Future Directions in Urban Ecology and Ecological Design. Tuesday, November 19th 4:00 – 5:45 Burke Auditorium
Join Urban Ecologists Peter Groffman, Diane Pataki and Alex Felson as they engage in a discussion with Yale School of Architecture faculty about urban ecological theories, methods, and tools. Brainstorm with them on methods to translate scientific information into tangible meaning for design.
Questions to be raised are: - How do we choose what metrics to study and what methods to apply for design? - How should we move forward in designing and constructing buildings and landscapes and measure their performance? - Are there design enhancements that can affect ecological processes and improve the environmental performance of urban areas? - How can experiments be implemented to study/design ecosystem process interactions in urban and suburban areas?
Earlier this year, Alexander Felson suggested that the field of urban design would improve markedly if ecologists became more involved. But as Felson conceded, many ecologists have scant experience working on development projects and might not even know where to begin.
In a new article, Felson, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Architecture, lays out a “roadmap” for integrating ecology into urban design. Writing in the journal BioScience, Felson describes strategies for ecologists to inject themselves into design projects — such as urban parks and buildings — and highlights critical moments in the process when they can have the greatest impact… more
“It’s ideal to get involved early in the contract phase because essentially you’re carving out your role in a project.”
“Land development is inevitable… and it’s happening with less ecological assessment than it should be. The more we can get ecologist involved the better.”
The author discusses the diversity of species within a given housing lot in Washington State noting the discovery of a rare species. It is interesting that even with the focus of the article mostly on insects, the drawing of the animals on the lot includes all of the fury and large signature animals, revealing the issue of highlighting and valuing the mostly hidden species that we all take for granted and disregard.
The city of New York is issuing citations titled “vector control inspection work orders,” which accuse people of violating Article 151 of the city’s health code (no standing water). This is an interesting and daunting urban dilemma. How do we avoid standing water in a city that is mostly impervious? The dilemma also raises conflicts between establishing constructed ecosystems where water sources are available for foragers, and the nuisance species that these habitats could promote. AF
Alex Felson participated as a presenter and panelist in the event Urban Planet: Emerging Ecologies at the Cooper Union on April 10th.
Two questions raised were: "Ecological understanding of urban constructed ecosystems is seminal. Scientists are seeking new ways to develop that knowledge towards understanding urban environments and defining sustainable ecosystems. At the same time, designers are incorporating ecological understanding and attempting to define sustainable urban ecosystems of the future.
1. Design practitioners often filter ecological concepts and understanding into design even though those concepts are not easily translated from one field to the next and the ecological data as well as theoretical frameworks are incomplete. What then are the professional boundaries designers should acknowledge and how can those boundaries be overcome particularly when working with incomplete information from scientists and the uncertainty embedded in scientific results?
2. Environmental consultants often form part of design teams. Their input however into the design process is constrained and largely aims to satisfy developers’ interests and regulations which may not be based on the best available science. How can we enhance transdisciplinary approach across the design and ecology disciplines to ensure a more meaningful integration of ecology and design for the built environment?”