In this writing for The Nature of Cities, Patrick reminds us that “seeing trees as sacred is not an anomaly; it’s the fact that we’ve somehow lost this fellowship, that is an anomaly.” He offers a rather bold challenge to ecological cities, asking: If a tree is a keystone of our environmental wellness, and a reason for our continued existence here, then why not at least learn to listen to its voice? If we did listen, how might the things we hear transform the landscape of a city over years, decades, and centuries? … Continue readingNature of Cities: A City Designed by Trees
Co-chair of a panel discussion at The Nature of Cities along with Carmen Bouyer. We invite eleven artists to present their conversation with water in cities. Coming from seven different countries—Czech Republic, France, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and the United States—these artists inspire our own experiences with water in cities. … Continue readingNature of Cities: Artists in Conversation with Water
Co-chair of a panel discussion at The Nature of Cities along with Carmen Bouyer. We invite seven artists from around the Earth to present their conversations with air in cities. Through their different creative practices, they invite us to encounter the air as the breath that flows through all of us, and unites us in a “common ground.” We hope you enjoy reading and participating in the conversations… … Continue readingNature of Cities: Artists in Conversation with Air
Patrick writes for YES! Magazine, how gardening here is not a hobby. It comes from the realization within people that there is inherent value in tending a garden and taking time to be a part of nature. … Continue readingYES! Magazine | What the Garden-Hacking Grandmas and Grandpas of Korea Know
The floods that ravaged Silicon Valley this winter may have dried up, but there is still plenty of water flowing through the San Jose Museum of Art. This is a review of a trio of water-related exhibitions on view, “Liquid City,” The Darkened Mirror,” and “Fragile Waters.” … Continue readingNature of Cities: Drought and Flood in a Silicon Valley Museum
Patrick Lydon, an artist and former San Jose arts commissioner driven out of the Bay Area by of high rents reflects on how the Ghost Ship calamity reflects on not only cities’ attitudes toward artists but on our broader culture. … Continue readingMercury News Op-Ed | Ghost Ship raises broad questions about art and culture
Around the world, individuals are building social, economic, and ecological well being into their communities, they are becoming partners again with the earth in all that they do. Each of us, too, has the power to make a socially and ecologically just economic system a reality for ourselves and those around us. … Continue readingNature of Cities | Building an Ecology of One
In this very moment, you and I have a choice, and that choice will effect whether or not our children and grand children can live happily on this earth. We should take that choice seriously. … Continue readingFinal Straw | Life and Death in the Field
…the issue is not that we are “not extraordinary enough” but rather that, although each of us has an extraordinary seed inside of us, the habits of our contemporary urban lives — from the food we eat to the jobs we work to the television we watch — do not nourish this seed. … Continue readingFinal Straw | The Seeds Inside of Us
A flag, while at once a symbol of pride, oneness, and triumph, can also become a tool of artificial supremacy, of separation from our kin, and of unnecessary strife and conflict within this Earth. We often like to call this the “reality” of our times, but this begs us to ask whether or not we are defining reality in a realistic way. … Continue readingFinal Straw | The Earth Flag
We opened a slightly audacious restaurant and garden in a working-class suburb of Osaka, Japan with the intent of connecting people more deeply with food and nature in their neighborhood. Can an urban garden help us remember what it means to be human? … Continue readingNature of Cities | A Restaurant and Garden Serving up Connections to Urban Nature
From a tiny rice field to one of the world’s largest cities, follow us on a journey with a chef as she builds a pint-sized restaurant focused on nourishing relationships… … Continue readingSocieCity | Rice Fields, Rice Balls, and Relationships
A review written for The Nature of Cities on Arboreal Architecture: A Visual History of Trees, an exhibition on view at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University. The show’s curator, George Philip LeBourdais, has shoehorned a global collection of artworks from the Cantor Center’s collection into an exhibition that offers a deep and powerful display of cultural relationships to trees over a great timespan… … Continue readingNature of Cities | Trees of Life and Fruitful Relationships
A review written for The Nature of Cities of Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art and Culture, an exhibition curated by Robin Lasser, Danielle Siembieda, and Barbara Boissevain at SOMArts, San Francisco, USA. … Continue readingNature of Cities | Artists, Vagabonds, and an Accidental Nature Reserve in San Francisco Bay
What would our food situation look like if all of the suburban backyards and urban alleyways were producing some kind of food? Is this a silly agrarian dream? Would we still need GMOs? … Continue readingResilience | What if We all Grew Food?
The UN claims we have less than 60 years of farming left if we continue our modern chemical-industrial based farming processes… thankfully, around the world, small scale farmers have been putting into practice the kinds of regenerative farming that can both reverse ecological destruction, and feed the world. … Continue readingResilience | Fixing Soil Loss Requires a Mindset Change
If urban sustainability issues are to become deeply entrenched in culture, it follows that successful urban nature design—indeed, successful sustainable cities in general—can only be achieved in concert with a deep and sustained cultural awareness of the importance of nature. … Continue readingNature of Cities | Garden City Culture: How a Cultural Connection with Nature Can Build a Truly Sustainable Future
Is it possible for a humble seed and a patch of soil to be the catalysts for stronger, healthier, more equal urban communities? … Continue readingResilience | Solving Crime and Inequality, with a Seed
In an economy which pushes and fights its way towards new, profitable solutions, one Japanese man wields a refreshingly simple way of problem solving, finding balance for himself and his family in a way that most would find counter-intuitive. … Continue readingSocieCity | No Money Farming? Yes, It’s Possible.
