10 September 2014

LiveBlog: Steward Pickett: Evolving Theoretical Frameworks for Urban Ecological Science

Rough notes from the Common Lecture

Steward Pickett
Evolving Theoretical Frameworks for Urban Ecological Science: The Global and Regional Metacity

"City" - downtown, suburbs, commercial, industrial, etc.  but the city encompasses more than just those areas

Old City assumptions include - We have long assumed that city and country are distinct

more after the break

   Sprawl even in places like Belfort, France

The new global reality is a heightened level of urbanization around the world. But in places already urbanized, change continues.

New assumptions: Agriculture embedded inside cities
New assumptions: City of remittance - residents elsewhere earning money and sending it back home

New assumptions mean a new theory
   Urban as entity and urban as quality

Basic frameworks to investigate:
   Lifestyle - social status, household arrangements,
   Connectivity -Of Place, Of People
   Place - context and resources, scale independent
As diagrammed in the Ernst Strungmann Forum (Boone et al. 2014: MIT Press)

The Urban-Rural Continuum - As understood through the Baltimore LTER
1) Second homes in rural areas
    Purchasing old farm homes as getaways - change the urban AND the rural landscape
2) Distal connections on diets
    Australian fruit bats
Metapopulation and metacommunity give us ideas about how cities work and lead us to the idea of
  • heterogeneity of place
  • connectivity of places - exchange
  • dynamism of places, livelihood, lifestyle, connectivity
  • fine to global scale
1938 hurricane
We call today's storms unprecedented, but research reveals that it doesn't entirely tell the story (see: 1960 Hurricane Donna in Hell's Kitchen).

Pickett also included a reference to the Great Fire of Baltimore in 1904

Most American cities could be considered Sanitary Cities
But new cities are emerging that follow other models
A few call themselves ecocities, but we should be very wary of the promises behind that

The Baltimore Sustainability Plan
The highway to nowhere

What are the environmental ethics for urban areas?

Recent papers:
Urban Diversity

The Metacity: A Conceptual Framework for Integrating Ecology and Urban Design by McGrath and Pickett

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