Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities

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9781933392264: Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities

With Edens Lost & Found, award-winning filmmakers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell herald an exciting sea change in the relationship between ordinary citizens, environmental groups, and government. From across America they gather evidence of a new spirit of cooperation among neighbors, planners, architects and builders, city officials, and government agencies. Indeed, as urban issues have become undeniably urgent problems that demand answers, people from disparate backgrounds and political leanings are joining forces to recast life in American cities. As citizens take action where government has failed, they are finding support, encouragement, and help from their neighbors. Conversely, as progressive-minded government agencies and organizations explore nontraditional solutions, an energized community rallies to the cause. Neither exclusively top-down, nor grass roots, we are in the midst of an unprecedented movement that unites efforts from every quarter in a common cause. Focusing on Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Seattle-four cities that face vastly different challenges-Edens Lost & Found highlights the remarkable power of hope, pride, ingenuity, and chutzpah that characterize this era of collaboration. Bioengineering concepts-now increasingly understood by many to offer the most effective, cost-efficient solutions-are playing a central role. Working with-rather than in opposition to-nature is leading to such innovations as rooftop and urban gardens, restored parks, transformed vacant lots, the re-greening of city streets, and eco-friendly watershed management. Edens Lost & Found shows how working to reshape the land also transforms the relationships people have to one another.

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About the Author:

Individual productions by filmmakers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell have received an Academy Award, five Emmys, one Peabody, two Christophers, and two Cine Golden Eagles, among other awards. Their collaborative award-winning project on caregiving, 'And Thou Shalt Honor,' was broadcast by PBS in 2002 to wide acclaim. They are both Ashoka Fellows. Joseph D'Agnese is the co-author of The Newman's Own Organics Guide to a Good Life. A regular contributor to Discover, his work has been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing, and he has written for the New York Times,Wired, and Saveur, among other publications.

Review:

Greater Philadelphia House & Home
September 2006

Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens are Restoring Our Great American Cities is the companion book to the PBS television series that premiered in May, featuring Philadelphia and Chicago. The show's second installment, scheduled to air in October, will cover Los Angeles and Seattle.
The book's Philadelphia section, titled 'The Holy Experiment,' declares Philadelphia as one of the great American cities that faces a range of demographic, economic and environmental challenges. The book shares the stories of average citizens, progressive government agencies and local organizations that refuse to accept defeat and choose to take action in their communities.
Edens Lost & Found reveals how to become part of a collaborative movement of unification and renewal. It emphasizes the importance of relationships within communities in sustaining a city's ecosystem. The book celebrates the success stories of neighborhoods that have reshaped their land, lending further inspiration to communities who have visions of enlivening and transforming their urban landscapes.
For ordinary citizens who look for motivation from everyday heroes, Edens Lost & Found tells the tales of four cities whose average Joe's-turned activists have led the new wave of urban revitalization. Learn about innovative greening techniques you can implement in your community that will not only beautify your landscape but also strengthen your neighborhood relations. The book also includes a listing of Philadelphia area resources.

Variety TV
Posted: Tue., Jan. 9, 2007, 4:10pm

Do-gooders unite in the Los Angeles version of PBS' four-part traveling series Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities. Whether it's cleaning up a park in a gang-infested area or planting trees to help the ecological system, regular folk prove they can make a difference. But by the end of the hour, it feels like a bit of overkill.
Narrated by Jimmy Smits, one-hour special examines different scenarios in which locals find that getting off the couch and actively participating in the ecological welfare of L.A. gives them a feeling of accomplishment -- as well as making the city a more hospitable and healthy place to live.
First seg focuses on Andy Lipkis, the president of Tree People and a believer in the power of the pine (and the fern and the palm). Planting trees since the mid-1970s, Lipkis and his team have helped reduce smog levels; a clip of him presenting a small tree to Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show" establishes that he has never been in this for the short run.
Following seg profiles Darrell Clarke, a public transportation advocate who hopes Angelenos will one day commute by paddling down the L.A. River. It doesn't wash. "Jetsons"-like personalized spacecraft probably has a better chance of coming to fruition than L.A. boating.
Enlightening piece on Ed Begley Jr. covers the actor's longstanding commitment to everything green from his well-known electric car to the solar panels on his modest house. His decades-long resoluteness in a town where marriages often last less than a single TV season should be applauded. --Greater Philadelphia House & Home

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