By Christopher Swope, Cityscope: “This week’s Citiscope innovation feature story looks at the ways Singapore fosters connections to nature in a dense urban environment. This is a subject Timothy Beatley knows a lot about. Beatley is the founder of the Biophilic Cities Network, a global group of cities that each in its own way is working at making nature a bigger part of the urban experience.
“Beatley is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He’s also written or co-authored more than 15 books on cities and sustainability including Biophilic Cities. His most recent book came out last July. It’s called Blue Urbanism, and it explores the connections between cities and the sea.”
Inside a city that works hard at keeping the jungle in “urban jungle.”
by Grace Chua: Cityscope
“SINGAPORE — When it comes to discovering plant and animal species, this densely packed metropolis of more than 5 million people is full of surprises.
“A year ago, a slender woody tree known as Alangium ridleyi, which was believed to have been lost to development, was discovered hiding in plain sight in the middle of Singapore’s heavily visited Botanic Gardens. (A dry spell triggered the tree to put out its small and delicate yellow flowers.)
“Then in May, researchers found a species of shrub brand-new to science called Hanguana neglecta, a shin-high spray of blade-like leaves. It was spotted right beside a footpath in a nature reserve.” Source: citiscope.org
Singapore’s commitment to biodiversity is outstanding.
Urban Sprawl in Mexico City
GR: Those 1960’s suggestions that we cluster humans in tall buildings have never been truly encouraged. In many places, urban growth has not been planned. But even where it is, the land is not safe. U. S. residential developers favor the cheapest and quickest method for building houses. They preserve bits of nature only when forced. Thus, construction, the most nature-destructive human activity of all continues without improvement.
University of Washington Conservation Magazine: With more than half the world now living in urban areas, and that percentage growing steadily, that means the concrete and steel will have to stretch out into areas that are currently forest and farm and grass.
A study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning simulated the urbanization process in the Piedmont region of North Carolina out to 2032. The question the authors posed was, essentially, what land will suffer in favor of the ever-growing city?
Under a “status quo” scenario where no new land use policies are implemented, developed area would increase by 229 percent from 1996 through 2032. Such a growth in city area would mean a 21 percent loss of farmland and a 14 percent loss of forest. They did find that with other policies that prioritize certain types of land and resources above others, “priority resources” could be spared while still allowing for the growth of urban areas likely to be needed” (read more.)