The Nature of Cities

The Nature of Cities is an international platform to share diverse, transformative ideas about cities as ecosystems of people, nature, and infrastructure. We are committed to the design and creation of better cities for all: cities that are resilient, sustainable, livable, and just.
Cities are ecosystems of human habitat. A growing movement in urban social-ecology holds that city building requires a green lens—that urban design with, and not against, nature improves both the global environment and the lives of people. TNOC aims to support and propel this movement by curating a network of thought leaders and publishing their ideas. We now comprise almost 650 contributors from around the world: practitioners, scientists, artists, engineers, ecologists, social scientists, architects, designers, landscape architects, planners, activists, urbanists, entrepeneurs, government officials—all working to propel a transdisciplinary, participatory, and transformative movement for cities.

TNOC is a “boundary organization” interested in ideas at the frontiers of science, design, policy, and the arts—an idea hive that puts different approaches and points of view together, to discover what novel perspectives might emerge. We work in two principal ways. First, we publish a virtual magazine and discussion site featuring, in multiple formats, the diverse work and ideas of our contributors around the world. Second, we pursue partnerships and special projects in specific areas related to our published ideas and mission.

TNOC was founded and is curated by Dr. David Maddox (New York City). ArtsEverywhere was inspired by TNOC and borrowed its web architecture. We continue to co-publish and republish content across the two sites.

The Effect of Iteration on Urban Form, Part II: Iteration in an Ecosystem

Mathieu Hélie, Montréal 

In the Lille citadel example that we saw in part one, we could observe a building technology achieving greater complexity over time, as each iteration survived or failed a new series of tests. Another aspect of the complexity of a geometric process seen in the Lille citadel example is its...

The Effect of Iteration on Urban Form, Part I: Fractals and the Creation of Complexity

Mathieu Hélie, Montréal 

Part two of this essay can be found here In a previous article I proposed that we adopt a perspective on preservation that allowed for transformation and change of what is to be preserved. This type of change has a more precise definition: iteration. To iterate means to “cover the...

Visions of resilience: Eighteen artists say or show something in response to the word “resilience”

David Maddox, New York City 
Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul 
Juan Carlos Arroyo, Bogotá 
Katrine Claassens, Cape Town 
David Brooks, New York City 
Rebecca Chesney, Preston 
Emilio Fantin, Milan 
Lloyd Godman, Melbourne 
Fran Ilich, New York City 
Todd Lanier Lester, São Paulo 
Frida Larios, Antiguo Cuzcatlán, Copán, and Washington 
Mary Mattingly, New York City 
E. J. McAdams, New York City 
Mary Miss, New York City 
Edna Peres, Johannesburg 
Caroline Robinson, Auckland 
Finzi Saidi, Pretoria 
Keijiro Suzuki, Yamaguchi & Nagoya 
Ganzeer, Los Angeles 

Graffiti and street art can be controversial, but can also be a medium for voices of social change, protest, or expressions of community desire. What, how, and where are examples of graffiti as a positive force in communities?

David Maddox, New York City 
Pauline Bullen, Harare 
Paul Downtown, Adelaide 
Emilio Fantin, Milan 
Ganzeer, Los Angeles 
Germán Gómez Eslava, Bogotá 
Sidd Joag, New York City 
Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul 
Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles 
Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal 

Creative Place-Making—This is The Nature of Graffiti

David Maddox, New York City 
Pippin Anderson, Cape Town 
Paul Downtown, Adelaide 
Emilio Fantin, Milan 
Germán Gómez Eslava, Bogotá 
Todd Lanier Lester, São Paulo 
Patrick Lydon, San Jose & Seoul 
Patrice Milillo, Los Angeles 
Laura Shillington, Managua & Montreal 
Mike Houck, Portland 
Julie Goodness, Stockholm 

Nature is all around us. Plants, animals, soil, air and water inhabit and animate our daily lives, whether you live in the country or in the city. We are invigorated by nature. We are inspired by its creatures, their beauty, and their existential meaning. We depend on nature’s services and...