9. Urban Ecologies: Where’s Nature in the City?

Season 1, Ep. 9

With Gavin Van Horn & John Thackara.

How can people living in urban settings engage with a teeming animal world – right on their doorsteps? Can we design cities from the perspective and the lifeworlds of other species? And by the way, where does the city even begin? How can animals disrupt our associations of what cities are?


Gavin Van Horn is the Executive Editor of the Center for Humans and Nature Press, and is the author of City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness and The Way of Coyote. His story teaches a potent medicine for urban alienation, by honing our awareness to species like coyotes, robins, pollinators, and degraded urban forests. We talk about everyday intimacies, wild mutual gazes, the resplendence of pigeon feathers and examples of mutual healing when people repair urban lands and make nature whole.


John Thackara, writer, curator and professor, develops design agendas for ecological restoration, urban-rural reconnection, and multi-species environments. He curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years, and was commissioner of the UK Social Innovation Biennial and the Urban-Rural Expo in Shanghai. John’s expertise lies in the realm of futures design and next economies, and in our chat he shares compelling examples of urban rural reconnection, such as designers experimenting with microbial lives, the viral phenomenon of weed watching, celebrity farmers in china, and placefulness as a doorway into caring.

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Look out for meditations, poems, readings, and other snippets of inspiration in between episodes.

Photo Credit: Jason Klassi via Getty Images

Music: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock, Ellie Kidd & The Rising by Tryad CCPL

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