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What is natural urbanism?

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

In 1993, the Congress of the New Urbanism was founded with the belief that "well-designed cities, towns, neighborhoods, and public places help create community: healthy places for people and businesses to thrive and prosper." Since that time, the concept of the "walkable city" has proliferated throughout the world, with progressive cities like Paris even moving to ban cars from the city center within the next few years.

The next generation of new urbanism

Building off the new urbanism framework, natural urbanism prioritizes the relationship between people and the natural world, and builds places that integrate nature (edible and otherwise) seamlessly into the fabric of daily life. In short, natural urbanism is the logical end point of building more Productive Urban Landscapes, a recognizably urban environment that is bursting with plants, wildlife, and plenty of spaces for community to blossom too.

Natural urbanism utilizes the same concepts of new urbanism (pedestrian-friendly streets, small building setbacks, plenty of public spaces, etc.) and adds a layer of permaculture principles to create urban spaces that provide food, shelter, and natural environments for all citizens to enjoy.

So, what does natural urbanism look like?

Now that we've described natural urbanism, let's take a look at what it looks like in real life. Here's a small gallery of excellent examples of natural urbanism from around the world:

Not all of these landscapes have all of the elements of natural urbanism, but together they show how permaculture principles can be applied in new urbanist settings to create beautiful spaces for people, animals, and plants to enjoy and grow.


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