Paradoxical Nature In Cities
Literature supports an inherent human connection with nature. This relationship has numerous documented health benefits to humans. For generations, land planning professionals have been responsible for the creation of cities. Despite the known benefits of the human-nature connection, incorporating naturally-occurring ecosystems into urban fabric is not common. Although there is legislation at various levels of government to protect the natural environment, naturally-occurring ecosystems are still lost at alarming rates. Using analyses of urban development projects in three western Canadian municipalities, this research explores the dynamic tension between three interrelated processes - the human-nature relationship, design processes conducted by land planning professionals, and the overarching institutional framework.There are several paradoxes that have arisen through this research, with human preference for nature not being reflected in land planning. Land planning professionals have been entrusted by the public to create vibrant cities, yet opportunities to promote a human-nature connection are lost. This research helps to understand the challenges in providing for a strong human-nature connection in urban environments and makes recommendations to encourage the inclusion of naturally-occurring environments in our cities.Research findings suggested three prominent variables that inhibit a strong human-nature connection in western Canadian municipalities, including a lack of place attachment, absence of local knowledge in planning processes, and the lack of public education and consultation in land planning processes.