Category Archives: Urban Forestry

Interview with Herbert Girardet on Regenerative Cities

Author of Creating Regenerative Cities, Herbert Girardet has a nice interview in London Essays on the challenges of transitioning cities off fossil fuels, and the differences between regenerative cities, resilient cities and sustainable cities.

Here’s a clip:

“I argue that nowadays we are struggling to make the transition from Petropolis to Ecopolis, where urban consumption supports and regenerates rather than despoils the ecosystems that nature and humanity need to survive. These days, some people argue for creating the ‘intelligent city’ or ‘creative city.’ Others talk about the ‘liveable city’, meaning a city that offers residents and visitors a good quality of life, with nice parks and safe streets and so on. And of course this agenda is very popular with city people and city governments. Then there’s the ‘smart city’ – the city that exploits all the potential of new IT technology. This is very popular with companies like IBM or Siemens, for obvious reasons, and there’s a lot of money being spent on this by city authorities and companies.

And then of course there is lot of talk about the ‘resilient city’ – although I have criticised this concept because to my mind it is rather like the medieval city that surrounds itself with a defensive wall: in the past it would have been to resist marauding tribes; increasingly today it would be walls to shut out rising sea levels.

And then finally there is the concept of the sustainable city, which dates back to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 where the concept of sustainable urbanism was first defined. A sustainable city is a city where people live in ways that don’t damage the chances of future generations to lead good lives.

I argue in Creating Regenerative Cities that we need to think beyond sustainability because we have not done much to protect and sustain living nature in recent years, particularly in the period since these ideas were first formulated, 20–25 years ago. We have run down the resources of the planet to an extraordinary degree. The idea of the regenerative city draws attention to the need to replenish and make good the damage we have done and to understand the city in all its complex relations to the natural environment.”

The Outline Outside My Mind

Theme : Have you ever wondered how great nature can be? Doesn’t matter your answer to that question because either way, this project will entice you to form a more perfect union with trees.

General storyline: I, along with a good friend of mine, will be walking through a forest and talking about the intricacies, the beauty, the majesty, the drama, the romance, the war, the famine, the peace, the pieces, and the nature of what we see. We will, of course, supplement all the factual information with statements that may not be facts to the general public, but they are to us.

Main characters: Those featured in this work will be, as of today, will be Raud, yours truly, and my main man Creek may sneak on camera.

Interviews: I have interviewed Creek, the caretaker of the particular forest I will be filming in, and Andy, the university’s urban forester. I am currently working with three other folks to get interviews. Some more viable than others, so we shall see who else will join in.

Arts Medium: I will be working with film. I do not think it will be on an old-timey crank-and-shoot, but the world has many surprises and that is always an option.

P.S.: I plan on reaching out to Leonardo DiCaprio, so, ya know…the film should be pretty cool.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Leonardo+DiCaprio+working+with+Solomon+Furious+Worlds+at+UIOWA

 

...Me?

…Me?

Leo lovingly pointing at...

Leo lovingly pointing at…

Andy the Arborist

Before me stood a tall man, with a beard that puts my chin hairs to shame, and a smile larger than the trees he plants. He greeted me by saying, “You must be Solomon!”

Andy Dahl is the University of Iowa’s Arborist and he describes himself as an Urban Forester. He is a down to Earth (pun intended), charismatic man who is a champion for the plant ecology we see in Iowa City’s university districts. I asked him three questions:

1) What are the intricacies of forest systems?
2) How are the local animals handling the dwelling forests?
3) How do people interact with the forest overall?

No question had a straight forward answer, however, there were not straight forward questions. Andy is also not a straight forward guy. I expected to see a man who wanted to have a quick 30 minute conversation, but instead I found someone who wanted to spend more time than he had talking about his love of trees.

Andy has helped save countless trees as well as plant many more than the countless he has saved. He is an Urban Forester, he loves Neil DeGrassee Tyson, and he gives tours of the trees.

Here are some University of Iowa trees:

SE area of the Pentabest

SE area of the Pentabest