Hello! My name is Jennifer Lenhart and I am a programme manager at Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Sweden, addressing WWF’s global efforts to support sustainable urban development, namely via its Earth Hour City Challenge.
Having recently moved to Stockholm, I’m keen to explore the city the best way I know how: testing out its cycling infrastructure and public transport. I’m well versed on the benefits of the bicycle lifestyle, having spent the last 5 years in Amsterdam as a PhD researcher examining cities’ climate change strategies. My PhD (completed July 2015) concentrated on urban climate policy and planning; however I am equally interested in how policies roll out, influencing a city’s businesses or residents. As an urban citizen, my choices to live a sustainable lifestyle are determined in part by my own actions, and in part by what is available. Amsterdam inspired my blog and remains my blogging muse, offering the opportunity to explore and observe all of the inspiring (often hilarious) things one can encounter cycling the city.
Before Stockholm and Amsterdam, I have lived, studied or worked in countless U.S. cities (e.g. Seattle, Honolulu and Boston); in Swedish cities (e.g. Uppsala, Malmö and Lund), as well as Budapest, Hungary; Khon Kaen, Thailand; Les Cayes, Haiti; and Nairobi, Kenya – in context to studies or work pertaining to international development, environmental policy and urban governance. These cities vary greatly, in terms of climate, culture and socioeconomic situation, but there are common lessons to learn. Urban living can constitute a lower impact on the surrounding natural environment, if sprawl is impeded by compact and mixed-use design. With the right policies and infrastructure, as well as the right dose of creativity and empowerment, cities can manifest high quality (and sustainable) urban living: green spaces, thriving and mixed economic activities, entertainment or a random encounter.
This blog is dedicated to the cities I have lived, visited or derive inspiration from – notably a city’s quest for sustainability and quality of life. At times this requires active research or exploration, to dig deep and understand how or why a particular strategy is effective. Other times simple and unexpected observations (with a camera close at hand) are enough to capture something unexpected. I will focus on the latter: to discover how ‘the city’ lives, breathes and addresses the nuances of urban life. My hope in doing so is to start a collection of good ideas or funny encounters that may be helpful or humorous to other urban actors, highlighting ways we can learn from each other.
As a disclaimer: all photos in this blog are taken by the author, unless otherwise specified. I am happy to share them, but please send me an email first or cite them accordingly. 🙂
- Featured on The Guardian’s “The best city blogs around the world – an interactive guide” and permanently hosted on the new Guardian Cities website.
- Featured on Sustainable Seattle’s website & blog: “Sustainable Cities Around the World: The Urban Observer“