January 12, 2007

Looking for nature

Fog above the Charles River, Boston, MA I write about the neighborhood. I have written about neighborhoods in Berkeley and in other cities. I started this blog with the intention of writing mostly about nature and neighboring, but I have cast a fairly wide net. I would like to return to neighborhood nature this year. Nature is one of the four organizing principles of the neighborhood. Marcia McNally uses three other dimensions to assess and to plan for the neighborhood landscape: structure (land use and zoning), network (transportation), and setting (places that could support community). In addition to physical aspects of the neighborhood, I consider actual neighboring (like a conversation on the sidewalk) as well as markers of neighboring (like maintaining in the public right of way). The river-view photograph was taken on New Year's Day along Memorial Drive. Some theories of the city have placed it at odds with nature. Several elements in the photograph (top) challenge this idea. The fog, the river, the pooled water on the trail from a recent rain, even the grass of the lawn point to the existence of designed, naturally-occurring, and dynamic nature in, through, and around the city.

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