Urban ecosystems include cities, towns and urban areas built by humans. They include the population, infrastructure and the surrounding semi-urban or ‘peri-urban’ environments that surround cities as well as agricultural and natural landscapes.
By considering urban areas as part of a broader social-ecological system, tourism earth scientists can investigate how urban landscapes function and how they affect other landscapes with which they interact. In this context, urban environments are affected by their surrounding environment, but they also change and affect that environment. By understanding these interactions and influences, more sustainable development options can be formulated to improve the development of these urban ecosystems.