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Urban Wild: Wilderness, Wildness, and the American City

February 16, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Basic Info

February 16, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Website / RSVP:

Who's Hosting This Event?

City of Austin
Who We Are:

Our local government system for the City of Austin.

Urban Wild
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From the City of Austin –

Urban Wild: Wilderness, Wildness, and the American City

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn

One Texas Center | Room 325

Visitor parking is available – surface and garage

Full 2017 Calendar at One Texas Center

A Note From Nature in the City

Seating is first come, first serve. Please fill in all available seats farthest from the entry door first as a courtesy to other attendees. We thank you!

The myth of wilderness is still the dominant narrative of American nature. Once American nature was pure, and then humans arrived and degraded it. The city is the final outcome of the destruction of nature, and so it must be redeemed by incorporating wilderness in the form of “nature preserves” and “wildlands” where pure, native nature is protected from the cosmopolitan “wild” nature invading from the surrounding urban landscape. This lecture will examine the many facets of this American narrative of wilderness, wildness, and the American City.

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The 2017 Lunchtime Lecture series, collectively titled Understanding Urban Nature: Ecology, Culture, and the American City, will explore the complex relationship between the city and nature in America. Our American narrative of nature celebrates wilderness or “pristine nature” and rural or “pastoral nature” in contrast to the degradation of urban landscapes. However, we are now predominately a country of urbanites who have only recreational contact with wilderness or pastoral nature. To compensate for our urban “nature deficit”, we have incorporated “green space” into our cities – preserves, parks, farms, and gardens – to allow for contact with officially sanctioned approximations of wild and pastoral nature in the urban landscape. Ecologists are called on to mediate and to assess whether it is a real ecosystem, and thereby add another chapter to the narrative entitled “urban ecology” in which science measures ecological cycles and ecosystem function in the city. The 2017 Lunchtime Lectures are an attempt to disentangle this complex story of ecology, culture, and the American City and, perhaps, to give us all a better understanding of urban nature and the role it plays in our lives.

Full 2017 Calendar at One Texas Center


Kevin Anderson Ph.D.

Kevin is a geographer and philosopher researching the nature of, and the nature in, urban wastelands. He studied at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania [BA], Durham University, England, Ohio University [MA] where he taught philosophy and symbolic logic. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin with a dissertation entitled: Marginal Nature: Urban Wastelands and the Geography of Nature. His research interests include sewage treatment, soil ecology, and sustainable agriculture, urban ecology and sustainability, riparian ecology, environmental history, philosophy, and literature. He is a co-founder of the Texas Riparian Association and the Upper Tisza Foundation in northeastern Hungary. He runs the Austin Water-Center for Environmental Research which focuses on soil, sewage recycling, and environmental trace contaminants; rivers, riparian ecology, and alluvial aquifers; cities, biodiversity, and avian ecology.

Brought to you by Austin Water Utility, Center for Environmental Research (CER), The University of Texas, Texas A&M University. Nature in the City – Austin is sponsored by the Community Trees Division, and helps to implement the Imagine Austin and Urban Forest Plans.

CER and Hornsby Bend are on Facebook! Visit to see what’s happening today. Want more? Visit the Marginal Nature Blog, and Nature in the City – Austin Blo


One Texas Center
505 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX 78704 United States
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