Ecological Theory and Urban Planning
S.T.A. Pickett, Institute of Ecosystem Studies,
M.L. Cadenasso, Institute of Ecosystem Studies,
J.M. Grove, US Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station,
B. McGrath, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University
The research of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER was founded on the integration of ecological, social, and hydrological research. As the program has developed, we have begun to seek other integrations to fill out our conceptual and empirical base, and to improve our ability to relate our results to additional applications relevant to Baltimore. The first addition was that of civil infrastructure (Band and Law, 1999). We are now seeking ways to link the work of BES with urban design and planning, by discovering what BES data and ecological theory are relevant to planning, and by engaging planning and architecture studios at Columbia University in projects in Baltimore. Issues addressed by BES that are relevant to planning are hydrological over-connectedness, and depopulation with its attendant disinvestment and parcel vacancy. Theoretical links include patch dynamics, boundary function, and ecological resilience. Data links include novel, highly resolved structural and social classifications. In addition to linking BES research with an important practical application, the expansion of our interdisciplinary effort suggests one of the important ways in which BES grows to match intellectual opportunity and practical relevance.
urban planning, ecological theory, patch dynamics