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Sustainability 2015, 7(4), 3774-3791; doi:10.3390/su7043774

An Ecology for Cities: A Transformational Nexus of Design and Ecology to Advance Climate Change Resilience and Urban Sustainability

1
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
2
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
3
Forest Service, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
4
Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY 10011, USA
5
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY 12545, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 18 December 2014 / Revised: 12 March 2015 / Accepted: 23 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Development)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1814 KB, uploaded 31 March 2015]   |  

Abstract

Cities around the world are facing an ever-increasing variety of challenges that seem to make more sustainable urban futures elusive. Many of these challenges are being driven by, and exacerbated by, increases in urban populations and climate change. Novel solutions are needed today if our cities are to have any hope of more sustainable and resilient futures. Because most of the environmental impacts of any project are manifest at the point of design, we posit that this is where a real difference in urban development can be made. To this end, we present a transformative model that merges urban design and ecology into an inclusive, creative, knowledge-to-action process. This design-ecology nexus—an ecology for cities—will redefine both the process and its products. In this paper we: (1) summarize the relationships among design, infrastructure, and urban development, emphasizing the importance of joining the three to achieve urban climate resilience and enhance sustainability; (2) discuss how urban ecology can move from an ecology of cities to an ecology for cities based on a knowledge-to-action agenda; (3) detail our model for a transformational urban design-ecology nexus, and; (4) demonstrate the efficacy of our model with several case studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban design; urban ecology; design-ecology nexus; urban sustainability; ecology for cities; climate change; climate adaptation; urban resilience urban design; urban ecology; design-ecology nexus; urban sustainability; ecology for cities; climate change; climate adaptation; urban resilience
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Childers, D.L.; Cadenasso, M.L.; Grove, J.M.; Marshall, V.; McGrath, B.; Pickett, S.T.A. An Ecology for Cities: A Transformational Nexus of Design and Ecology to Advance Climate Change Resilience and Urban Sustainability. Sustainability 2015, 7, 3774-3791.

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