Urban Ecology: TOPICS and PROCESS
The seminar Urban Ecology (Stadtökologie, LV-Nr. 825073 WS 2011/12 )
at the University of Innsbruck, is planned for an initial two-day block
to start us off, followed by a with somewhat experimental web-based seminar with
on-line distance learning (eLearning) support in between.
For the proposed procedere, see also:
1.1 Overview, procedere
As a seminar this is expecting active student participation:
Based on the initial "lecture units" each introducing a specific topic,
you are asked to prepare, and submit for discussions on the web-based discussion forum,
reactions to the topic of the lecture unit and any explicit (self chosen) assignments.
Lectures are supported by a (on-line, what else) collection of literature in PDF format,
(PDF format Background Reading for on-line browsing,
download, and review/comments (extra Brownie points for a good ABSTRACT !)
to the discussion board. The discussion of the topics is supported by:
- an on-line web-based discussion board, where users can also generate their own topics and threads;
- an embedded management system for questions and comments: each slide or page unit
in the lectures offers the possibility to submit a comment or questions,
to which answers and comments (by other students or the lecturer
[visibility to othes can be restricted])
can be posted; questions and any comments are "announced" by eMail.
The assignments are supported byb on-line modeling toolsi, starting with a
dynamic land use change model (LUC)
that can be used to test a few ideas on urban development and material and energy budgets.
Beyond the active participation in the series of lectures and discussions,
students can elect to prepare and submit a "term paper" (extra brownie points)
on any one of the proposed "challenges/questions" or a self-defined comparable topic.
TOPICS: a list to start with
- Definitions: what is a city,
what makes cities important, some basic data and statistics;
- Socio-economics: what makes a city attractive, economic activities, functions of a city,
infrastructure and services, demographics and social structure, social capital, cui bonum ?
- History, physiography: when and where, historical development of cities, political context,
urbanization, location issues;
- Land use dynamics: why do cities grow (or shrink ?), how and whereto ?
master plans and modeling, cellular spatial automata;
- Urban Sprawl: land use dynamic continued; urban sprwal has a negative connotation: WHY ?
- Urban Climate: cities change/make their own climate; how, why, albedo heat islands, ventilation
and scy scrapers, sealed surfaces and urban stormwater, indoor climate control; is there a "good climate" ?
- Structure: spatial patterns and distributions, structural density;
where is what (and why ?) does it matter ?
- Energy, transportation: what cities need most ? energy flow ecology;
- City machine: producing what ? energy and material flow, resources requirements,
waste streams, the ecological footprint, sustainability, discounts and NPV;
- Urban stress:
- - Urban air pollution; - water resources: shortages, flooding, pollution;
- Noise, NIR;
- reduced "nature" and biodiversity
- crowding, contagion, crime.
- Uncertainty and risk: individual versus societal;
- Criteria, objectives, constrains: what do we want ?
- How do we decide (multi-criteria analysis, DSS), rational decision making;
- Regulatory frameworks: dos and dont's, the pleasure of telling other what to do;
- City planning and design: how to get it, does it help ?
- Systems analysis: how to do explain (everything), DIR: doing it right .......
- Tools and methods:
- Simulation models, spatial analysis (GIS);
- Specific models: - Land use dynamics - Air quality - Water resources