“Vital cities have marvelous innate abilities for understanding, communicating, contriving, and inventing what is required to combat their difficulties… Lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.” — Jane Jacobs
Our planet is increasingly urban, with a majority of the world’s population living in urban areas. Urban ecology is an important interdisciplinary approach to environmental science and sustainable development. People throughout the world practice urban ecology, motivated by a desire to create healthy human ecosystems and livable communities. Lafayette students, under the direction of Landis Community Outreach Center director Dr. Bonnie Winfield, have spent the Spring 2009 semester exploring the ways in which people interact with urban environments as part of the “Mapping Urban Ecology” course. They studied some of the people, projects, and places associated with the discipline, and produced a Green Map website and brochure of Easton using GIS technology.
Following the completion of this course, students were able to:
- Articulate the complexity of urbanization on the world ecosystem through both oral and written discourse.
- Describe the historical development of cities, especially in relationship to urban renewal in the Northeast and the work of Jane Jacobs.
- Identify significant urban ecologists, projects, and publications.
- Demonstrate the use of technology, specifically Google Maps and GIS mapping, to produce a website and map of Easton.
- Display critical and creative thinking skills regarding today’s complex and changing urban environmental challenges.