About City as Nature

A creative ecology studio founded in 2011 by artist/filmmaker Patrick M. Lydon (United States) and writer/herbalist Suhee Kang (South Korea), City as Nature works across disciplines and cultures to re-connect people and the places we live with nature.

What We Do

With studios in Osaka, Japan and Daejeon, Korea, we have worked with groups and individuals in more than forty countries, producing award-winning art, media, and placemaking projects that inspire innovative ecological viewpoints.

image: City as Nature mandala workshop at MUJI Kitahanada, Japan.

FILM & STORY

We write, film, and produce creative nonfiction in the form of media-rich articles, essays, and films. Our media work illuminates the untold stories in cities and towns around the world, of people, nature, and place.
[ visit media lab ]

EXHIBITIONS & PROJECTS

We conceptualize and produce transdisciplinary art exhibitions, public installations, workshops, and community building projects. Our work is artist-led, and considers local ecology and culture, as well as global knowledge and networks.
[ visit art lab ]

Our Goals

Every project we engage in seeks to help human beings re-connect, to be inspired, and to grow.

image: City as Nature herb foraging workshop in Osaka, Japan.

RE-CONNECT

Building relationships between urban dwellers, nature, and the cities, towns, and neighborhoods we live in

INSPIRE

Planting seeds of change within individuals and communities, inspiring actions for positive change

GROW

Cultivating awareness, empathy, and acceptance of the environment, and the importance of all diverse life forms.

Our History

An artist and publisher from Silicon Valley and Seoul,
working together to uncover the roots of ecological wellness.

image: City as Nature concept for The Alameda, San Jose (illustration by Chiaki Koyama).

In Summer 2011 a small collective of writers and artists came together inside an abandoned fruit-canning factory in the middle of Silicon Valley. Originally known as SocieCity, this group soon included others in East Asia and Europe, who were exploring solutions for the social and ecological issues they saw around them.

From these first meetings, SocieCity moved on to interview local political leaders and activists, meet with farmers, urban planners, academics, and work to disseminate solutions using art, design, and community actions. In the years following, the group’s founders Lydon and Kang produced the acclaimed documentary film Final Straw: Food, Earth, Happiness; the film has since been translated into seven languages, screened at hundreds of venues around the world, and is part of the award-winning Global Environmental Justice Collection. As of 2017, our articles, essays, and books have been read by over 1 million people, and we’ve produced over 200 events worldwide.

In 2018 we opened our first physical space called The Branch in Osaka, Japan, hosting workshops, artists-in-residence, and building an urban pocket farm where locals and visitors from abroad can explore the nature of sustainability together.

In 2019 we re-launched SocieCity as City as Nature. Here, it is interesting to pick apart the name. The word we know as city is derived from Latin ‘civis’ (meaning to settle, home, love). The word nature, likewise, is from Latin ‘natura’ (birth, character, the course of things), but also in Chinese and Korean, nature / 自然 / 자연 (can mean self-thus, naturally, as-it-is). The name City as Nature then, suggests cities and their inhabitants settling into the ecosystem, where cities and people are part of nature and likewise, nature is part of them. The name points to a rooted way of realizing social and ecological justice, both within cities, and throughout a global network of interconnected and interdependent living ecosystems.

Contact Us

We welcome inquiries about speaking engagements, exhibitions, environmental art installations, workshops, or other ideas to the addresses below.

image: Patrick and Suhee speak at the EDUFarm conference in Seoul, Korea

Patrick M. Lydon (Arts & Exhibitions)
patrick [at] cityasnature.org

Suhee Kang (Editorial)
suhee [at] cityasnature.org

The Studio

Our studio in Osaka [THE BRANCH] is currently CLOSED due to local COVID-19 protocols

For the latest, please contact us, or check our instagram or facebook page for the most up to date hours @branchosaka

2-8-20 Kitakagaya, Suminoe-ku, Osaka 〒559-0011 Japan
Google Map

Easily accessible by public transportation, we are a 3 minute walk from Kitakagaya Station (Osaka Metro Yotsubashi Line).