In April 2015, the University of Minnesota hosted a public symposium entitled Nature 3.x: Where is Nature Now? The goal of this symposium was to initiate a conversation among writers, artists, designers and activists to consider what- and where- is nature in the 21st century.Human society has a long and complex relationship with the concept of nature. Over the past several centuries the prevailing attitude is that nature and culture are essential counterparts, but ultimately separable. This attitude is becoming distant and strange given our increasing awareness of human impact on Earth’s systems. The pressing ecological dilemmas of our Anthropocene epoch signal a paradigm shift in how we think about and design nature in the future. It is time to update to a new version of nature, one that is suited for the realities of the 21st century. In doing so, we must first ask the question “Where is Nature Now?”.
Nature 3.x: Where is Nature Now? was a multi-disciplinary symposium that considers how the complex global environmental issues of the Anthropocene now challenge our relationship with the environment. The symposium invited a broad audience of artists, writers, design professionals and others to speculate upon emerging ideas of nature in the Anthropocene. The work was intentionally broad and included innovative topics such as post-industrial feral landscape ecology, eco-toxic tourism, manufactured urban ecosystems, post-natural disaster resiliency planning, hypernature and technology, and genetically modified environments. The symposium attracted a broad and diverse audience of over 200 participants, including artists, landscape architects, writers, urban planners and other creative thinkers and activists concerned with the future of the urban environment. The Nature 3.x Symposium was co-convened by University of Minnesota Professor Matthew Tucker and Professor Christine Baeumler, with generous support by the University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture, the Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Institute on the Environment. The symposium's opening reception and keynote lecture by Kate Orff was co-hosted with Minneapolis Parks Foundation as the first presentation of the 2015 Next Generation of Parks™ Lecture Series.