Cities will face many challenges over the coming decades, from adapting to a changing climate to accommodating rapid population growth. A related suite of challenges threatens global biodiversity, resulting in many species facing extinction. While urban planners and conservationists have long treated these issues as distinct, there is growing evidence that cities not only harbor a significant fraction of the world’s biodiversity, but also that they can also be made more livable and resilient for people, plants, and animals through nature-friendly urban design.
Urban ecological science can provide a powerful tool to guide cities towards more biodiversity-friendly design. However, current research remains scattered across thousands of journal articles and is largely inaccessible to practitioners. Our report Making Nature’s City addresses these issues, synthesizing global research to develop a science-based approach for supporting nature in cities.
Using the framework outlined in the report, urban designers and local residents can work together to connect, improve, and expand upon city greenspaces to better support biodiversity while making cities better places to live. As we envision healthier and more resilient cities, Making Nature’s City provides practical guidance for the many actors who together will shape the nature of cities.
In 2022, SFEI translated the Making Nature's City report into an interactive, beautifully designed website, titled the Making Nature's City Toolkit. This resource was built to make the report’s core urban biodiversity framework more accessible to actors and decision-makers in cities across the world, including policymakers, planners, designers, and natural resource managers.
Report (PDF) 2019 Making Nature's City: A science-based framework for building urban biodiversity
Programs and Focus Areas:
Resilient Landscapes Program
Center for Resilient Landscapes
Urban Nature Lab
Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands
Through the EPA-funded Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project, SFEI and sixteen partner organizations are developing multi-benefit tools to enhance climate change resilience in San Francisco Bay. Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands has two major components: Multi-benefit Urban Greening and Tidal Wetlands Restoration. Through both components, we have developed strategies that inform policy, planning, and design of innovative implementation projects.