The 21st century has been labeled the “Century of the City” because of the present and growing dominance of the world’s urban population. The world has entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene, so labeled by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000 - in which the impacts and artifacts of humans are recognized as a geologic force. Clearly in this new humandominated urban era, for the world to be sustainable and resilient, cities will need to play a leading role. Urban biodiversity, defined broadly and holistically here, will become key providers of the ecosystem services that cities depend on. The changes that humans have made to the earth are visible from space, measurable in the planet’s atmosphere, and can be sensed by all via the world’s changing climate, rising sea levels, biodiversity loss, and changes to water and air quality, human health and the overall quality of life. We are now beginning to understand the consequences and complexities of our present, and future, urban existence (McPherson et al 2016, Forman 2014). The world is undeniably in new and uncharted territory, the era of the Anthropocene – in which the impacts and artifacts of humans have become global in scale. In this context, the conventional wisdom that views “nature” and “cities” as opposites is no longer accurate and certainly not productive to meet current and future challenges. Marris et al. (2011) argue that the Anthropocene does not represent a human failure, but rather a call-to-action, … – and to develop a more opportunistic and “forward-looking nature”. The world’s urban future needs new conceptions, paradigms and models for urban nature – including its appearance, its spatial dimensions, its functions and complexity, and ultimately it as a physical manifestation of human values and aspirations. The new global urban demography will cause humanity to rethink its most fundamental concepts and conceptions of nature. There is no going back to the pre-Anthropocene world. “We can only go forward and have to find the best way of making progress” (Sijmonds 2014). In the Century of the City “urban nature” of all types, will be called on, directly and indirectly to contribute to the, feeding, clothing, sheltering, buffering, inspiring, rejuvenating, recreating, and otherwise sustaining a
"Novel Urban Ecosystems: New Nature(s) for the Century of the City,"
Proceedings of the Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning: Vol. 5:
2, Article 60.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/fabos/vol5/iss2/60