About the Author

Richard Louv is Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, an organization supporting the international movement to connect children, their families and their communities to the natural world. He is the author of ten books, including "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," "The Nature Principle," and "Vitamin N." His newest book is "Our Wild Calling: How Connecting to Animals Can Transform Our Lives — and Save Theirs." In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal. He speaks frequently around the country and internationally.

During the first week of November, members of the American Society of Landscape Architects and their colleagues from around the country – over 5,000 strong – met at the San Diego Convention Center. Saving the world was somewhere on the agenda.

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Could they be the group with the most influence on human habitat in the future, particularly when it comes to the connection between children and adults to the rest of nature?  “Because of their training, landscape architects are big thinkers, or tend to be,” says my friend, Vicki Estrada, a landscape architect, urban designer, and president of Estrada Land Planning in San Diego.

Having been asked to speak at the conference, I offered a starter list of suggestions for how landscape architects, and the rest of us, could truly green our cities:

1. Apply the Nature Principle: re-conceive your city as an engine of biodiversity and human health.
2. Restore nearby nature and “create” new habitat: rebuild local food webs; encourage urban wildlife.
3. Recognize and increase human-nature social capital, thereby creating healthier habitat for humans and other animals.
4. Plant native species in your yard; create butterfly zones in your neighborhood; help build aHomegrown National Park*
5. Create a De-central Park in every city. Button Parks, too.
6. Establish new human/nature networks, including family nature clubs and green gyms.
7. Connect the region with wildlife and humanlife corridors.
8. Establish restorative transportation systems, including naturalized bike and pedestrian paths; quieter, more efficient public transit; shade parking areas with green roofs and/or solar panels.
9. Challenge neighborhood CC&Rs and other barriers of law, regulation and rules.
10. Adopt development policies favorable to green roofs, green walls, etc.

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11. Replace decaying shopping malls with urban ecovillages and natural park space.
12. Create or retrofit homes as restorative habitats for humans and other species.
13. Design and retrofit schools and libraries with biophilic design; green every schoolyard.
14. Apply biophilic design to new housing and commercial developments.
15. Weave nature into communities for older people, including assisted living homes.
16. Create restorative workplaces that produce human energy.
17. Encourage urban and suburban agriculture, from community gardens to verticalfarms.
18. Recognize and celebrate your urban bioregion’s natural identity.
19. Establish a regional scorecard that includes the economic benefits of truly greening your city.
20. Support a regional children and nature campaign; help build the New Nature Movement.
21. Focus your city’s future envisioning process through the prism of nature: consider how planting the restorative city could reshape healthcare, education, law enforcement, redevelopment, tourism and other businesses.

The Restorative City: How Your Region Can Envision a Better Future

C&NN Advisor Robin Moore’s guest blog: A New Role for Landscape Architecture

A column by Neal Peirce on greenscaping cities, in Nation’s Cities Weekly

Recommended reading, including: Making Healthy Places, Bringing Nature Home, Biophilic Design, Moving the Classroom Outdoors, Wild in the City, The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods.

Recommended Film: The Nature of Cities, trailer.

To learn more: The Natural Learning Initiative and Children & Nature Network.
*The term comes from Douglas W. Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home.”

Richard Louv is the author of THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder and LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Children and Nature Network.


  1. Richard,

    we should work together to make an illustrated book out of your list here.

    Great list for our evolving habitats!


    Timothy Colman, publisher
    Good Nature Publishing
    206 271 3490

  2. Dear Richard, i am so happy to see every time you talk about the relationship of Nature and healthcare. I am currently volunteering at a Children’s hospital and encourage bringing children out in Nature. It will speed up their Healing and recovery process. I must meet you someday and join your team
    Regards ,



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