Nature and Cities: Ecological Planning and Design

Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
CM | 1.25
Add to My Log

You'll learn about:

  • How ecological understanding can help planners respond to urban challenges like climate change with a focus on resilient urban design

  • A new generation of green urban infrastructure projects that promote public health, safety, and welfare

  • The role of urban planners on interdisciplinary teams working to advance ecological urban design

The place of cities in natureand of nature in cities through the planning and design of water systems and green spaceshas been central to urban development since the beginning of civilization. During the 19th century, Frederick Law Olmsted created a new vision for public parks in the United States beginning with his and Calvert Vaux’s design for Central Park in New York. During the 20th century, Ian McHarg argued that ecological understanding should guide design and planning. This century has given rise to new forms of green infrastructure such as the High Line in Manhattan and Fresh Kills in Staten Island.

Contributors to Nature and Cities present notable projects and appraise the monumental work being done today in ecologically informed and inspired planning and design of cities and metropolitan regions. Hear how planners and designers are working collaboratively to provide safe water, food, and shelter; reduce runoff into city streets; accommodate areas prone to flooding and storm surges; safely locate a utility corridor and design it in such a way that it becomes more than a single-purpose pathway; rethink parking lots in commercial developments; provide citizens of the world’s cities with more than a sliver of grass in the seam of a sidewalk; restore and heal worn and contaminated sites; and provide joy and economic vitality through green design and infrastructure.


Forster Ndubisi , Texas A&M University , College Station , TX (see bio)
Nina-Marie Lister , Harvard University, Graduate School of Design , Cambridge , MA
Timothy Beatley , University of Virginia , Charlottesville , VA (see bio)
Armando Carbonell , FAICP , Lincoln Institute of Land Policy , Cambridge , MA (see bio)