Human vs. nature duality in metropolitan planning

Emily Talen, Jason Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Finding an appropriate framework for the integration of humans and "nature" is a subject that has engaged scholars in various disciplines for centuries. Most often, human environments like cities are viewed in striking contrast to the natural world, and this duality has implications for metropolitan planning practice. This paper summarizes the issue of human vs. nature duality as it relates to planning at the urban or metropolitan scale. We find that the problem of human vs. nature duality is embedded and addressed in different realms, each of which is likely to have some impact on the planning profession: environmentalism, ecology, and regionalism and sustainability. We illustrate our argument by reviewing the case of a failed development plan in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. We conclude by offering strategies for the integration of humans and nature in the context of planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-706
Number of pages23
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 16 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecology
  • Environmentalism
  • Human-nature duality
  • Metropolitan planning
  • Regionalism
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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