PLHRT 2240 - Urban Ecosystems

Spring. 3 credits. Letter grades only.

L. Drinkwater.

We will examine the application of ecological knowledge to urban ecosystems through readings, discussions and field trips. Our emphasis will be on understanding how ecological and social processes influence urban ecosystems in terms of elemental and material flows, energy consumption, human health and well-being and sustainability. We will compare and contrast case studies of cities ranging from those that exemplify urban sustainability efforts to cities experiencing chronic environmental and human health challenges. Using these case studies we will examine ecological footprints of urban and peri-urban areas in conjunction with socioeconomic factors such as population density, income, education levels, availability of services and local government policies that impact environmental sustainability and human well-being.

Outcome 1: Articulate the various ways that researchers, governments and policy makers are applying ecological knowledge to urban ecosystems.

Outcome 2: Apply ecological concepts to analysis of urban systems and communicating these ideas across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Outcome 3: Analyze how ecological and social complexity can either promote or undermine sustainable development in an urban context.

Outcome 4: Apply critical thinking skills to evaluate controversies and ongoing political debates over environmental policies in urban ecosystems.

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