In July 2019, the UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) published Restoring Kinship with Nature through Japanese Gardens – The Challenge to Achieve a Sustainable Commons in Kanazawa, the fifth book in its Biocultural Diversity Series. The book illustrates a widely applicable model for sustainable urban nature in twenty-first century society. With more than 40 contributors, it presents the unique role of Japanese gardens in Kanazawa City in relation with society, and draws lessons that can be applied in other contexts. The book explains the need for a plan to be jointly developed by stakeholders in order to to conserve urban nature.
The first chapter, Policy for Sustainable Conservation of Urban Nature, introduces the public sector’s stewardship and strategy for preserving Kanazawa’s Japanese gardens and urban ecosystem services. The second chapter, Stories on People and Gardens, features the voices of those engaged in preserving the biocultural diversity of their belongings; owners describe their struggles, hopes, and challenges for ensuring their gardens can be passed on to the next generation. In the third chapter, The Multiple Teachings of Japanese Gardens, experts highlight the wisdom of this tradition in three spheres, socioeconomic, design, and environmental, and outline several ways to utilise urban nature for tackling current environmental challenges. The fourth chapter, Co-Creating New Ways to Engage with Nature, details diverse activities such as joint management through volunteer garden cleaning and ecotourism, in Kanazawa and beyond.
“Let’s Be the Gardeners of Our Cities”, states corresponding author Juan Pastor-Ivars (Research Associate, UNU-IAS OUIK), as a motto for sustainable conservation of urban nature in the context of urban shrinkage, as well for restoring human kinship with nature.