The Natural City: Re-envisioning the Built Environment

The Natural City: Re-envisioning the Built Environment

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Edited by Ingrid Leman Stefanovic and Stephen Bede Scharper
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
356 Pages 12 Images
ISBN 9781442611023
Published Dec 2011
Online discount: 15%
 $37.95    $32.26
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442661172
Published Dec 2011
Online discount: 26%
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Urban and natural environments are often viewed as entirely separate entities — human settlements as the domain of architects and planners, and natural areas as untouched wilderness. This dichotomy continues to drive decision-making in subtle ways, but with the mounting pressures of global climate change and declining biodiversity, it is no longer viable. New technologies are promising to provide renewable energy sources and greener designs, but real change will require a deeper shift in values, attitudes, and perceptions.

A timely and important collection, The Natural City explores how to integrate the natural environment into healthy urban centres from philosophical, religious, socio-political, and planning perspectives. Recognizing the need to better link the humanities with public policy, The Natural City offers unique insights for the development of an alternative vision of urban life.

Ingrid Leman Stefanovic is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

Stephen Bede Scharper is an associate professor with the Centre for the Environment and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto.



Introduction: The Natural City: Cultivating the Terrain

I. Adjusting Our Vision: Some Philosophical Reflections

  1. In Search of the Natural City – Ingrid Leman Stefanovic
  2. Can Cities Be Both Natural and Successful? Reflections Grounding an Apparently Oxymoronic Aspiration – W.S.K. Cameron
  3. The “Gruing” of Cities – Frank Cunningham
  4. “My Streets Are My Ideas of Imagination”: Literature and the Theme of the Natural City – Peter Timmerman

II. From the Stars to the Street: Cosmological Perspectives

  1. From Community to Communion: The Natural City in Biotic and Cosmological Perspective – Stephen Bede Scharper
  2. Sailing to Byzantium: Nature and City in the Greek East – Bruce V. Foltz
  3. Dao in the City – Vincent Shen
  4. Biocracy in the City: A Contemporary Buddhist Approach – Kenneth Maly

III. Expanding Our Collective Horizons: Societal Implications

  1. Gated Ecologies and Possible Urban Worlds: From the Global City to the Natural City – Hilary Cunningham
  2. Other Voices: Acoustic Ecology and Urban Soundscapes – Richard Oddie
  3. Ecofeminist “Cityzenry” – Trish Glazebrook
  4. Sustainable Urbanization – John B. Cobb, Jr.
  5. “Troubled Nature: Some Reflections on the Changing Nature of the Millennial City (Gurgaon), India” – Shubhra Gururani

IV: Building on the Vision: Reflecting on Praxis

  1. Urban Place as an Expression of the Ancestors – Bill Woodworth Raweno:kwas
  2. Seeing and Animating the City: A Phenomenological Ecology of Natural and Built Worlds – David Seamon
  3. The City: A Legacy of Organism-environment Interaction at Every Scale – Robert Mugerauer
  4. Natural Cities, Unnatural Energy – Bryan W. Karney and Gaurav Kumar
  5. Children and Nature in the City – Sarah J. King and Ingrid Leman Stefanovic


‘This collection is excellent… All essays are engaging and thought provoking… Highly recommended.’

P.L. Kantor, Choice Magazine, vol 49:10:2012

‘This collection seeks to bring fresh perspectives that will help conceptualize more sustainable cities for future… If you’re interested in cities and environment, you’ll find plenty that intrigues.’

Tyrone Burke, Canadian Geographic, June 2012

The Natural City brings together essays on the thought-provoking topic of the “natural city”... It directs the conversation of environmental philosophy toward a new perspective on how culture and nature are interconnected.’

Forrest Clingerman, Environmental Philosophy; vol 9:02:2012

‘This collection manages the challenge of discussing complicated concepts in clear language, successfully balancing a depth of analysis and accessibility of concepts…The Natural City starts the dialogue on reintegrating the natural with the urban; an essential topic for the survival of human and non-human alike.’

Madison Van West, UnderCurrents, Journal of Critical Environmental Studies, vol 18:2014