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Sierra's September/October 2006 Let's Talk selection:
Edens Lost & Found
A multimedia project
Review by Jennifer Hattam

Edens Lost & Found: A multimedia projectWhat it's about
The ordinary Americans profiled in this PBS series, book, and Web site aren't just improving their own neighborhoods by building parks, cleaning up rivers, and installing public art. With urban populations soaring, their work to enhance the quality of life in cities has global implications. Inspiring examples from Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Seattle show how people can rediscover the natural attributes that made their cities desirable to settle in the first place.

Where to get it
The book, Edens Lost & Found: How Ordinary Citizens Are Restoring Our Great American Cities, is widely available at libraries and bookstores.

Episodes one and two of the four-hour PBS series ("Chicago: City of the Big Shoulders" and "Philadelphia: The Holy Experiment") premiered in May. Episodes three and four ("Los Angeles: Dream a Different City" and "Seattle: The Future Is Now") will air in this fall. You can also order DVDs of the episodes once they air.

Action guides, educational and outreach materials, and other multimedia components are available at edenslostandfound.org.

About the authors and filmmakers
Harry Wiland and Dale Bell previously collaborated on And Thou Shalt Honor, an award-winning PBS documentary on caregiving. Their book coauthor, Joseph D'Agnese, is a regular contributor to Discover magazine and also cowrote The Newman's Own Organics Guide to a Good Life.

Discussion questions

  1. Do you live in a city, suburb, or rural area? If you live in an urban area, what do you enjoy about it? What do you wish you could change? If you don't, what would it take for you to give city life a try?
  2. What do you see a need for in your own community? What small steps could you take to start addressing the problem?
  3. What underutilized spaces or resources does your community have? How could you start putting them to better use?
  4. How many of your neighbors do you know? What could you do to start bringing your community closer together?

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