Contribution of Cities to Half-Earth
The Biophilic Cities Network focuses on the importance of living with nature and helping biodiversity to flourish in urban environments. Tim Beatley, founder of biophilic cities discusses how important it is for urban youth in particular to be able to experience nature where they live, to better understand and appreciate biodiversity, and to live healthier lives. Urban communities have an essential role in forging a Half-Earth Future.
Design Challenge: Biophilic Cities, Making Urban Environments More Diverse and Sustainable
In this classroom-ready activity, students will research action steps cities around the world are implementing to restore nature and biodiversity into the urban landscape. They will evaluate their own cities (or favorite cities to visit) and develop action plans to make their cities greener and more nature-friendly.
The following resources are helpful for students to research, learn, and get inspired about organizations and actions that are promoting biodiversity and preserving nature in urban areas.
1. Biophilic Cities Website – The Biophilic Cities Network was created to restore a connection between cities and nature. They feature examples of work being done in cities around the world.
2. Biophilic Cities Journal – The organization has a quarterly journal profiling city projects that align with their mission, as well as interviews with experts and researchers working to bring nature back to cities. The “City Profile” and “Project Profile” are great articles to expose students to creative ways cities are becoming greener. You could use the articles as guided reading and discussion or jigsaw the articles and have students discuss the various methods with each other. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Vancouver – Learn about Vancouver’s Biodiversity Strategy •
- Chicago – Check out the “Chicago Wheat Prairie” •
- Milwaukee – Find out what Milwaukee is doing with vacant lots •
- Medellin – See how Medellin’s River Parks are expanding nature
3. Biophilic Ci1es Films – The network has several short films featuring people doing amazing projects in cities around the world, from small-scale to really huge.
4. The Pattern Library – The pattern library displays an inspiring array of nature-centered projects that could be used as blueprints to create more nature-friendly cities. They provide good models for how students might present their ideas.
5. Humans and Nature – A curated community of storytellers sharing reflections on how cities can offer opportunities for transformation, intimacy, and connection with other species and one another.
6. The Nature of Cities – An international platform devoted to conversations on making cities greener with a big catalog of resources including essays, roundtable discussions, podcasts, and more.
7. Homegrown National Park – This new project from Doug Tallamy, research scientist and author of Nature’s Best Hope, inspires individuals to restore biodiversity by planting native species in their own backyards and green spaces. You can get on the map here!