How do different patterns of urban development affect biodiversity, ecosystem function, human health, and social well-being? Can we accommodate urban growth in the face of environmental changes, while maintaining and restoring urban green spaces and habitats? Why do some species adapt to urban environments while others don’t? These are examples of the “big questions” that urban ecologists ask. Answering them requires collaboration across diverse disciplines.
In this course we will examine urban areas as socio-ecological systems, in which humans and their actions are a component of ecological systems. You will learn relevant principles, methods and approaches from ecology, geography, economics, history, urban studies and public policy development, and use them to assess case studies of environmental problems and solutions in urban areas. You will also read and discuss contemporary scientific articles and books, and address a critical urban ecological issue of your choice through a final project.