Quick Bites

Biophilic Cities Peer Network Launch to Take Place at UVA October 17-20

September 27, 2013

by: Emily Sydnor
The Biophilic Cities Project, a multi-year initiative engaging cities across the globe, is hosting the launch of a Biophilic Cities Peer Network on October 17-20 to advance the theory and practice of planning for biophilic cities. Biophilic Cities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are cities that care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world.

University of Virginia Urban and Environmental Planning Professor Tim Beatley is hoping to answer the question, “What is and should be the role of nature in cities?” Beatley, a self-described “biophilic urbanist,” explains the origins of the project:

“In 2012 we began in earnest our Biophilic Cities Project, based in the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture with significant funding from the Summit Foundation and the George Mitchell Foundation.

The project aims to better understand what biophilic cities are; what metrics we might use in defining and monitoring them; and what the current best practice is in supporting and expanding nature in U.S. cities and the world.”

The Peer Network Launch will connect leaders working on initiatives that increase the abundance, quality, and access to nature in their cities, creating a worldwide network for innovations and strategies.

Peer Network Launch events will be free and open to the public, and will feature innovative planning and best practices from a host of international biophilic cities. Biophilic urbanists will be in attendance from Singapore; San Francisco, California; Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Wellington, New Zealand; Portland, Oregon; and Phoenix, Arizona, among others.

Distinguished keynote speakers for the Peer Network Launch are Stephen R. Kellert, Tweedy/Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and author of the recently published Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World; and
Jennifer Wolch, Dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and William W. Wurster Professor of City & Regional Planning.

The Peer Network Launch will feature symposium-style presentations and Q&A with partner city representatives, an interactive exhibition featuring biophilic cities around the world, and ample networking opportunities.

Urban and environmental planners, designers, elected officials, students and others with an interest in planning and designing for nature in cities will gather to celebrate accomplishments, share best practices, and explore future directions for biophilic cities.

Some lectures will be live-streamed online, free of charge. To learn more, visit: http://biophiliccities.org/launch/.



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