Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Urban Ecology

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_325

Definition of the Subject

Within the science of ecology, urban ecology is defined as the study of structure, dynamics, and processes in urban ecological systems. Urban ecology is the study of the relationships of human and nonhuman organisms in urban areas, the interactions of these organisms with the native and built physical environment, and the effects of these relationships on the fluxes of energy, materials, and information within individual urban systems and between urban and nonurban systems. Urban ecology applies the methods and concepts of the biological science of ecology to urban areas, but requires and integrates with the concerns, concepts, and approaches of social sciences to produce a hybrid discipline. Urban ecological systems include individual organisms, populations, communities, and landscapes, as well as buildings and infrastructure. Urban ecology further recognizes specific urban ecosystems as a part of the global biogeochemical, economic, and human demographic...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

Primary Literature

  1. 1.
    Collins JP et al (2000) New urban ecology. Am Sci 88:416–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Elvidge CD et al (2004) US constructed area approaches the size of Ohio. Euro Opt Soc 85:233–240Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Grimm NB et al (2000) Integrated approaches to long-term studies of urban ecological systems. BioScience 50:571–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Numata M (1977) The impact of urbanization on vegetation in Japan. In: Miyawaki A, Tuxen R (eds) Vegetation science and environmental protection. Maruzen, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Loucks OL (1994) Sustainability in urban ecosystems: beyond an object of study. In: Platt RH, Rowntree RA, Muick PC (eds) The ecological city: preserving and restoring urban biodiversity. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, pp 48–65Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Alberti M et al (2003) Integrating humans into ecology: opportunities and challenges for studying urban ecosystems. BioScience 53:1169–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pickett STA, Grove JM (2009) Urban ecosystems: what would Tansley do? Urban Ecosyst 12:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sukopp H (1990) Urban ecology and its application in Europe. In: Sukopp H, Hejny S, Kowarik I (eds) Urban ecology: plants and plant communities in urban environments. SPB Academic, The Hague, pp 1–22Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Stearns F, Montag T (eds) (1974) The urban ecosystem: a holistic approach. Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, Stroudsburg, p 217Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wu J, Loucks OL (1995) From balance of nature to hierarchical patch dynamics: a paradigm shift in ecology. Q Rev Biol 70:439–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Boyden S et al (1981) The ecology of a city and its people: the case of Hong Kong. Australian National University Press, Canberra, pp 21–473Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Redman C, Grove JM, Kuby L (2004) Integrating social science into the long-term ecological research (LTER) network: social dimensions of ecological change and ecological dimensions of social change. Ecosystems 7:161–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Grimm NB et al (2008) Global change and the ecology of cities. Science 319:756–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fernández-Juricic E, Jokimäki J (2001) A habitat island approach to conserving birds in urban landscapes: case studies from southern and northern Europe. Biodivers Conserv 10:2023–2043CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gibb H, Hochuli DF (2002) Habitat fragmentation in an urban environment: large and small fragments support different arthropod assemblages. Biol Conserv 106:91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Crooks KR et al (2001) Extinction and colonization of birds on habitat islands. Conserv Biol 15:159–172Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Leston LFV, Rodewald AD (2006) Are urban forests ecological traps for understory birds? An examination using northern cardinals. Biol Conserv 131:566–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Groffman PM et al (2003) Down by the riverside: urban riparian ecology. Front Ecol Environ 1:315–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cadenasso ML et al (2008) Exchanges across land-water-scape boundaries in urban systems: strategies for reducing nitrate pollution. Ann NY Acad Sci 1134:213–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Light JS (2009) The nature of cities: ecological visions and the American urban professions 1920–1960. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Machlis GE, Force JE, Burch WR (1997) The human ecosystem. 1. The human ecosystem as an organizing concept in ecosystem management. Soc Nat Resour 10(4):347–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Baker LA et al (2002) Urbanization and warming of Phoenix (Arizona, USA): impacts, feedbacks and mitigation. Urban Ecosyst 6:183–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Troy AR et al (2007) Predicting opportunities for greening and patterns of vegetation on private urban lands. Environ Manage 40:394–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Alig RJ, Kline JD, Lichtenstein M (2004) Urbanization on the US landscape: looking ahead in the 21st century. Landscape Urban Plann 69:219–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gurnell A, Lee M, Souch C (2007) Urban rivers: hydrology, geomorphology, ecology and opportunities for change. Geogr Compass 1(5):1118–1137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Snep RPH et al (2006) How peri-urban areas can strengthen animal populations within cities: a modeling approach. Biol Conserv 127:345–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Dow K (2000) Social dimensions of gradients in urban ecosystems. Urban Ecosyst 4:255–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Theobald DM (2004) Placing exurban land-use change in a human modification framework. Front Ecol Environ 2:139–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Radeloff