We introduce the term metacity
as a conceptual framework that can be shared by ecologists and designers and applied across the wide variety of urban habitats found around the world. While the term metacity
was introduced by UN-HABITAT to designate hyper cities of over twenty million people, for us it is not limited to large urban agglomerations, but rather refers to the proliferation of new forms of urbanization, each with distinct ecological and social attributes. These various urban configurations when combined with new digital sensing, communication and social networking technologies constitute a virtual meta-infrastructure, present in all cities today. This new metacity has the potential to integrate new activist forms of ecological and urban design research and practice in making the transition from sanitary
city models globally. The city of Baltimore, Maryland will be used both as a site to illustrate these recent urban trends, and also as an example of the integration of ecology and urban design pursued by the two authors over the past seven years [1,2]. Metacity theory is drawn from both an architectural analysis of contemporary forms of urbanism, new forms of digital monitoring and communication technologies, as well as metapopulation and metacommunity theories in ecology. We seek to provide tools and lessons from our experiences for realizing an integrated metacity approach to achieving social sustainability and ecological resilience on an increasingly urbanized planet.