21.06.2021

City nature is not nature

“City nature is not nature. City nature is something we humans design to solve the urban problems we have created ourselves. City Nature is about correcting 1,000 years of urban delusions that have separated the built and the grown (…)” says design director and partner, Stig L. Andersson, in this debate post, where he commends the government’s proposal to demand more and better city nature.

The article was originally published as a debate post in Politiken Byrummonitor, 21 June 2021.
Original title: “Bynatur er ikke natur. Bynatur er noget vi mennesker designer for at løse de urbane problemer vi selv har skabt.”

 

On May 26, the government presented the initiative ‘Closer to Green Cities and a Capital in Development’ with the stated goal, ‘that cities across the country should become even greener and better to live in’.

From here I would like to show my recognition: ‘Closer to’ is a good gambit. Especially the ambitions to make room for city nature in the cities, and that the municipalities can demand a certain percentage of city nature in their local plans – and set quality requirements for it – is a good start.

But we still lack a basic understanding of what nature in the city means – and some very precise definitions of what city nature and nature quality are. Without them, the initiative risks doing more harm than good.

City nature is not nature

City nature is – contrary to what many people seem to think – not everything that is green in the city. Pruned street trees, trimmed lawns and weeds that sprout between the cobblestones are not city nature, but on the contrary, tamed green that is subject to the order of what was built. Or just poor construction work.

 

“City nature is - contrary to what many people seem to think - not everything that is green in the city.”

City nature is something we humans design to solve the urban problems we have created ourselves. It learns from the processes and phenomena of nature. It creates habitats for plants and animals. And it uses nature’s ecosystem services to make our cities more sustainable and our lives in them better.

But it is not nature. City nature is the result of a conscious design action, and its success is measured by whether it makes our cities more livable. Both so that all of us species in the city can survive. But also so we have something to live for.

 

Read the rest of the perspective with Politiken Byrummonitor.

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