Scholars working at the interface between ecology and the social sciences have started to articulate the opportunities and challenges for ecology to fully and productively integrate the complexity and global scale of human activity into ecological research (Liu et al. 2007). The future of Earth's ecosystems is increasingly influenced by human action, particularly the pace and pattern of urbanization. An ecology that does not include humans in its theories and experiments will rapidly evolve into paleoecology. Meanwhile, urban scholars will need to expand their approach to fully appreciate that the ecology of a region and its biophysical processes shape the human habitat and the city just as much as do human action and perceptions. They have yet to write the “natural history of urbanization” that Mumford (1956) called for half a century ago, and for the same reason: “only a small part of the preliminary work has been done” (387). It is critical that we understand how human and ecological systems have coevolved over time to generate the present urban world, if we are to anticipate how environmental change will shape the cities of the future.
KeywordsEcological System Emergent Property Urban Landscape Real Estate Market Urban Ecosystem
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