Cities Stories

North America Cities Network

Gloved hands of teenagers come together in a circle to set bricks in an urban park.
Birmingham hands Birmingham high school students are working with The Nature Conservancy and partners to transform vacant lots into natural space and find empowerment in the process. It's an example of partnerships and communities helping cities thrive. © The Nature Conservancy (Devan King)
A jogger runs past a tree with the Charles River in the background.
Using Natural Solutions for Climate Change
The Louisville skyline from the river.
Green Heart Project
Youths place bricks at a new urban park.
Urban Conservation
A young woman holds her arms out, with the Atlanta skyline behind her.
Urban Conservation
Three youths plant trees in Bridgeport.
Transforming Bridgeport
Three smiling youths in coats at a tree-planting event in Chicago.
Stewardship in Chicago
Urban Conservation
Aerial view or Orlando Metro area with green space in the foreground, a canal and apartment buildings in the mid-distance, and forests and some buildings beyond that.
Urban Conservation in Orlando
People enjoy picnics on a sunny day in New York City's Central Park.
New York City
Urban Conservation
Volunteers hold a banner at a tree-planting event in Philadelphia.
Urban Conservation
A river flows below arching trees near downtown Phoenix.
Urban Conservation
Artist's rendition of planned South Wilmington Wetland Park.
Using natural solutions so people and nature can thrive together.
Paddleboarders paddle along a river near downtown St. Louis.
St. Louis
Urban Conservation
Urban Conservation
Urban Conservation
The Austin skyline from a river.
Urban Conservation
Volunteers in blue shirts plant native plants at an Albuquerque arroyo.
Urban Conservation
Urban Conservation
A close view of a mountain lion with the lights of Los Angeles behind it.
Los Angeles
Urban Conservation
Urban Conservation
Brightly colored wildflowers from a Seattle park.
Protecting Puget Sound
The Providence skyline from a dock.
Urban Conservation
U.S. Capitol from distance, framed by trees and green vegetation.
Washington, D.C.
Using the power of nature to make cities more resilient and livable places.
Urban Conservation
Working with partners in Elmora neighborhood of Elizabeth.

The Cities Network is designed to foster innovation and learning through structured communication, capacity building and best practices that can be universally shared. The network is codifying the Conservancy’s unifying conservation framework to reflect work in urban communities and incorporating social metrics developed in partnership with the Center for Whole Communities.

Cities are home to more than 62% of the U.S. population and cover 3.5% of the country’s land area. To fulfill our mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends, The Nature Conservancy must address the conservation needs of urban areas.

Nature-based solutions have the potential to provide multiple benefits to urban communities. The biggest opportunity lies in improving the quality of life of people in cities while also improving ecosystem function.

Although working in cities has not traditionally been our focus, we have a long history of successfully expanding our mission over time. Because of our established presence throughout North America, and our conservation, technical and tactical expertise, we have the potential to be an effective driver of change in the field of urban conservation.

Our Cities Network, a group of urban conservation staff working in 21 cities across the U.S., is committed to supporting the voice and vision of local communities to co-develop innovative conservation solutions. And by prioritizing collaboration with low-income communities, we can learn where conservation can have the most impact for people and nature.

In partnership with Center for Whole Communities – an organization with expertise in capacity building and inclusive processes – we’ve produced a Field Guide to Conservation in Cities in North America to provide guidance to conservation leaders in launching new or expanding existing urban conservation programs and partnerships.

By taking the time to understand the needs and challenges of people and nature, the Cities Network’s collaborative approach seeks to equitably improve the well-being of city residents and the urban environments in which they live.

SUSTAINABLE CITIES The Nature Conservancy is working around the world to demonstrate what nature can do for cities—and what cities can do for nature.