VC et al (2005) The wildland urban interface in the United States. Ecol Appl 15:799–805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Outen DC (2007) Pioneer on the frontier of smart growth: the Baltimore County, MD experience, in Smart growth @ 10: a critical analysis of Maryland’s landmark landuse program. The National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, Annapolis and College Park, Maryland, p 49Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Felson AJ, Pickett STA (2005) Designed experiments: new approaches to studying urban ecosystems. Front Ecol Environ 3:549–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Spirn AW (2005) Restoring Mill Creek: landscape literacy, environmental justice and city planning and design. Landscape Res 30:395–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Groffman PM et al (2002) Soil nitrogen cycling processes in urban riparian zones. Environ Sci Technol 36:4547–4552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kennedy C, Cuddihy J, Engel-Yan J (2007) The changing metabolism of cities. J Ind Ecol 11:43–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    McKinney ML (2002) Urbanization, biodiversity, and conservation. BioScience 52:883–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Beissinger SR, Osborne DR (1982) Effects of urbanization on avian community organization. Condor 84:75–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Yeh PJ (2004) Rapid evolution of a sexually selected trait following population establishment in a novel habitat. Evolution 58:166–174Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Slabbekoorn H, Peet M (2003) Birds sing at a higher pitch in urban noise. Nature 424:267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Wyckoff PH, Webb SL (1996) Understory influence of the invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Bull Torrey Bot Club 123:197–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    McIntyre NE, Knowles-Yanez K, Hope D (2000) Urban ecology as an interdisciplinary field: differences in the use of “urban” between the social and natural sciences. Urban Ecosyst 4:5–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Zhou W et al (2008) Can money buy green: demographic and socioeconomic predictors of lawncare expenditures and lawn greenness in urban residential areas. Soc Nat Resour 22:744–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Pouyat RV, Turechek WW (2001) Short- and long-term effects of site factors on net N-mineralization and nitrification rates along an urban-rural gradient. Urban Ecosyst 5:159–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    McDonnell MJ et al (1997) Ecosystem processes along an urban-to-rural gradient. Urban Ecosyst 1:21–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Pickett STA et al (2011) Urban ecological systems: scientific foundations and a decade of progress. J Environ Manag 92:331–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Spirn AW (1984) The granite garden: urban nature and human design. Basic Books, New York, pp 1–334Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Clergeau P et al (2006) Avifauna homogenisation by urbanisation: analysis at different European latitudes. Biol Conserv 127:336–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Walsh CJ et al (2005) The urban stream syndrome: current knowledge and the search for a cure. J N Am Benthol Soc 24:706–723Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Carreiro MM et al (2009) Carbon and nitrogen cycling in soils of remnant forests along urban-rural gradients: case studies in the New York metropolitan area and Louisville, Kentucky. In: McDonnell MJ, Hahs A, Breuste J (eds) Ecology of cities and towns: a comparative approach. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 308–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Cadenasso ML, Pickett STA, Schwarz K (2007) Spatial heterogeneity in urban ecosystems: reconceptualizing land cover and a framework for classification. Front Ecol Environ 5:80–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Welter VM (2002) Biopolis: Patrick Geddes and the city of life. MIT Press, Cambridge, p 355Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    McHarg I (1969) Design with nature. Doubleday/Natural History Press, Garden City, p 197Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Musacchio LR (2009) Pattern:process metaphors for metropolitan landscapes. In: McDonnell MJ, Hahs A, Breuste J (eds) Ecology of cities and towns: a comparative approach. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 484–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Pickett STA, Cadenasso ML (2008) Linking ecological and built components of urban mosaics: an open cycle of ecological design. J Ecol 96:8–12Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Cook WM et al (2004) Learning to roll with the punches: adaptive experimentation in human dominated systems. Front Ecol Environ 2:467–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Boone CG et al (2009) Parks and people: an environmental justice inquiry in Baltimore, Maryland. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 99:767–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Bolund P, Hunhammar S (1999) Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecol Econ 29:293–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Yohe G, Tol RSJ (2002) Indicators for social and economic coping capacity – moving toward a working definition of adaptive capacity. Glob Environ Change 12:25–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Gunderson LH, Pritchard L Jr (eds) (2002) Resilience and the behavior of large-scale systems. Island Press, Washington, DC, p 287Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Walker B et al (2004) Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social-ecological systems. Ecol Soc 9(2): Article 5Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Melosi MV (2000) The sanitary city: urban infrastructure in America from colonial times to the present. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 600 ppGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Rees WE (1992) Ecological footprints and appropriated carrying capacity: what urban economics leaves out. Environ Urbanization 4:121–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Books and Reviews

