Restoring Nature to the Urban Landscape

Restoring Nature to the Urban Landscape

In an increasingly urbanized world, finding innovative ways to protect or create wildlife habitat will be critical to both environmental and human health. There are many ways to think creatively about how to increase the ecological value of even small green spaces in urban areas – from changing maintenance practices in meadows to foster biodiversity, to implementing horticulture strategies in the planning and management of designed landscapes so they provide habitat and have a positive environmental impact.

The city started a pilot project in 2021 that brought different wildland meadows to the city, increasing pollinator count and moisture content in the soil, and cooling temperatures. The Park Board is also working on a “colonial audit” to examine how current practices that value turf as the primary aesthetic are rooted in colonial practices, and explore how they can value multiple aesthetics and practices in green space design. Jack Tupper, Landscape Architect with Vancouver Park Board, will talk about his work on the urban meadows project, including successes and challenges, the importance of working with maintenance crews, and how they’ve engaged and educated the public.

San Francisco
The Presidio, a national park site and former army base up until 1994, has more than doubled its acreage of native habitat and dramatically improved the ecological health of the historic Presidio. Michael Boland, Chief Park Officer of the Presidio Trust, will discuss the strategies they’ve used to accomplish these goals, including creating a community-driven stewardship program, restoring derelict areas, and reimagining the designed landscape to have a positive impact on adjacent ecosystems.

Join us to learn strategies for thinking more holistically about green spaces as ecological units that can be home to diverse landscapes that benefit both people and the environment.


  • AICP
  • LA CES


Michael Boland, FASLA
Chief Park Officer, Presidio Trust

Since 2001, Michael Boland has played a key role in transforming the historic Presidio army base into a world-class national park site.  As Chief Park Officer, he leads an interdisciplinary team that has restored the Presidio’s natural and cultural landscapes, established national park experiences for urban residents, and reinvented the post as a unique financially self-sufficient national park for all.

Jack Tupper, BCSLA
Landscape Architect, Park Development
Vancouver Park Board

Jack has lived in Vancouver for the last ten years and worked as a landscape architect in both the private and public sectors, and currently works for Vancouver Park Board. With a portfolio of work across North America, the UK and Switzerland, Jack’s work focuses on the inclusion of sustainable solutions within our urban environments.

Lindsay McLean, ABT, CAN-CISEC
Environmental Monitor
Musqueam Environmental Stewardship Department
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm | Musqueam Indian Band


Rebecca McMackin
Director of Horticulture, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Rebecca McMackin is an ecologically obsessed horticulturist and garden designer. By day, she is the Director of Horticulture at Brooklyn Bridge Park, where she manages 85 acres of diverse parkland organically and with an eye towards habitat creation for birds, butterflies, and soil microorganisms. She has been published by and featured in the New York Times, the Landscape Institute and on NPR.

Jul 21, 2022
3:00 -4:00 pm ET


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