Our children's health and welfare is our responsibility. As countries across the globe are celebrating Universal Children's Day and recommitting to improve the welfare of kids everywhere, I can't help but wonder if we're doing enough to protect our kids here at home.
A landmark paper published this week in Nature by James Watson and colleagues shows that there is now significant evidence that many governments are backsliding on their commitments to establish and support parks and other protected areas.
Cool temperatures, colorful foliage and a spooky atmosphere can only mean one thing: fall has come to Illinois. There is arguably no better place to fully appreciate and witness this metamorphosis than in Illinois' scenic state parks.
Who needs peace and quiet when you have the run of the opera, street festivals, and sports games, something different every night? These numbers can certainly help smart urban leaders continue to make city life as compelling as possible.
Why does urban biodiversity matter at all? Because according to the UN, for the first time in human history more people are now living in cities than rural areas. The planet is urban. When people experience nature, that nature will be urban too.
Roughly three decades ago, the U.S. Justice Department brought national attention to one of Chicago's open secrets. Park district officials lavished money on parks in white neighborhoods at the expense of those in African-American and Latino ones.
Silence reigns as black swans glide on a creek-fed pond, walkways zig-zag this way and that, and elaborately carved wooden pavilions provide much welcome shade. Walking to the garden's upper level provides a sweeping perspective of this idyllic arrangement.
"I think the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to the High Line is a great example of the value of creative thinking in designing public spaces. So many cities in the world now want to create their own High Lines and are thinking about abandoned spaces in a new way."
Glasgow has been busy brushing the soot off its sandstone and washing behind its no-longer-industrial ears. What has emerged after decades of careful restoration is a Victorian city where you can breathe the beautiful air.
So while those VIP donors are enjoying their benefit luncheon on the Nation's Front Yard, we should all ask ourselves: should the National Mall be a manicured lawn with access limited to events with wealthy backers?
We humans have an intrinsic emotional need to connect with nature. Yet cities also, and fundamentally, need the structure of hardscape urbanism in sufficient density to achieve environmental and economic efficiency and nurture social bonds.
The rise of Pogo Parks deserves Hollywood treatment. Brilliant and improbable, vital and near triumphant. It's a story, though unfinished, that promises in its logic defying detail to warm hearts and change lives.