Intertwine Alliance partners The Nature of Cities, The Bullitt Foundation, Urban Greenspaces Institute and Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions are teaming up for the Nature of Cities Summit: Exploring Paths to Collaboration on Green Cities. The event will feature a group of 23 green city luminaries from around the world for an afternoon of presentations and small group discussions, followed by a happy hour.
Space is very limited; tickets range from $15 to $30, with early-bird registration available through March 31.
The summit is part of a three-day event, April 25-27, during which the international delegation will work with a group of local leaders to explore the potential for an international symposium on the “nature of cities” in 2018.
Themes will include: adaptation to climate change and green infrastructure, equity and inclusion, governance across jurisdictional boundaries, creating university and community partnerships, and sustaining green city building over time.
Doors open at 12:15 p.m. The program will start promptly at 12:45 p.m. Please plan to arrive by at least 12:30 p.m. for registration.
Welcome & International Presenters 12:45 to 2:10 p.m.
· Nina-Marie Lister, Toronto. Green infrastructure: Ecological design for resilience
· Shuaib Lwasa, Kampala. Attitudes toward urban conservation in Africa
· Katrine Claassens, Cape Town. Painting the edges
· Lorena Zárate, Mexico City. They are not informal settlements—they are habitats made by people
· Martha Fajardo, Bogotá. The meaning of landscape
· P.K. Das, Mumbai. Urban planning and open data as a right
Roundtables 2:10 to 2:50 p.m.
Roundtable discussions with international visitors, local experts and stakeholders. Participants choose the table they’d like to be part of.
Break 2:50 to 3:10 p.m.
International Presentations 3:10 to 4:20 p.m.
· Paul Downton, Melbourne. Biophilic urban fractals are essential elements of ecocities
· François Mancebo, Paris. Justice, access, and unintended consequences
· Laura Shillington, Montreal. Gender and environmental equity in Central America
· Marthe Derkzen, Amsterdam. What do people want in green infrastructure?
· Andrew Rudd, New York. The big picture—So many global conventions, from Habitat III, the SDGs, to the Paris Climate Accord. So what? What’s next?
Roundtables 4:20 to 5 p.m.
Roundtable discussions with international visitors, local experts and stakeholders. Participants choose a different table they’d like to be part of.
Closing Remarks and Reception, 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.
Light food and beverages, opportunity to network and engage with international guests
ROUNDTABLE TOPICS & TABLE LEADERS
1. Big international agreements: What are they? Why do they matter?
Andrew Rudd (program officer, UN-Habitat)
There have been numerous global gatherings and agreements in the last few years: the World Urban Forum (Medellín), the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and its urban SGD#11, the Paris Climate Agreement, Habitat-III and its “New Urban Agenda”, and so on. Why do they matter? How are they doing? Why should the Portland-Vancouver metro region care?
2. Open data, maps, and justice
P.K. Das (architect and activist, Mumbai)
Mumbai has only 1% of the open space that New York City has. 40% of its population lives in slums; 70% are impoverished. Yet, the City of Mumbai had no public maps of its slums. It had no maps of its green spaces. This lack of open information lead to all kinds of cozy arrangements between developers and government, and very poor planning. Creating the maps changed the politics of planning and dialogue in Mumbai for better.
3. Building coalitions: political + scientific + civil society
Rob Pirani (NY Harbor & Estuary Program, New York)
New York harbor and the wider estuary spans two states, a mega-city (>24 million people), and countless jurisdictions of all sorts, federal to state to local to civic. It represents a wide range of important ecosystems that are key to the ecological health of the region. What are the keys to building successful coalitions of politics, people and science?
4. Shouldn’t planners and ecologists talk to each other more? Yes.
Diane Pataki (ecologist, Salt Lake City)
It makes a lot of sense that urban planners and ecologists would have a lot to say to each other. But they don’t talk so often, much to the detriment of city building. How can such dialogue be encouraged and nurtured? If you are en ecologist, how could you do better? If you are a planner, how could you do better? Here are successful examples from Salt Lake City and beyond.
5. Projective ecologies: Integrating ecology and landscape architecture
Nina-Marie Lister (planner, ecologist, landscape architect, Toronto)
Ecology and landscape architecture have a lot in common, even if the former is tilted toward the nature and ecological process while the latter is tilted forward people and aesthetic. How can ecology be better integrated with the design imperatives of landscape architecture to find the best of both, to the benefit of both people and nature? How can design be both aesthetic and ecological functional? Where can ecology let people in?
6. Propelling creative placemaking in the built environment
David Tittle (designer, Chatham, England)
How can we get better design ideas and expertise to local authorities and communities? This is fundamentally a question of placemaking, and how to join the sectors of design, business, government, and community into melded conversations about how to build places of meaning and value. What do we get wrong in this arena? What can we get right? Examples from the U.K.
