Ecology of Cities and Towns
A Comparative Approach
Edited by Mark J. McDonnell
Edited by Amy K. Hahs
Edited by Jürgen H. Breuste
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2009
Online Publication Date:March 2010
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511609763.027
Subjects: Ecology and conservation
This chapter describes the urban ecological research carried out by Alterra, a research institute at the Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) in the Netherlands. Our research group applies landscape ecology and spatial planning concepts to the study of urban environments, on the basis of a practical, learning-by-doing, approach. This specific approach of urban ecology, known as ‘urban landscape ecology’, is especially useful in an overpopulated country such as the Netherlands.
The chapter starts with a brief introduction on the concept of urban landscape ecology, followed by a description of four case studies, in which urban ecology and landscape ecology, spatial planning and architecture principles are combined into new concepts about preserving urban biodiversity and planning urban green space for ‘People’ (employees and residents), ‘Planet’ and ‘Profit’ (companies and developers). The chapter closes with an overview of our current research, which focuses on the contribution of business parks to regional ecological networks.
Introduction to urban landscape ecology
Cities have a size, structure and internal heterogeneity that distinguish them from other landscapes. The configuration and mutual relations of the landscape elements of cities and towns differ significantly from those of other surrounding areas. Furthermore, the urban landscape has its own collection of underlying patterns and processes, which provide the conditions for a selfsupporting ecosystem, the urban ecosystem, within which ecological, physical and socioeconomic components of metropolitan areas interact (Pickett et al., 2001).
Reference Type: reference-list