Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Humane Metropolis

Neil Peirce wrote an very interesting column about "Keys to the Humane Metropolis".

An excerpt:

Now, another idea has surfaced. It's called "The Humane Metropolis."

A book with that title, edited by Rutherford Platt, was recently published by the University of Massachusetts Press and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. A conference on the topic was held a week ago in Pittsburgh.

So what is a "humane metropolis"? The key words seem to be green, healthy, sociable, civic and inclusive.

A metropolis (i.e., metro region or citistate) is considered green if it fosters humans' connections to the natural world -- an idea Anne Whiston Spirn promoted in her seminal 1984 book "The Granite Garden." Spirn rejected the idea -- easily absorbed if one watches too many "concrete jungle" films, or even televised nature documentaries -- that the natural world begins beyond the urban fringe.

"Nature in the city," she wrote, "must be cultivated, like a garden, rather than ignored or subdued."

That means renewed attention to welcoming urban parks, from entire "green necklace" systems within metro areas to the emerald-green sanctuary of small vest-pocket parks. Community gardens, green roofs, street trees and planted medians all count -- and today more than ever as antidotes to the "urban heat island" phenomenon and the spread of global warming-inducing greenhouse gases.

Something for us to think about in Sarasota.

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