Cities are wrestling with a multitude of complex and interconnected challenges that will only intensify over the coming decades, from adapting to a changing climate to accommodating rapid population growth. A related suite of challenges threatens biodiversity and ecosystems on a global scale.
For centuries, urban planners and conservationists have treated these issues as distinct, and even often at odds. Nature has been the antithesis of cities, to be restrained, tamed, and sterilized, whether behind concrete or within designated parks.
What we know now is that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Now, the tide is turning. Cities are grasping the power of nature to adapt, heal, and restore. Research and practice increasingly affirm that nurturing our relationship with nature in turn tends to the health and wellbeing of our communities. We are learning that cities are safe harbors for a significant fraction of the world’s biodiversity, while biodiverse ecosystems in cities provide tremendous benefits to people, from soothing and restoring our mental and physical health to protecting our cities from extreme threats like climate change.
SFEI has developed two foundational frameworks – Making Nature’s City and Ecology for Health – that guide cities towards fostering the mutual health and resilience of people and nature.