo. I was also familiar with the area’s reputation…

  • Slow Landscaping – Slow Trees in Fast Cities

    Slow Landscaping – Slow Trees in Fast Cities

    The Long Now Cities are fast-paced, ever-changing places filled with fast fashion, quick commerce, short election cycles, and perpetual development. What does living in the fast lane do to our ability to see the big picture and tackle life’s biggest challenges? How might fast-paced cities influence what musician and producer Brian Eno coined a sense…

  • Decorative Tree Lighting Can Kill Trees

    Decorative Tree Lighting Can Kill Trees

    The Dark Side of Decorative Tree Lighting Edmonton has embraced year-round decorative tree lighting, and it’s hard not to love it! A 2015 Edmonton Journal article states that the City’s forestry department “installed lights on 1000 city-owned trees in six business revitalization zones.” Walking Whyte, Churchill, or Giovanni Caboto amongst twinkling giant elms is magical.…

  • An Edmonton Root Beer Opportunity

    An Edmonton Root Beer Opportunity

    Edmonton Has a Root Beer Deficiency In June 2016, the City of Edmonton enacted an Herbicide Ban with the aim to “eliminate non-essential uses of herbicides on city-owned land.” It’s been a year since, and despite the fact that some people are losing their shit, I’m proud of the City for sticking with their decision – going so far as…

  • Nature Is A Verb – Your Parking Spot Wants To Be A Forest

    Nature Is A Verb – Your Parking Spot Wants To Be A Forest

    Nature Is A Verb Imagine a parking lot: hot, grey, dry, and dead. Parking lots are uninteresting, uninviting, and inhospitable to life. And they are turning into forests. Nature is a verb. Even the most meticulously paved asphalt has imperfections. Expanding and contracting with the rise and fall of the sun, asphalt forms cracks. It’s even…

  • School Urban Agriculture Supports Local Food

    School Urban Agriculture Supports Local Food

    Growing Food in Schools To Kickstart Urban Agriculture One of the best ways to kickstart a local movement is to provide early access to training. I saw this firsthand when culinary teacher and Pastry Chef Kelly Hobbs’ culinary students won more than 28 awards between 2009 and 2017. After graduation, a sizable number of them enrolled in…