Towards a social-ecological urban morphology: integrating urban form and landscape ecology
Paper in proceedings, 2016
In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the green areas of cites. The reasons are several but generally relate to the urgent need to redirect our cities into more sustainable trajectories. Of special importance here is the shift towards greater emphasis on biodiversity and urban ecosystems rather than climate change and technological systems for energy, waste and transport. This creates new demands for a deeper understanding of the morphology of green areas in cities in their own right as ecological environments and not only by way of park typologies as often traditionally has been the case in urban morphology.
Such spatial morphology of natural landscapes is already a developed field and essential part of landscape ecology (Forman 1986). However, there is no natural overlap between the two fields of spatial morphology in landscape ecology and urban morphology why they are not naturally integrated to each other. In this paper first steps are taken towards an integrated social–ecological urban morphology based on current developments in each field. The development of such a joint morphology has the aim of informing and supporting research as well as practice in the new endeavor towards functional ecosystems in cities.
More specifically, the aim is to integrate essential concepts in landscape ecology such as patches, matrix and fragmentation (Alberti 2001) with essential variables in urban morphology such as distance, density and diversity. The aim is here also to set this within a framework of network analysis as specifically developed in space syntax (Hillier& Hanson 1984; Hillier 1996). The empirical support will be taken from the point of view of ecosystem services in cities, more particularly pollination (Marcus, Berghasuer Pont, Gren 2013).
sustainable urban development
social ecological systems