When people consider the rapidly expanding suburban sprawl around cities like Atlanta and Raleigh, the typical thoughts are of traffic and lost countryside. People concerned about the environment rightly lament lost rural areas and increased emissions. One issue that I think people fail to consider in planning is how increased contact with nature can be immediately dangerous to people. In the piedmont south, farmland is … Continue reading Bears in the Sunbelt: An Overlooked Planning Issue?
This May, after wrapping up exams and coursework, I set off on an epic new adventure – a three-week solo backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail (AT). I felt drawn to nature, to clean air and wildlife, to green trees, and to the Appalachian mountains that feel so much like home. As John Muir put it, “The mountains are calling, and I must go.” Appalachian … Continue reading One Month on the AT
Most of us like animals. Maybe not spiders or rats (those poor guys get a bad rap), but adorable bobcats or soaring eagles? Something in these creatures captivates us in an often-unconscious way. This intrigue comes from our biophilia, or ‘love of life,’ which refers to the innate tendency of humans to be drawn to other life forms. Not only do we feel an affinity … Continue reading Building with Big Cats in Mind
At the heart of land use planning, an unspoken battle has been being waged over the very meaning of nature. And for most of its history, land use planners have unwittingly taken sides and acquiesced around a particular anthropocentric conception of nature that has determined the ways that land gets used. The continued consequences of climate change and ecological erosion, as well as economic inequality … Continue reading Land Use Planning and the Contest for the Meaning of Nature