"Metropolis": Visions of the future in urban ecology
The discipline of urban ecology has matured over the last 25 years into a genuine transdisciplinary science that integrates the ecological and social components of urban ecosystems. Considerable progress has been made in characterizing patterns of urbanization and biodiversity in urban landscapes and increased attention has highlighted the mechanisms underlying these patterns. Newer studies consider cities as ecosystems and emphasize ecological processes and have increased our understanding of how humans interact with their biotic and abiotic environment. However, considerable challenges exist in integrating ecological and social systems in cities.
We review the field of urban ecology from an interdisciplinary perspective and consider the role that advances in this discipline may play in preventing the development of a futuristic urban dystopia. We examine a potential research agenda that leads to an integrated approach to better understanding urban systems and we review progress in the subject of urban ecosystem services as a central element of this integrative view. Finally, we highlight the challenges about dealing with complex urban socio-ecological systems and the need for an experimental approach that leads to a better understanding of sustainable urban systems.