Interpreting Cities as Ecosystems

Summary

"Jacobs approached cities as living beings and ecosystems. She suggested that over time, buildings, streets and neighborhoods function as dynamic organisms, changing in response to how people interact with them. She explained how each element of a city – sidewalks, parks, neighborhoods, government, economy – functions together synergistically, in the same manner as the natural ecosystem. This understanding helps us discern how cities work, how they break down, and how they could be better structured."

From: http://www.pps.org/reference/jjacobs-2/

Part of Solution

  • Jane Jacob's Community-based Approach to Urban Planning

  • Additional Information

    Since Jacobs' time, her city ecosystem concepts have evolved into many derivations. Most notably these concepts have converged together under the umbrella of 'Urban Ecology'


    From Jacobs' "Death and Life.."

    “To return to the treasure hunt that began with the streets and one thing leading to another and another: at some point along the trail I realized I was engaged in studying the ecology of cities. Offhand, this sounds like taking note that raccoons nourish themselves from city backyard gardens and garbage bags (in my own city they do, sometimes even downtown), that hawks can possibly reduce pigeon populations among skyscrapers, and so on. But by city ecology I mean something different from, yet similar to, natural ecology as students of wilderness address the subject. A natural ecosystem is defined as ‘composed of physical-chemical-biological processes active within a space-time unit of any magnitude.’ A city ecosystem is composed of physical-economic-ethical processes active at a given time within a city and its close dependencies. I’ve made up this definition, by analogy.”

    Photos

    • 28007169 menomonee valley design updated