Urban ecology

Jason A. Byrne, Donna Houston

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Over the past two decades, research on urban ecology has burgeoned and the long-standing supposition that cities are somehow inherently “unnatural” has given way to a deeper recognition that cities are radical “disturbance” or “novel” ecologies. Urban ecologies are characterized by both native biodiversity and a multitude of exotic species. As socionatural assemblages, towns and cities provide diverse habitat niches for a wide array of plants and animals. Research on urban nature–society relations has occurred within many disciplines (e.g., ecology, geography, psychology, and political science). Urban ecology research is broad, spanning topics as diverse as how different soil types, built form, and levels of contamination affect community garden success or how interaction effects between socio-economic composition, power relations, and governance structures can mediate the life chances of urban animals, plants, and people. Recent theoretical developments address key concepts such as urban metabolism, ecological/biophilic cities, and the materiality of urban nature–society relations. Emerging sites of research include urban greening and green infrastructure, climate change adaptation, Indigenous knowledge, and ecosystem functions, services, and benefits. Urban ecology scholars consider how ideas about urban nature and animals have influenced understandings of both the nature of urbanism and the patterns and processes of urbanization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of human geography
EditorsAudrey Kobayashi
PublisherElsevier
Pages47-58
Number of pages12
Volume14
Edition2nd
ISBN (Electronic)9780081022962
ISBN (Print)9780081022955
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • animals
  • children
  • cities
  • disruption
  • ecology
  • extinction
  • governance
  • habitat
  • more-than-human
  • nature
  • plants
  • political ecology

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    Byrne, J. A., & Houston, D. (2020). Urban ecology. In A. Kobayashi (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human geography (2nd ed., Vol. 14, pp. 47-58). Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-102295-5.10760-7