Resilience in ecology and urban design
There is growing interest in linking ecological science with the theory and practice of urban design. Although this reflects existing precedents in landscape architecture, architecture, and planning, as urbanization increases around the globe and as urban jurisdictions become more invested in sustainability, there is greater commitment to bridging between ecology and urban design. The concept of resilience is a useful tool for promoting the scientific understanding of sustainability, which is primarily a social and ethical stance articulated through a civic process.
Resilience provides an underlying scientific mechanism for sustainability, and highlights the need to identify and assess adaptive capacities in urban ecosystems. Themes that can enhance the interaction of ecological science and urban design include: 1) understanding of the contrasting ways in which the two fields employ models; 2) the diverse ecological and cultural contexts for urban design; and 3) identification of common concerns such as (a) spatial heterogeneity, (b) the role of water as resource and hazard in urban systems, (c) adaptation and change in complex urban areas, and (d) the role of different social actors in shaping urban ecosystems. New frameworks, such as a continuum of urbanity and the metacity, are presented to promote the integration of ecology and urban design. Examples of designs representing several of the integrative themes will be presented.