7. Art and expression in the nature of cities
Patrick Lydon (environmental artist, Seoul) & Katrine Claassens (painter, Cape Town)
“Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers–and never succeeding.”—Marc Chagal. “We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”—Pablo Picasso. “I don’t think art is elite or mysterious. I don’t think anybody can separate art from politics. The intention to separate art from politics is itself a very political intention.”—Ai Weiwei. In what ways can artists, planners, ecologists, designers truly learn from each other? What is the role of art in city building?
8. Building partnerships and frameworks for biodiversity and design
Chantal van Ham (IUCN programme officer, Brussels) & Martha Fajardo (landscape architect, Bogotá)
People and organizations get more done when they build partnerships and work for collective impact. Various projects in IUCN and the Landscape Initiatives are examples of global coalitions. Portland’s Intertwine Alliance is a local example. What are they good for? And how can such networks of networks be strengthened through connections from the global to the local?
9. Biophilic design
Paul Downton (architect & ecocities activist, Melbourne)
Biophilia is the idea that people love nature, and, indeed, need it for happy and healthy lives. If this is true, then we need to build more biophilic cities, from the park, to the street, to the office. Beyond metaphor, what are the keys to building concepts of biophilia into the details of city building? How does such design lead to a truly biophiliccity?
10. How can civil society know it is making a difference?
Phil Silva (community activist, New York) & Janice Astbury (social scientist, London)
Impact is one of the important words of any enterprise, including civil society. Civil society organizations often struggle with demonstrating impact, for a variety of reasons. How do civil society organizations identify what their goals are? How can they show progress toward them? Why should civil society organizations care about these issues?
11. Valuing green infrastructure
Franco Montalto (engineer & green infrastructure designer, Philadelphia) & Marthe Derkzen (social scientist, Amsterdam)
The idea of “value” is very important in green infrastructure in cities. But value has different interpretations. There is the economic and ecosystem service value of green infrastructure. There is also the value people assign to elements of their environment. There are also the Values (capital V) that drive our city building decisions. How do we distinguish these meanings of “value”?
12. Justice and access
Laura Shillington (social scientist, Montreal) & François Mancebo (urban planner, Paris)
There are various threads of thought in the idea of “environmental justice." One is the fact that negative environmental impacts, such as pollution and waste, are often experienced with greater force in less affluent neighborhoods. A second is that poorer neighborhoods are also less likely to enjoy the benefits of ecosystem services, such as parks, access to water, and nature-based protection from storms. Even basic conversations about these topics can be highly contentious. Starting with examples from Managua, Montreal and Paris, what is a framework for productive dialogue?
13. Designing for biodiversity in the built environment
Mark Hostetler (ecologist, Gainesville)
We tend to think of development (for example, construction of suburban developments) and biodiversity conservation as fundamentally in conflict. Are they always? How can such conflicts be reduced through dialogue and tools for planning?
14. City building in the Global South: Why does it matter?
Shuaib Lwasa (geographer, Kampala)
It is thought that 30% of the urban area that will exist in 2030 has yet to be built. Most of this enormous expansion will happen in the Global South. It is a challenge for global sustainability. (But don’t just point your finger at the Global South—we should be consuming less in the Global North.) It is also an opportunity to get some design and sustainability things right. It is also a moral imperative to make sure these Global South cities are livable and just. How is this going to happen?
INTERNATIONAL & NATIONAL ROUNDTABLE LEADERS:
Janice Astbury, social scientist, London
PK Das, architect, Mumbai
Marthe Derksen, social scientist, Amsterdam
Paul Downton, architect, Melbourne
Katrine Claassens, artist, Cape Town
Cecilia Herzog, green activist and educator, Rio de Janeiro
Diane Pataki, ecologist, Salt Lake City
François Mancebo, sustainability scientist, University of Reims, Paris
Mark Hostetler, ecologist, University of Florida, Gainesville
Martha Fajardo, landscape architect, Bogotá
Nina-Marie Lister, planner, Toronto
Shuaib Lwasa, geographer, Kampala
Patrick Lydon, artist, Seoul
David Maddox, ecologist/artist, New York
Franco Montalto, engineer, Philadelphia
Rob Pirani, planner, New York
Andrew Rudd, UN-Habitat, New York
Laura Shillington, social scientist, Montreal
Phil Silva, civil society, New York
David Tittle, housing planner, Coventry
Chantal van Ham, IUCN, Brussels
Diana Wiesner, landscape architect, Bogotá
Lorena Zárate, housing activist, Mexico City
Visit the International Symposium Planning Retreat page (ink at left) for more information about the international and local cohort, and the work they will be doing April 25-27.
Space is limited to 150. Get your ticket today!