Friday, April 14, 2006

2006 Natural City Conference

Just because the course is over doesn't mean we have to stop learning about cities! This conference that is being held at U of T in May is dealing with issues of environmental sustainability in cities. It sounds fascinating, and Stephen Lewis and Jane Goodall will be speaking.

"Many people perceive nature and cities to be separate entities. Despite some significant shifts in thinking in recent decades, the overriding perception still seems to be that environmental issues are principally concerned with plants, animals and pristine wilderness areas. On the other hand, human settlements are generally seen to be the exclusive domain of architects, planners and urbanists. Too often, nature is mythologized as benevolent and the city as evil, despite growing urbanization trends worldwide.

This conference presents an opportunity to challenge this view. Urban and natural environments are not necessarily conflicting notions but must be integrated at many different scales, for sustainable, healthy settlements to occur. As renowned anthropologist, Margaret Mead, argued years ago, just as hives are to bees and dens to foxes, cities can be equally natural moments in the development of human society, as long as ecological integrity is preserved.

A major focus for this meeting will be how to rethink foundational concepts and apply them to the sustainable development of natural, healthy cities on a global scale, from developing to developed worlds.

The overarching theme of the conference will be Success Stories. It is true that society can learn from its mistakes and we have made many in the field of environment. However, it is also the case that we can gain insights from our successes and it is our hope that the Natural City conference 2006 will help us all to move forward and build upon these accomplishments."


Here's a link to more information:

http://www.environment.utoronto.ca/NaturalCity

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