I think most people feel that cities are hard and nature is soft and that never the two shall meet. Oh sure, there are parks and some trees and doesn’t everyone have a yard? But most will say that nature is “out there.” And cities are definitely not “out there.” Thus a disconnect is formed in the mind: nature – good – out there. Cities – bad – right here. Yet we have innumerable examples of well-sited and designed towns and cities that connect us to both urbanity and nature.
This is the promenade point in Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, where settlement and sea meet. In this place, we don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. We have both. To me this offers an admittedly dramatic example that we must see our cities as embodying complete urbanity as well as complete nature. Most city planners assume that nature must be moved aside as human settlement advances. Yet we see now in too many destructive ways that that idea isn’t working. Finding the balance will be the work of the 21st century.