Chapter 3: Envisioning the symbiotic city in 2050: two visions of Washington DC and the Netherlands

Marian Stuiver, Sabine O’hara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter presents two visions of two different urban areas as symbiotic cities in 2050. Both visions seek to capture the full potential of a symbiotic city that effectively integrates the value of nature into the urban scape and its social, built, and geographic characteristics. We based our visions on a methodology committed to community engagement, thoughtfulness about the process, and the inclusion of multiple small initiatives that constitute the structuring elements of the visions. The first is a vision for a City Region Food System in Washington DC in 2050. The vision focuses on food as the connecting link for a nature-based and socially inclusive urban economy embedded in the larger Washington DC metropolitan region. The eight wards of Washington DC in 2050 value natural resources, social and cultural diversity, and a shared commitment to nature-based innovation. We argue that small, hyperlocal, neighbourhood-based initiatives can become crucial game changers and catalysts of change for entire neighbourhoods, cities, and regions. The second is a vision for a region in the middle of the Netherlands in 2050. The area consists of eight neighbourhoods that all constitute different storylines of nature-based thinking and give space to different values that people attach to natural resources, including water, soils and biodiversity. Both the visions of Washington DC and the Netherlands paint a picture of what is possible in 2050. Further specification is needed to advance the visions toward their implementation. In addition, the visions raise the question of how different actors in the urban innovation ecosystem are crucial for the development of the symbiotic city. This question will be addressed in further detail in the following chapters of this book.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe symbiotic city
Subtitle of host publicationVoices of nature in urban transformations
EditorsMarian Stuiver
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789086869350
ISBN (Print)9789086863839
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2022


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