This website reflects a belief in the ability to integrate cities and nature and, in the process, help heal both the planet and the human soul.

Our Purpose

Contemporary urban life is certainly a challenge because, for many, it has the effect of disconnecting them from nature and place as well as from each other. But it does not have to be so. Green Urbanism, as we call it here, argues for merging the green and the built, the organic and the artificial, and a kind of process of re-earthing. It is a combining of the mossy and verdant with the structural and gray that is offered here as at least a partial antidote. It seeks ways to ensure a sufficient wildness of nature everywhere people live and an urban life of direct contact with nature. Green Urbanism seeks, as well, solutions to urban living (density, walking, transit, circular metabolism) that fundamentally reduce ecological footprints while delivering a high quality of life and urban lives richly lived.

Green Urbanism argues that planning and design can effectively infuse cities, towns and communities with the organic and natural, and that it can happen in many ways, great and small. It’s an agenda of restoring urban ecosystems; of educating about and celebrating the (often) hidden and ubiquitous nature around us in cities; of identifying and nurturing the natural (and built) qualities and features that are special and unique; and integrating the essential elements of the natural into every urban neighborhood and building (from green rooftops and walls, to urban forests and stream day-lighting). Green Urbanism is about growing an urban environmental ethic and ethos that acknowledges and values commitments to place and landscape and understands the demands of a broader notion of citizenship and ecological citizenship.

Restoring connections to place and environment, bringing about a re-earthing, becoming more native and rooted, will require work and practice on many levels and by many individuals and groups working together. This website is largely devoted to exploring these alternative green urban pathways and describing and discussing new research and inspiring practice. It can happen by working to protect a threatened landmark or natural feature; by volunteers working to restore an urban wildland; and by every citizen simply being attentive to the nature around them and the special qualities of place that are often taken for granted. It can happen through our choices about which foods to buy and through our efforts to revive community food systems and institutions. It can happen through educating and challenging every resident to see themselves as an integral part of the landscape. For instance, a terrific exercise is simply paying attention to the sensory elements of the places in which we live, hearing the sounds that help make our communities, cities and landscapes distinctive and unique (one example is the Sound Map of Charlottesville, presented on this site).