How Cities Save Nature
As Kaid Benfield wrote in a recent post on Switchboard, the Natural Resource Defense Council staff blog, "there is simply no way we can protect and maintain a beautiful, thriving, natural and rural landscape outside of cities if we continue to spread highways and suburban sprawl across the countryside. Healthy, robust, beautiful cities where people want to live are critical to the protection of nature"
Indeed, Benfield lays out how many of the problems we view as strictly urban issues, such as education, affordable housing, and public safety, are actually environmental issues. These issues, which affect individual's spatial locations, influence their environmental impact and thus become problems relating to natural protection and preservation.
As stated by the federal Wilderness Act of 1964, a wilderness "is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." With these words in mind, Benfield discusses how "natural habitat needs a corresponding strong 'people habitat,' so that people are drawn to our own places, and enjoy but do not permanently infringe upon those extraordinary places where humans remain secondary to other parts of nature."