Ecological Approaches to Urban Design (2007)

Course instructor: Dr. Carmela Canzonieri

The first motivation for this course is based on the growing interest in creating and maintaining urban and urbanizing areas that are ecologically sustainable. The other motivation is the need to have, particularly for the student in the Planning stream, a course that approaches Urban Design with an ecological perspective.

Course description:

 Concepts of "ecology" and "urban" have taken different meanings in different contexts. The course will explore distribution of human and natural activities to position urban design within a frame compatible with landscape ecology and spatial urban planning.

Course objectives:

The maintenance of the biological diversity of ecosystems in the urban setting requires first an ecological understanding of the composition and functioning of urban systems, but also to devise strategies that understand urban flows uses and merge them into ecological urban designs. One question is how systemic understandings of the impact of the built environment on the natural environment can shed light on global processes of threats to biodiversity. A novel approach might be a proactive design question of " now that we know global processes of threats to biodiversity, how can we use ecological knowledge to reframe urban processes."

Students will learn the current concepts, methods, and applications of urban design from a perspective of landscape ecology through (1) class lectures; (2) reading and discussion of literature reflecting state-of-the-art research in the field; and (3) completion of an independent project that allows students to develop or apply these tools and concepts to their own case study.

Evaluation :

Project Proposal: 20%

Weekly Reading Log & Class Discussion: 20%

Term Paper/ Final Presentation: 60%

Grading: Pass/Unsatisfactory

Home - course description and basic information.

- a student blog for posting interesting 'finds' relevant to ecological urban design.

Schedule - short form schedule and lecture notes.

Readings - weekly readings and lecture notes.

Assignments - assignment description, details & due dates.

Projects - student work archive.

Links/resources - further internet information related to course work.

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