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Urban EcologyPatterns, Processes, and Applications$
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Jari Niemelä, Jürgen H. Breuste, Thomas Elmqvist, Glenn Guntenspergen, Philip James, and Nancy E. McIntyre

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563562.001.0001

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Urban Ecology—The Bigger Picture

Urban Ecology—The Bigger Picture

Chapter:
(p.246) Chapter 5.1 Urban Ecology—The Bigger Picture
Source:
Urban Ecology
Author(s):

Ian Douglas

Joe Ravetz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563562.003.0031

This chapter sets out a systems approach to the ‘human dimensions’ of urban ecology. Firstly, the chapter looks at four perspectives on urban ecology: as habitats in the city: as flows through the physical city: as human-nature interactions around the city: and as ecological patterns in the society and economy of the city. Underlying each of these are the changing roles of cities, from their former trading or industrial base, to an advanced service-based economy, and then some kind of post-industrial system: each with particular functions and forms for gardens, parks, forests, and other urban greenspace. For a wider view, the chapter looks at the global level and the contrast between wealth and poverty between nations and between cities. This raises some critical perspectives on globalization, liberalization, and the role of urban ecology in ‘urban political ecology’ and the structures of power and ideology. In response there is an emerging agenda on the ‘ecosystem services’ provided by urban habitats and ecological resources, defined by the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment as ‘provisioning, socio-cultural, regulating, and supporting’ functions. New thinking coming from ecological economics or behavioural psychology, points to new possibilities in policy and investment models, which can protect or enhance these services. Such models are then the basis for the practical issues of landscape design, planning guidance, funding models, and management of green (and blue) infrastructure, in complex urban systems and communities.

Keywords:   systems approach, urban political ecology, ecosystem services, green infrastructure, planning guidence

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