Skip to main content

Nature in the City

Contact Information

Project Information


City of Fort Collins Image According to the 2010 U.S. Census, almost 80% of people living in the United States live in an urban setting. That means now, more than ever, people are experiencing nature in an urban environment.

As our community transitions from a suburban to urban city and densities increase, informal natural areas and features within the urban core are threatened unless we take action to ensure these areas are either preserved or created.

This effort will develop a Nature in the City Strategic Plan to ensure that every citizen has access to nature. The Strategic Plan will include design guidelines, policies, and actions designed to achieve this goal. An interdisciplinary team has been formed between the City and Colorado State University to address three main objectives:

  • Ensure every resident is within a 10-minute walk to nature from their home or workplace,
  • Have natural spaces that provide diverse social and ecological opportunities, and
  • Continue to shift the landscape aesthetic from lawns to more diverse landscapes that support healthy environments for all species.

What is Nature?

For the purposes of this project, we define Nature in the City as the following:

"Places that support plants, animals, and natural processes and contribute to a variety of experiences for human enjoyment and well-being."

Nature is all around us – it’s the air we breathe, the land that surrounds us, and the species that inhabit the land.

With respect to this project, we are seeking to provide a wide range of places and experiences so all residents have meaningful and enriching interactions with nature. Places may include parks, Natural Areas, or informal spaces, such as the open space in your neighborhood or where you work, or the community garden where you grow vegetables. By experiences, we’ve heard people value having nature nearby, as well as the opportunities for personal or family recreation, and the opportunity to escape from the urban environment. While not every site will provide every experience, Nature in the City will ensure that residents have access to a variety of natural experiences close to where they live and work.

Case Studies

Learn how other communities are approaching nature in their cities.


City of Fort Collins Natural Areas
City of Fort Collins Parks
City of Fort Collins Stormwater
Colorado State University Conservation Development Global Challenges Research Team
CSU Landscape Architecture Program