Indexing the Human-Nature Relationship in Cities

Main Article Content

Guoping Huang


Since the globalization of the world’s economy, there has been a surge in studies ranking international cities by quantitative indices. This paper examines various city indices and identifies the transition from an economy-centric approach towards a sustainability-oriented approach through the lens of those contributing variables used in different indices.  The paper then introduces a new Biophilic City Index as a way to examine the human-nature relationship, i.e. biophilia, in cities. It is structured at three different levels: from nature service to ecological integrity to human-nature interaction. This index enriches existing city indices and encourages city planners and policy-makers to make cities more biophilic.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
HuangG. (2017). Indexing the Human-Nature Relationship in Cities. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 2(2), 25-35.


Ahern, J. (1995). Greenways as a planning strategy. Landscape and Urban Planning, 33(1), 131–155.

Barnes, T. G., & Adams, L. (1999). A guide to urban habitat conservation planning. Cooperative Extension Service. University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.

Beatley, T. (1999). Green Urbanism: Learning From European Cities (Tuttle edition). Washington, DC: Island Press.

Beatley, T. (2010). Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Brookfield, H. (1984). Population development and environmental relations in planning in Eastern Fiji, and the Eastern Caribbean: MAB methodology and the problems of change through time. Presented at the Ecology in Practice: Establishing a Scientific Basis for Land Management, s.e. Retrieved from

Clark, G. (2011). The Business of Cities. Retrieved from

Cohen, R. B., Dear, M., & Scott, A. J. (1981). The new international division of labor, multinational corporations and urban hierarchy. London: Methuen.

Friedmann, J. (1985). The world city hypothesis. Los Angeles: Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles.

Hamilton, D. K., & Watkins, D. H. (2009). Evidence-Based Design for Multiple Building Types. John Wiley & Sons.

Harris, R. J., & Reed, J. M. (2002). Behavioral barriers to non-migratory movements of birds. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 39(4), 275–290.

Hashimoto, H. (2008). Connectivity Analyses of Avifauna in urban areas. In S.-K. Hong, N. Nakagoshi, B. Fu, & Y. Morimoto (Eds.), Landscape Ecological Applications in Man-Influenced Areas (pp. 479–488). Springer Netherlands.

Ignatieva, M., & Ahrné, K. (2013). Biodiverse green infrastructure for the 21st century: from “green desert” of lawns to biophilic cities. Journal of Architecture and Urbanism, 37(1), 1–9.

Institute for Urban Strategies. (2011). Global Power City Index 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2016, from

Jokimäki, J., Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki, M.-L., Suhonen, J., Clergeau, P., Pautasso, M., & Fernández-Juricic, E. (2011). Merging wildlife community ecology with animal behavioral ecology for a better urban landscape planning. Landscape and Urban Planning, 100(4), 383–385.

Kellert, S. R., Heerwagen, J., & Mador, M. (2008). Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life (1 edition). Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Lehmann, S. (2010). Green Urbanism: Formulating a Series of Holistic Principles. S.A.P.I.EN.S, (3.2). Retrieved from

McGarigal, K., & Marks, B. J. (1995). Spatial pattern analysis program for quantifying landscape structure. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-351. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Mostafavi, M., & Doherty, G. (2010). Ecological urbanism. Lars Müller Publishers Baden.

Neel, M. C., McGarigal, K., & Cushman, S. A. (2004). Behavior of class-level landscape metrics across gradients of class aggregation and area. Landscape Ecology, 19(4), 435–455.

Pickett, S. T. A., Cadenasso, M. L., Grove, J. M., Nilon, C. H., Pouyat, R. V., Zipperer, W. C., & Costanza, R. (2008). Urban Ecological Systems: Linking Terrestrial Ecological, Physical, and Socioeconomic Components of Metropolitan Areas. In J. M. Marzluff, E. Shulenberger, W. Endlicher, M. Alberti, G. Bradley, C. Ryan, … C. ZumBrunnen (Eds.), Urban Ecology (pp. 99–122). Springer US.

Register, R. (1987). Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future. North Atlantic Books.

Sassen, S. (1991). The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton University Press.

Steiner, F. (2011). Landscape ecological urbanism: Origins and trajectories. Landscape and Urban Planning, 100(4), 333–337.

Taylor, Z. (2011). “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”: a critical examination of city ranking studies. Metapolis Consulting. Retrieved from

Wilson, E. O. (1986). Biophilia (Reprint edition). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.