Four cities, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Chicago I’ve visited over the last several years have stood out to me in the ways they incorporate nature into the built environment in a variety of different ways. Below are some examples of different ways nature is incorporated in each of these cities.
Hong Kong – The mountains shaped the development of the city and serve as a backdrop for the dramatic Hong Kong skyline while also offering a great place to easily get away from the crowds.
Rio de Janeiro – Like Hong Kong, Rio is shaped by its strange mountains, basically huge granite rocks. The city also has enormous street trees shading the entire street and sidewalk so as a pedestrian, you can walk around the city without ever being in the sun.
Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Yokohama – I was in Japan while the cherry trees were blooming and so there were many cherry blossom festivities and it was definitely different to be a city where natural cycles were still such an ingrained part of the culture.
Chicago – I was in Chicago twice this past October and each time I was particularly struck by the vibrant street flowers. Each area of the city had different colors and types of flowers and it helped define each area while also making the city seem more relaxed and welcoming.