Civic Ecology

From Urban and Industrial Environments

Civic Ecology

Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up

By Marianne E. Krasny and Keith G. Tidball

Stories of environmental stewardship in communities from New Orleans to Soweto accompany an interdisciplinary framework for understanding civic ecology as a global phenomenon.





Stories of environmental stewardship in communities from New Orleans to Soweto accompany an interdisciplinary framework for understanding civic ecology as a global phenomenon.

In communities across the country and around the world, people are coming together to rebuild and restore local environments that have been affected by crisis or disaster. In New Orleans after Katrina, in New York after Sandy, in Soweto after apartheid, and in any number of postindustrial, depopulated cities, people work together to restore nature, renew communities, and heal themselves. In Civic Ecology, Marianne Krasny and Keith Tidball offer stories of this emerging grassroots environmental stewardship, along with an interdisciplinary framework for understanding and studying it as a growing international phenomenon.

Krasny and Tidball draw on research in social capital and collective efficacy, ecosystem services, social learning, governance, social-ecological systems, and other findings in the social and ecological sciences to investigate how people, practices, and communities interact. Along the way, they chronicle local environmental stewards who have undertaken such tasks as beautifying blocks in the Bronx, clearing trash from the Iranian countryside, and working with traumatized veterans to conserve nature and recreate community. Krasny and Tidball argue that humans' innate love of nature and attachment to place compels them to restore nature and places that are threatened, destroyed, or lost. At the same time, they report, nature and community exert a healing and restorative power on their stewards.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262028653 328 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 34 figures


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262527170 328 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 34 figures


  • As someone who teaches urban ecology, I think this is a most refreshing addition to the otherwise predictable, traditional academic texts in this field. The combination of diverse case studies with normative directives provides excellent material for postgraduate teaching, where students can be both exposed to a diversity of experiences and provoked to consider their own civic duty, and—more broadly—what constitutes civic duty. I thoroughly look forward to introducing the book to my class this year and imagine I will draw on it for teaching and personal inspiration for years to come.

    Pippin Anderson

    The Nature of Cities

  • Civic Ecology is a thoroughly hopeful portrait of the ways that people recover from many kinds of disaster, whether from the sudden devastation of a hurricane to the slow unraveling of economic disinvestment and social fragmentation.... [T]he book offers an inviting introduction to civic ecology for students, an on the ground look at the power of civic ecology practices of policy makers, and a source of inspiration for practitioners and researchers.

    Matthew DelSesto

    Agriculture and Human Values


  • Krasny and Tidball's Civic Ecology reaches into the hearts and hands of hopeful people across the globe transforming communities at the intersection of place and ecosystem, broken and restored, and provides stories of stewardship that can anchor us cognitively and emotionally for the adaptive work of collaborative governance in an era of disruptive change. A beautiful bricolage and more!

    Carmen Sirianni

    Hillquit Professor of Labor and Social Thought, Brandeis University; author of Investing in Democracy and Civic Innovation in America

  • In the face of climate change, war, postindustrial disinvestment, and other vexing social, ecological, and political challenges, Civic Ecology manages to take an optimistic view by focusing on the important, but sometimes overlooked, work of environmental stewards. Putting forth ten key principles that organize the book, interspersed with inspiring accounts of stewardship in action, the authors use clear language to tell the stories and explore the impact of civic ecology practices. This book helps energize the reader interested in tackling big problems through simple, yet vital, acts like planting trees or tending gardens.

    Lindsay K. Campbell

    PhD, Research Social Scientist, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station

  • Civic Ecology is an inspirational account of the ecological and civic renewal of broken places, such as areas of urban decline. It describes how local people can, through stewardship based on sound social-ecological principles, re-create sustainable communities and environments where people and nature thrive.

    F. Stuart Chapin III

    Professor Emeritus of Ecology, University of Alaska Fairbanks