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.