Celebrating the Botanical Diversity of Cities

The word “ecology” has been co-opted so widely that it has lost real meaning, yet ecological thinking remains a powerful lens for understanding complex adaptive systems. A new book aims for a more rigorous engagement of ecology and design.

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April 30, 2014, 8:00 AM PDT

By Places Journal


Places Journal is featuring two chapters from Projective Ecologies, edited by Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister and co-published by Actar and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

In "The Flora of the Future," botanist Peter Del Tredici argues that the native plants movement has got it all wrong: “Landscape architects — and anyone else who works directly with vegetation — need to acknowledge that a wide variety of novel or emergent ecosystems are developing before our eyes.” In an engaging photo survey of ecological niches in the city, Del Tredici makes the case for spontaneous urban plants as flora of the future.

In "Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies," the book's editors trace the origins and evolution of the over-extended term "ecology" and explain how contemporary ecological models of “open-endedness, flexibility, resilience and adaptation” can inform design thinking.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 in Places Journal

Chicago Commute

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Aerial view of Bend, Oregon with river and old mill district

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Sunset view over canal and downtown Scottsdale, Arizona

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Aerial view of Ogden, Utah with Wasatch Mountains in the background

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Atlanta Rail Service

Atlanta Transit Plans Stall Due to Budget Concerns

With MARTA facing a potential billion dollar shortfall, the agency says it can’t fulfill its system expansion plan.

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