skip to main content

Title: Coproduction of place and knowledge for ecology with the city

Ecologywiththe city is a transdisciplinary pursuit, combining the work of researchers, policy makers, managers, and residents to advance equity and sustainability. This undertaking may be facilitated by understanding the parallels in two kinds of coproduction. First, is how urban systems themselves are places that are jointly constituted or coproduced by biophysical and social processes. Second, is how sustainable planning and policies also join human concerns with biophysical structures and processes. Seeking connections between coproduction of place and the coproduction of knowledge may help improve how urban ecology engageswithdiverse communities and urban interests in service of sustainability.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Urban Ecosystems
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 765-771
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Urban areas are dynamic ecological systems defined by interdependent biological, physical, and social components. The emergent structure and heterogeneity of urban landscapes drives biotic outcomes in these areas, and such spatial patterns are often attributed to the unequal stratification of wealth and power in human societies. Despite these patterns, few studies have effectively considered structural inequalities as drivers of ecological and evolutionary outcomes and have instead focused on indicator variables such as neighborhood wealth. In this analysis, we explicitly integrate ecology, evolution, and social processes to emphasize the relationships that bind social inequities—specifically racism—and biological change in urbanized landscapes. We draw on existing research to link racist practices, including residential segregation, to the heterogeneous patterns of flora and fauna observed by urban ecologists. In the future, urban ecology and evolution researchers must consider how systems of racial oppression affect the environmental factors that drive biological change in cities. Conceptual integration of the social and ecological sciences has amassed considerable scholarship in urban ecology over the past few decades, providing a solid foundation for incorporating environmental justice scholarship into urban ecological and evolutionary research. Such an undertaking is necessary to deconstruct urbanization’s biophysical patterns and processes, inform equitable and anti-racist initiatives promoting justice in urban conservation, and strengthen community resilience to global environmental change.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Blue‐Green Infrastructure (BGI) is recognized as a viable strategy to manage stormwater and flood risk, and itsmultifunctionalitymay further enrich society through the provision of multiple cobenefits that extend far beyond the hydrosphere. Portland, Oregon, is an internationally renowned leader in the implementation of BGI and showcases many best practice examples. Nonetheless, a range of interdisciplinary barriers and uncertainties continue to cloud decision making and impede wider implementation of BGI. In this paper, we synthesize research conducted by the “Clean Water for All” (CWfA) research project and demonstrate that interdisciplinary evaluation of the benefits of Portland’s BGI, focusing on green street bioswales and the East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project, is essential to address biophysical and sociopolitical barriers. Effective interdisciplinary approaches require sustained interaction and collaboration to integrate disciplinary expertise toward a common problem‐solving purpose, and strong leadership from researchers adapt at spanning disciplinary boundaries. While the disciplinary differences in methodologies were embraced in the CWfA project, and pivotal to providing evidence of the disparate benefits of multifunctional BGI, cross‐disciplinary engagement, knowledge coproduction, and data exchanges during the research process were of paramount importance to reduce the potential for fragmentation and ensure research remained integrated.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Urbanization is driving environmental change on a global scale, creating novel environments for wildlife to colonize. Through a combination of stochastic and selective processes, urbanization is also driving evolutionary change. For instance, difficulty in traversing human‐modified landscapes may isolate newly established populations from rural sources, while novel selective pressures, such as altered disease risk, toxicant exposure, and light pollution, may further diverge populations through local adaptation. Assessing the evolutionary consequences of urban colonization and the processes underlying them is a principle aim of urban evolutionary ecology. In the present study, we revisited the genetic effects of urbanization on red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) that colonized Zurich, Switzerland. Through use of genome‐wide single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellite markers linked to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), we expanded upon a previous neutral microsatellite study to assess population structure, characterize patterns of genetic diversity, and detect outliers associated with urbanization. Our results indicated the presence of one large evolutionary cluster, with substructure evident between geographic sampling areas. In urban foxes, we observed patterns of neutral and functional diversity consistent with founder events and reported increased differentiation between populations separated by natural and anthropogenic barriers. We additionally reported evidence of selection acting on MHC‐linked markers and identified outlier loci with putative gene functions related to energy metabolism, behavior, and immunity. We concluded that demographic processes primarily drove patterns of diversity, with outlier tests providing preliminary evidence of possible urban adaptation. This study contributes to our overall understanding of urban colonization ecology and emphasizes the value of combining datasets when examining evolutionary change in an increasingly urban world.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Cities need to take swift action to deal with the impacts of extreme climate events. The co-production of positive visions offers the potential to not only imagine but also intervene in guiding change toward more desirable urban futures. While participatory visioning continues to be used as a tool for urban planning, there needs to be a way of comparing and evaluating future visions so that they can inform decision-making. Traditional tools for comparison tend to favor quantitative modeling, which is limited in its ability to capture nuances or normative elements of visions. In this paper, we offer a qualitative method to assess the resilience, equity, and sustainability of future urban visions and demonstrate its use by applying it to 11 visions from Phoenix, AZ. The visions were co-produced at two different governance scales: five visions were created at the village (or borough) scale, and six visions were created at the regional (or metropolitan) scale. Our analysis reveals different emphases in the mechanisms present in the visions to advance resilience, sustainability, and equity. In particular, we note that regional future visions align with a green sustainability agenda, whereas village visions focus on social issues and emphasize equity-driven approaches. The visions have implications for future trajectories, and the priorities that manifest at the two scales speak of the political nature of visioning and the need to explore how these processes may interact in complementary, synergistic, or antagonistic ways.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Across arid landscapes, desert shrubs affect where and how sediment is transported by various physical processes such as overland flow, wind, and rain splash. Simplistic biological models such as logistic growth curves offer important first steps towards representing and linking life to landscape dynamics. More sophisticated descriptions of desert shrub dynamics on scales commensurate with downslope sediment transport, however, are essential for more rigorously understanding how complex shrub‐sediment interactions may be affecting hillslope geomorphology. Here we present such a model that features a strong biophysical foundation by including, for example, basic aspects of desert soil‐water hydrology and population ecology such as recruitment, growth, and mortality. Model input parameters can also be modified to account for the influence of different environmental conditions and stressors (e.g. precipitation, soil types, droughts, grazing, fires, and climate change). Model behaviors mimic well documented aspects of how desert shrub populations respond to changes in precipitation, for example, productivity decreases with increasingly arid conditions and density declines during prolonged periods of drought. Model output (position and size of shrubs occupying a hillslope in a given year) represents the basic biological input variables necessary for calculating, for example, how rain‐splash induced mound building by individual shrubs may be affecting downslope sediment fluxes. Future research aimed at coupling this biological model with existing sediment transport models can therefore help advance our understanding for how desert shrub populations affect hillslope erosion across a broad range of scenarios. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

    more » « less