Friday, April 5, 2013

Why Urban Ecology?

The ecology of urban areas has been neglected. Why? Far from being a peripheral discipline it is emerging as central one.  Why?  In fact, all ecology may, in a sense, be urban ecology.  Why? In addition to answering basic questions about nature from a natural science perspective, urban ecology must integrate the insights and methodologies of the social sciences? Why? In addition to integrating the natural and social sciences, urban ecology is a form of humanism.  Why? This grand synthesis is difficult to achieve.  Why? Urban ecology in its broadest sense provides a foundation for sustainability thinking and practice.  Why? A missing element in sustainability studies, that urban ecology addresses, is the (philosophical?) question of existential homelessness and placelessness.  Why? The contemporary human is invariably homeless and placeless (in an existential sense). Why? Participation with nature “in” the city can potentially address this rootlessness.  Why? Urban Ecology’s fundamental distinction between studies “of” the city and “in” the cities is both important and fateful.  Why?  Natural History is the foundation for studies matching the “in” the city criteria, systems ecology is the foundation for “of” the city practice.  Why?  If you attempt to learn all of Urban Ecology in 10 weeks you will fail. I wonder why?!

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