Moving from the ecology of cities to ecology for cities: Integrating urban ecology, design, and decision-making for urban sustainability
Results/Conclusions: We will present integrative examples from an Urban Sustainability Research Coordination Network (RCN) that is integrates urban ecological research while incubating solutions-oriented products and collaborative partnerships with practitioners. We argue that a novel strategy to accomplish this involves the co-production of real-world solutions by urban ecologists, architects and designers, engineers, planners, and citizens. One example of this is an experimental streetscape project in Goodyear, AZ (part of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area). At the behest of city planners we assembled a team of urban ecologists, landscape architects, and social scientists to design and implement four streetscape options with differing landscaping, water use, and microclimate impacts. City planners and community members from the adjacent neighborhood provided input on the designs. Before construction of the experimental streetscape, we collected data on microclimate (air temperature, humidity, insolation), soil properties, and water use. Educational signage kept the neighborhood updated on new findings and project progress. After full build-out we will continue the biophysical and social monitoring to quantitatively identify the best, and most desirable, streetscape design. The project is a showcase for how integrating ecology, design, social science, and policy moves us from an ecology of cities to an ecology for cities.