urban nature

Thuja plicata - Western redcedar

Kathy's favorite tree is one that is sacred to the Pacific Northwest and throughout it's Coast - Cascade Range. One can find it from southeastern Alaska to northwestern California and also Rocky Mountain segment from British Columbia and Alberta to Idaho and Montana. It is not a true cedar and is well known for is long lifespan of over 1,000 years.

Urban Nature with Dr. Kathy Wolf

On this installment of the podcast, human responses to and our experiences in urban nature with my guest Dr. Kathy Wolf. She is a social scientist and professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Kathy investigates people's perceptions and behaviors with nearby nature and explores the human dimensions of urban ecosystems. She is involved with ongoing research at US Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station. She also has a former working background as a landscape architect and environmental planner.

Kathy has published studies regarding nature and consumer environments, economic valuation of urban nature, how street trees affect traffic and community safety, ecosystem stewardship mapping, and of course the human health benefits we derive from our environment. She is a forerunner in this type of work. If you are someone who works in urban restoration or if you are just urban dweller, you are bound to hear more than a few nuggets of wisdom that will stick with you from our conversation as we chat about:

  1. Kathy’s background and focus on interdisciplinary studies of nature’s human health benefits

  2. she also provides some insights on the cross-cultural importance of greenspaces

  3. we touch on the loss and grief associated with environmental change and potential extinctions

  4. Kathy talks about public perceptions regarding crime and public safety in public landscapes,

  5. we also consider the benefits associated with and potential pitfalls of urban greening work, and additonally

  6. lots of tree talk!


And thank you for listening to the show. One can delve into Kathy’s research and presentations by visiting naturewithin.info. This website is a warehouse of information regarding Human Dimensions of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. Go there and you can take a deep dive into everything green cities, ideas about public engagement, healing and mental health and much much more.