18 January 2019
Summing up an urban initiative: The U.S. National Park Service's Collaboration Handbook
The Urban Agenda initiative of the United States National Park Service started in 2015 with a two-year pilot project involving 10 Urban Fellows assigned to 10 very different cities around the country to explore new opportunities for collaboration between NPS and local communities. Their experiences are distilled into 10 lessons in the Collaboration Handbook (NPS, 2018, 28 pages).
David Goldstein, now Co-chair of the IUCN WCPA Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group, was one of the Urban Fellows, posted in Detroit, Michigan. The Handbook recounts how David, a cultural anthropologist whose previous assignment was at the Virgin Islands National Park in the Caribbean, started his task by thoroughly researching the city and creating an asset map to support conversations and (eventual) collaboration with Detroit stakeholders. The asset mapping identified a need for more involvement from the African American community, the city's largest demographic group. He took this to the mayor, and the result was a project identifying gaps and places where NPS programs would be most beneficial. [Photo: Skyline of Detroit, Michigan, USA, as seen from Windsor Ontario, Canada]
Summary for urban policy makers: What the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees means for cities (30 pp). C40 Cities, December 2018.
Biodiversity and health in the face of climate change (179 pp). German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, 2018. Proceedings of a conference focused mainly on urban areas.
Want to save nature? See a psychologist. Online paper, ALERT (Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers), 6 January 2019. A good summary of what conservation psychology can offer conservation practitioners.
Natural Neighbors is a project aimed at connecting people, nature, and culture through regional conservation alliances that include museums, zoos, botanic gardens, and similar institutions, as well as conservation and historic preservation agencies. Here are news items and information resources related to its mission:
Israel: A major new museum linked to protection of the country's biodiversity has opened in Tel Aviv. The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History has taken several conservation-oriented centers under its wing, including the Open Landscape Institute led by Yoav Sagi, a longtime member of our Specialist Group.
Center for the Future of Museums, American Alliance of Museums: TrendsWatch 2018: The Scenario Edition (52 pp). Designed to support museum planning, this report lays out four stories of potential futures and ways museums could cope: bright future, fragmentation, new equilibrium, and "wild times." The latter refers not to our kind of wildness, but rather to such things as a pandemic or major cyber attack. Although it focuses on museums in the U.S., the basics apply more generally, and this is a good example of how "natural neighbors" can learn from each other.
NEWS OF OUR MEMBERS AND FOCAL CITIES
Hong Kong: A rural patch of Hong Kong where rare birds sing and developers circle (New York Times, 17 November 2018). About threats to Mai Po, a 1,540-hectare Ramsar site (a Wetland of International Importance) protecting intertidal marshes and mudflats. Mai Po is mentioned in our publication Urban Protected Areas (IUCN, 2014, pages 20-21). Fook Yee Wong, a Deputy Chair of our Specialist Group and former head of Hong Kong's Country Parks, took me there a few years ago. My strongest memory is of walking along a path through mangroves to the estuary that marks the boundary between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and mainland China. Across the mudflats was a row of high-rise buildings, the edge of Shenzhen, a city of over 12 million. [Photo: Shenzhen from Mai Po; B.H.C. Kwok, New York Times]
Paolo Giuntarelli in Rome: A new book. Paolo has published Turismo, Ambiente e Sviluppo Locale: Uno sgaurdo sociologico [Tourism, Environment, and Local Development: A sociological view] (Rome: Universitalia, 2018). Formerly head of Roma Natura, he is now Director of the tourism agency of the Lazio region of Italy, which includes Rome, and is on the faculty of the University of Tor Vergata.
Joe Edmiston in Los Angeles: An "occasionally ruthless" urban conservationist. In a backgrounder on the protected areas of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Los Angeles Times last month called Joe Edmiston, a Senior Advisor to the Specialist Group who is the longtime Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, "brilliant and occasionally ruthless." If he has been ruthless now and then, there's a good reason: he works to acquire parkland in one of the world's priciest real estate markets. I joked with Joe that ruthlessness in the defense of nature is no vice, echoing a famous and controversial statement by a U.S. presidential candidate in the 1960s, Barry Goldwater, that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."
Reminder: The Nature of Cities Summit, Paris, 4-7 June 2019. Update here.
Chair, IUCN WCPA Urban Conservation Strategies Specialist Group
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