Most cities struggle to bring back nature into the urban environment, after decades of aggressive industrialization and unrestrained urbanization of what used to be countryside just beyond the city limits. Cities continue to expand outwards, swallowing forests, ponds, fields, and villages.
City managers are thinking of ways of making this extension more environmentally friendly. In downtown Amsterdam, canals are getting a green makeover. The small biodiversity spots on the side of canals are bringing back animals, birds, and insects. On the outskirts of the city, some sites have been designated nature reserves or protected areas.
The relation between built and natural environment is negotiated on many levels.
In the city, nature is brought back purposefully with projects such as the greening of canals. Nature also takes over abandoned places, usually industrial sites, with no human intervention. At the city limits, the transition between urban environment and countryside becomes more seamless with bike paths and hiking trails.
The project tries to bring to the foreground this tension, sometimes troubled and some other times productive, between city and nature. It aims to explore the ways in which modern cities try to reclaim and reinstate nature both within and around urban environments. It explores the consequences this “reclaiming of nature” has on people living in and outside the city.