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What is a green city? While the Emerald City in OZ is colored green, it is not the deeper meaning of today’s green cities. With the world’s population moving into urban areas, governments are becoming more and more aware of the importance of creating healthy environments to create healthy relationships with regions. Defining a healthy city is changing as perceptions and understanding of local, global and international aspects of weather, economy, culture and technology inform each other. Green Cities are cities that connect people to the regions, economies, and cultures of their location.

Activity 1 – Redefining the Emerald City

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L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, wrote the fantasy adventure of a young girl from Kansas (Dorothy) whirled away in a tornado to a mysterious land of good and bad witches. To arrive back home, Dorothy was encouraged to travel to the Emerald City to see the Great OZ, who was the only one who could help her. With her dog, Toto, Dorothy set off on her adventure only to meet three amazing characters- the Tin Man without a heart, The Cowardly Lion without bravery and the Scarecrow without a brain. Throughout her adventure, she was besieged and befriended by witches. The witches to the North and South were good witches; the witches to the east and west were bad witches. Much has been made of Baum’s Wizard of Oz as political symbols interrelating to the times. Factories (Emerald City), farmers(Scarecrow), underpaid workers(Tin Man), money (Dorothy’s silver shoes) and nature (Lion) collide on a path to riches (the yellow brick road). The good (north and south witches) serve as guides, and the bad witches (east and west) challenge and provocate. While Baum in the end revealed that the story was just a children’s fantasy, the symbols and allegories continue to have a life of their own. That said, what fantasy adventure would tell the tale of today’s Green City? What is a Green City today? Who would the characters in the story represent? How would a city of the future be different than the cities of today?

Activity 2 – Agrarian Cities

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Nomads who traveled across land foraging for water and food began to gather in settlements with the advent of farming. With farming came a more stable food supply than hunting drawing more people. We call the early cities agrarian cities supplying populations with food from local farms. Watch World Populations and see how people moved into certain areas and then departed due to deprivation of water, food or onset of disease. Look at the US & World Population Clock. Watch the revised version of World Population and learn about issues facing humans and the environment. Take a look at Khan Academies History of Agrarian Civilizations to learn how production of food led to higher levels of organizations in populations. Make a diagram of an agrarian city and how it survives.

Activity 3 – Petropolis Cities

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Activity 4 – Circular Metabolism

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Activity 5 – Water, Food, Energy NEXUS

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Activity 6 – Eco Cities

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