Tag: The Nature of 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…

  • Creating Garden Microclimates

    Creating Garden Microclimates

    What a Poop Pit Can Teach Us About Garden Microclimates I stumbled upon pineapple pits while researching old botanic gardens. The Heligan Garden in Cornwall, England, was created in the 18th century by the Tremayne family. The garden fell into disrepair after the First World War but was restored in the nineties. During reconstruction, a strange…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • The Nature of Cities

    The Nature of Cities

    Why Cities are Good for the Environment Contrary to our cultural narrative, cities are good for nature. Why? Because cities are natural and governed by the same processes that create ecological systems. In fact, cities may be the most useful tool we have for tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. One study out of Yale University reported:…

  • The World’s Best Lawn Mower

    The World’s Best Lawn Mower

    The Original And Best Lawn Mower On The Market You can’t beat one of these when it comes to getting that perfect cut and keeping a healthy, natural lawn – imagine a grass-powered lawn mower with a fertilizer attachment. Grasses co-evolved with the herbivores that ate them. Grasses grow from their bases, unlike most plants.…

  • Animal House Plans: A Birdhouse, Bat Box, and Bee Hotel In One

    Animal House Plans: A Birdhouse, Bat Box, and Bee Hotel In One

    One Design Modified For Three Animals I’ve been wanting to attract more animals to my backyard and was researching different ways to go about it. Besides being a joy to watch, animals provide critical ecological functions such as pest control and pollination. A birdhouse was an obvious place to start, but I realized I could modify…