Urban Nature Symposium

Illustration by Markus Pyörälä, 2015


Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

The Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall

66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011



The Urban Nature Symposium, organized in collaboration with the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York (FCINY) and the Environmental Studies Program at The New School, will explore themes of urban ecology, energy, planning and art as they relate to and utilize urban nature. Participants will explore the city as a place for encountering nature and culture, as well as consider the significance of local nature in creating enjoyable, livable habitat for urban residents.

Cities are often conceptualized as regions external from nature, yet urban ecosystems including novel and hybrid urban nature provide critical benefits affecting the health and wellbeing of human societies. The symposium considers urban nature from aesthetic, historical, ecological and experiential point of views. It will explore the identity and meaning of urban nature and imagine new interactions that can take place between people and nature in the city? The program will showcase the relevance of site-specific Finnish and American artwork in relationship with urban nature. Presentations on urban nature research, art and design will include a multi- and inter-disciplinary roster of speakers from Finland and USA. 


Mary Miss: Field Rotation, Governors State University, University Park, Illinois, 1981

Speakers include Kirsi Saarikangas, Professor of Art History, the University of Helsinki; Timon McPhearson, Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology and Chair of Environmental Studies Program, The New School; Jari Niemelä, Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, the University of Helsinki; Susanna Lehvävirta, researcher, Department of Environmental Sciences, the University of Helsinki; Gena Wirth, designer, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, NYC; Nicola Twilley, author of the blog Edible Geography and co-founder of the Foodprint Project; Zachary Denfeld, artist and founder, The Center for Genomic Gastronomy and CoClimate; Tuula Närhinen, artist; Hanna Johansson, Adjunct Professor of Art History, the University of Helsinki; Mary Miss, artist; and Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director of Design and Construction Excellence, City of New York’s Department of Design and Construction.

Urban Nature Symposium is presented in association with Archtober, Architecture and Design Month New York City, October 2015

Admission: Free. First come, first serve.

Tuula Närhinen: Soups du Jour from the installation The Art of Cooking down the Baltic Sea (2012-13)


Smog chamber, image courtesy the Center for Genomic Gastronomy, 2015