URBAN ECOSYSTEMS

SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMF725306
Module Leader Rohinton Emmanuel
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Civil Engineering and Environmental Management
Trimester
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

This module is focused on Urban Ecosystems in urban green areas. Green infrastructure in cities plays an important role considering the urban climate and other effects on the living environment. Interconnected network, forms and dimensions of green areas and vegetation in built areas construct together the total impact of green infrastructure which is essential to provide positive environmental impacts, ecosystem services and different affordances to the citizens . The protection and conservation of green areas is part of the approach. The urban ecosystem research is able to monitor the impacts of different factors causing stress and changes in urban green areas. In landscape planning natural based solutions are possible to adapt in practical situations. Experiences and solutions are introduced on short excursions and site visits. This module seeks to understand how the urban environment is part of a broader social-ecological system and explore the various sustainable approaches to development around the urban fringe and also consider the role of landscape planning and urban design in providing for health, leisure activities and societal opportunities for residents and users of the urban environment. Students will be exposed to concepts such as ecosystems services, the role of green infrastructure, how to evaluate impacts of land-use to consider green and blue structures and how to adapt ecological principles into practice. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are utilised in planning of green areas and for example storm water treatment solutions. As a growing area of consideration for urban planners and decision makers, the module will explore the ways to increase the amount of vegetation and green surfaces in cities, such as green factor analysis, which has been used to monitor the amount and quality of vegetation in built areas. Examples from practice will be used to help contextualise for the students the principles and allow for learning to have a practical focus.

Syllabus

-360b7 Landscape structure and its main elements b7 Ecosystem services produced by nature, description of their functions in urban areas b7 Importance of green infrastructure and biodiversity in urban areas b7 Evaluation of the impacts of land-use in urban settings considering both green and blue structures b7 Adaptation of ecological principles from theory to practice b7 Planning of green spaces, vegetation and storm water management in urban areas b7 Impacts of green infrastructure in well-being and environmental attractively b7 Examples of new experiments of urban green, like green roofs and walls, floating vegetation, urban cultivation b7 Green factor analysis examples in evaluation of urban green

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Critically evaluate the key principles relating to urban ecosystems thinking and ecosystem services2. Understand the need of urban ecosystem research and green infrastructure in cities3. Display a knowledge and understanding of advanced methodologies relating to ecosystems services and landscape planning 4. Critically appraise adaptation of theoretical principles in practical situations in different circumstances5. Discuss and apply key management methodologies on landscape planning and green infrastructure in cities6. Analyse and discuss best practices for management of urban green and blue areas

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The delivery of this module will be through lectures, seminars and case studies, as well as guest lectures by professionals and experts engaged in urban ecology and landscape planning. Short excursions will be included to the programme. Students will be supported with some pre course reading and will enter the first tutorial with a short paper which they will present providing the basis for discussion. In addition to lectures and seminars, students will develop the practical skills through tutorial exercises, case studies, in-class presentations and reports. An emphasis will be placed on group work with the aim to promote discussion and the sharing of knowledge during the learning process.

Indicative Reading

-360 1. Aitkenhead-Peterson, J. & Volder, A. (2010). Urban ecosystem ecology. Madison, Wisc.: American Society of Agronomy. -360 2. Alberti, M. (2008). Advances in urban ecology: Integrating humans and ecological processes in urban ecosystems. New York: Springer. 3. Austin, G. k. (2014). Green infrastructure for landscape planning: Integrating human and natural systems. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 4. Beck, T. (2013). Principles of ecological landscape design. Washington, DC: Island Press. 5. Benedict, M. A., McMahon, E. & McMahon, E. T. (2006). Green Infrastructure. Washington, DC: Island Press. 6. Bouma, J. A. & Beukering, P. v. (2015). Ecosystem services: From concept to practice. Cambridge, UK ; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press 7. Elmqvist, T., Fragkias, M., Goodness, J., Gfcneralp, B., Marcotullio, P. J., McDonald, R. I., Wilkinson, C. (2013). Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer Netherlands. -360 8. Jacobs, S., Dendoncker, N. & Keune, H. (2014). Ecosystem Services. Elsevier. -360 9. Matlock, M. D. & Morgan, R. A. (2011). Ecological engineering design: Restoring and conserving ecosystem services. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. -360 10. Niemele4, J. (2011). Urban ecology: Patterns, processes and applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 11. Niemele4, J. B., Breuste, J. & Niemele4, J. (2011). Urban Ecology. Oxford: Oxford University Press 12. Parris, K. M. (2016). Ecology of Urban Environments. Wiley-Blackwell. -360 13. Steenberg (2015). "Neighborhood- scale urban forest ecosystem classification". Journal of environmental management. 163 : 134-145. doi <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier> : 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.08.008 <https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.jenvman.2015.08.008> . 14. Meirong, Su (2010). "Urban ecosystem health assessment:A review". The Science of the total environment. 408 (12): 2425-2434. doi <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier> : 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.03.009 <https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.scitotenv.2010.03.009> . -360

Transferrable Skills

-284 - Communicating effectively in appropriate formats, including among peers and with external agencies; - Applying appropriate analytical skills (including mathematical methods); - Working effectively as part of a team; - Demonstrating a professional approach to time-management; - Showing independence and initiative in research and other work situations

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (FT) 84.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 40.00 45% Learning diary and Individual report 2000 words
Course Work 01 n/a 60.00 45% Presentation and Individual Report 2000 words