I took part in this global panel discussion on how can art (in all its forms), exhibits, installations and provocations be a better catalyst to raise awareness, support and momentum for urban nature and green spaces. … Continue readingNature of Cities | Art and Urban Green Spaces
Few of us walk around hugging urban trees, saying hello to weeds, and gently touching stone buildings… But if we claim to take urban nature seriously, why don’t we? … Continue readingNature of Cities | Global Roundtable on the Role of ‘Sacred’ in Urban Spaces
We have an endless stream of good knowledge, theory, and practice for building sustainable, nature-inclusive cities, what’s missing is a deeper consciousness of our relationship to the environment. … Continue readingNature of Cities | What Can the Loss of Culture Teach Us About Urban Nature?
Many believe that better information on the monetary value of ecosystem services is critical … what are the key knowledge gaps for convincing cities to invest in ecosystems services? … Continue readingNature of Cities | Global Roundtable on the Monetary Value of Ecosystem Services
This whole Natural Capital initiative (whereby the industry puts price tags on the natural environment) is on the losing side of an argument which — by the very physical principals that guide this earth — will always be decided by nature, not humans. If there is … Continue readingNegotiating with Mother Earth
For the sake of that little bit of sanity, let’s assume it’s not too late to turn back the tables on environmental disaster. That it’s not too late for us to re-capture truth in the way we live life and the way we interact with others … Continue readingDear Industry: It’s Not You, It’s Me
Our cities are turning into a series of island of prisons for old people, built by their very own generation. So why won’t good design and good ideas won’t save our cities or the people in them?
… Continue readingMedium.com | Our Cities Don’t Need More Good Designs
I propose a 12-step program for consumers. This program, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, is aimed at understanding our addiction to destroying nature, and re-connecting with nature in order to help ourselves mend this addiction. … Continue readingA 12-Step Program to Cure Environmental Destruction
This article is the first in a Sociecity exclusive series on Local Food, where consider some viable alternatives to standard supermarket food shopping, taking an in-depth look at what it really means to be a ‘locavore.’ … Continue readingSustainable Cities | Local Food: Can We Ditch the Supermarket?
From Chez Panisse to Namu Gaji, This iconic city, set on a hilly peninsula on California’s central coast is a small but powerful leader in the local agriculture movement. … Continue readingResilience.org | San Francisco’s Natural Farm Restaurant
We prefer to experience the world as a pretty picture and to believe that the importance of our hard work in the office is a proper surrogate for interacting with and understanding the world around us. But is there beauty in Blood, Sweat, and Dirt? … Continue readingSustainable Cities | The Beauty in Blood, Sweat, and Dirt
How Superstardom Discourages the Cultivation of New Creative Talent. We are both amazingly fortunate, and woefully unfortunate to live this day, in a world where superstardom exists. … Continue readingMedium.com | It Takes a Village
What exactly is ‘freedom’ in modern society? From the MacBook to Plato, we examine how the ‘special reality’ of the modern economic system dictates our freedoms, and how the legal system then fights to keep it all running smoothly. … Continue readingSocieCity | Freedom and Economics
The mighty, juicy, cheeseburger meets the lowly leafy green… or is it the other way around? Having a curiosity about the energy required to produce different foods, Vero Alanis and I put the Cheeseburger to the energy-efficiency test, pitting it against the cabbage. … Continue readingSocieCity | Mighty Cheeseburger Meets Lowly Cabbage
A joint op-ed with educator and former graffiti artist, Patrick Milillo which asks: is it better to spend money jailing nonviolent painters or to invest in our communities, our schools, and in building legitimate venues for youth to have their voices heard? … Continue readingMercury News Op-Ed | Graffiti Problems Misunderstood by Society and DA
We are born to the world as a part of nature — well, except for test tube babies — and will also leave the world as a part of nature — okay, plus maybe some formaldehyde, antibiotics and whatnot. It’s just this whole ‘living’ part between being born and death where we seem to have things a little screwed up. … Continue readingSocieCity | Is Global Warming Really the Problem?
Certainly one of the few tasks of importance which must only be entrusted to the command of a single person, is that of art. Yet art it is not primarily mechanical or utilitarian in nature. … Continue readingSocieCity | The Art, the Individual, the City
Industrialized nations know very well that their lifestyle is both a social and ecological impossibility for a majority of the world, so for them it’s either war, exploitation, or… … Continue readingSocieCity | Dear United Nations: A Call for Moderation and Respect
With a sea of parking lots currently surrounding San Jose’s transit hubs, the city is looking at opportunities to build new “urban villages” connected by a robust mass transit and bicycle system. … Continue readingSustainable Cities | Suburbia into Eco-Utopia (part 3)