  1. Alberti M (2008) Advances in urban ecology: integrating humans and ecological processes in urban ecosystems. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beatley T (2000) Green urbanism: learning from European cities. Island, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  3. Bullard RD (ed) (2005) The quest for environmental justice: human rights and the politics of pollution. Sierra Club Books, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  4. Burch WR Jr (1988) Human ecology and environmental management. In: Agee JK, Johnson DR (eds) Ecosystem management for parks and wilderness. University of Washington Press, Seattle, pp 145–159Google Scholar
  5. Burger J (1999) Animals in towns and cities. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, DubuqueGoogle Scholar
  6. Cadenasso ML, Pickett STA (2008) Urban principles for ecological landscape design and management: scientific fundamentals. Cities Environ 1(2):1–16Google Scholar
  7. Catterall CP (2009) Responses of faunal assemblages to urbanisation: global research paradigms and an avian case study. In: McDonnell MJ, Hahs A, Breuste J (eds) Ecology of cities and towns: a comparative approach. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 129–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Curwell S, Deakin M, Symes M (eds) (2005) Sustainable urban development, volume 1: the framework and protocols for environmental assessment. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Forman RTT (2008) Urban regions: ecology and planning beyond the city. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frumkin H, Frank L, Jackson RB (2004) Urban sprawl and public health: designing, planning and building for healthy communities. Island, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  11. Gleick PH (2009) The world’s water: 2008–2009. Island, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Grove JM (2009) Cities: managing densely settled social-ecological systems. In: Chapin FS III, Kofinas GP, Folke C (eds) Principles of ecosystem stewardship: resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world. Springer, New York, pp 281–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gunderson LH (2000) Ecological resilience – in theory and application. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 31:425–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Marzluff JM, Schulenberger E, Endlicher W, Alberti M, Bradley G, Ryan C, Simon U, ZumBrunne C (eds) (2008) Urban ecology: an international perspective on the interaction between humans and nature. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. McDonnell MJ, Breuste J, Hahs A (2009) Introduction: scope of the book and need for developing a comparative approach to the ecology of cities and towns. In: McDonnell MJ, Hahs A, Breuste J (eds) Ecology of cities and towns: a comparative approach. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McGrath BP, Marshall V, Cadenasso ML, Grove JM, Pickett STA, Plunz R, Towers J (eds) (2007) Designing patch dynamics. Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Sukopp H, Numata M, Huber A (1995) Urban ecology as the basis of urban planning. SPB Academic, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  18. United Nations Population Fund (2007) State of world population 2007: unleashing the potential of urban growth. United Nations Population Fund, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cary Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA