Mark Simmons at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center believes we can use natural ecosystems to help fix our urban landscapes.
Mark Simmons has some very interesting and powerful ideas driving his thinking. As the Director of the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, he believes it’s time for society to see cities as a place for nature.
People now see cities as our natural habitat, he says, resulting in disconnect with nature and poor health outcomes. He believes that we can use natural ecosystems to help fix our urban landscapes. “Imagine our cities as nature preserves. What if we created cities to be not only our home, but home for as much biodiversity as ecologically possible? What if we bring nature to where we live work and play?” Urban prairies, wildflower meadows, green roofs and walls, restored roadsides that are better for people and also add functionality. Plants can handle storm water, protecting them against hurricanes and flooding, heat waves, and air pollution. “It’s no longer acceptable to design the city landscape around single functions of transport, utility, recreation, or even the aesthetic. Our cities can be much more — they represent an opportunity for engaging nature’s proven technology.” (2014) TedX Congress Avenue presentation.