Cities and Nature: A Handbook for Renewal


7″ x 10″, softcover, 310 pages, McFarland.

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Cities and towns across the United States are working to restore nature and increase green space as a means to improve quality of life and enhance economic conditions.

In Cities and Nature, editor Roger Kemp has gathered articles and essays from more than 50 leading practitioners on all aspects of what he has termed the “back-to-nature” movement in downtown revitalization.

The case studies illustrate the work of cities and towns in four major areas: creating, protecting, preserving, and restoring nature.

The case studies come from cities across the nation. Differing geographically, politically and culturally, these cities offer a variety of ideas and inspirations while sharing a commitment to an urban environment enhanced by nature.

Key essays and case studies include:

  • The economic benefits of parks and open space

  • Lessons in creating urban parks on existing public facilities

  • Hartford, CT, revives its downtown riverfront

  • Lafayette, IN, uses public plazas to revive main streets

  • Petaluma, CA, reorients its downtown around a river

  • St. Louis, MO, park creates new community green downtown

  • St. Paul, MN, revives its inner-city riverfront area

  • San Francisco, CA, transforms industrial site into open space and trails

  • Silver Spring, MD, turns old railroad corridors into public trails

  • West Des Moines, IA, turns floodplain into regional park and open space

Table of Contents

Part 1: Cities and Nature

  1. A New Approach to Managing Growth

  2. Environmental Management Systems

  3. Creating “New” Main Streets in Our Cities

  4. Development for People and Wildlife

  5. The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Space

Part II: The Best Practices

  1. Atlanta Builds Parks to Create Open Spaces

  2. Baltimore Uses Linear Trails to Link Neighborhoods to Harbor District

  3. Boston, Other Cities, Create Urban Parks on Existing Public Facilities

  4. Cambridge Designs Open Spaces to Improve Downtown Living

  5. Charlottesville, Other Cities, Restore Their Watersheds

  6. Chattanooga Creates Public Parks and Greenways

  7. Chesterfield County Protects Nature to Preserve Quality-of-Life

  8. Chicago Creates “Green” Infrastructure

  9. Denver Networks with Greenways and Trails

  10. Fairfield Uses Town Green to Preserve Nature Downtown

  11. Fort Collins Takes Steps to Protect and Preserve Its Climate

  12. Gainesville and Hall County Work to Preserve Watershed Areas

  13. Grand Forks Rebuilds Downtown with Open Spaces and Walkways

  14. Hampton Creates Environmental Center While Preserving Open Space

  15. Harmony: America’s Latest Conservation Community

  16. Hartford Revives Its Riverfront

  17. Irvine Turns Military Base into Park and Nature Preserve

  18. Lafayette, Other Cities, Use Public Plazas to Revive Main Streets

  19. Lake Worth Restores Its Public Beaches

  20. Lancaster Revitalizes Inner-City Park

  21. Miami Beach, Other Cities, Shore Up Their Coastlines

  22. Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Other Cities, Guide Growth to Improve the Environment

  23. New York City’s Old Railroad Tracks Become Hidden Garden

  24. Northampton County Combines Economic Development with Environmental Protection

  25. Petaluma Reorients Its Downtown Around a River

  26. Philadelphia and Camden Restore Their Riverfronts

  27. Phoenix, Other Cities, Use GIS to Prevent Urban Sprawl

  28. Port Aransas, Other Cities, Benefit from Wildlife Conservation Trails

  29. Portland Protects Its Open Spaces

  30. Portland Pursues Balance Between Its Economy and Environment

  31. Riverhead and Mattituck Take Steps to Protect Nature

  32. Saint Louis Park Creates a New Community Green Downtown

  33. Saint Paul Revives Its Inner-City Riverfront Area

  34. San Francisco Transforms Industrial Site into Open Space and Trails

  35. San Jose, Other Cities, Initiate Corridor Preservation

  36. San Rafael, Other Cities, Restore Urban Parks with Private Donations

  37. Seattle, Other Cities, Encourage Development of “Green” Buildings

  38. Seattle Highway Is Designed to Protect Wildlife

  39. Silver Spring, Other Cities, Turn Old Railroad Corridors into Public Trails

  40. West Des Moines Turns Floodplain into Regional Park and Open Space

Part III: The Future

  1. The Eco-Economic Revolution Is Here to Stay

  2. Economic Growth Without Destruction

  3. The Importance of Landscaping in the Urban Environment

  4. Urban Parks and Public Plazas Return to the Inner-City

  5. Nature and the Human Spirit

Part IV: Resources

  1. Regional Resource Directory

  2. National Resource Directory

About the Editor

Roger L. Kemp, PhD, ICMA-CM, is Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the Edward S. Ageno School of Business of Golden Gate University and a career city manager for 25 years in California, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

His other books include, Main Street Renewal, Small Town Economic Development, and Cities and the Arts.


Read the preface.


Cities and Nature is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.