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Is it possible to restore and infuse ecological systems in urban areas?

By Amy Nelson

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Say the words “urban ecology” and some folks might think you mean the interaction of squirrels, rats, pigeons, roaches and the occasional weeds they see popping up through the sidewalk or the patch of backyard grass. Yet even a quick study of urban ecology reveals dynamic interchanges between the plants, animals, humans, culture, economy and non-living elements of our urban environments.

With more than 50% of the world’s population now living in urban areas, how do we ensure the regeneration of natural systems and the values they bring?  Is it possible to restore and infuse ecological systems in urban areas? The boom in urban community gardens and the success of large scale projects such as New York City’s High Line and the daylighting of the Cheong Gye Cheong River in Seoul, Korea suggest an amazing potential to strengthen and regenerate the connections between society and ecology. But what do the experts think?

We’ll find out when we chat with Steward Pickett, Director of the National Science Foundation’s Baltimore Ecosystem Study.  Senior Environmental Scientist, Peter May, and Water Resources Engineer Phil Jones tell us why they value Urban Ecological Restoration as a Societal Benefit.

You’ll definitely want to check out the Story of Harford Run, link to video a video about daylighting a stream in downtown Baltimore and the challenge of unearthing the streams that lie beneath of our cities. We’ll also share resources link to resources on urban ecology and news about some exciting work we’re doing in urban areas.

What do you think about all of this? Share your thoughts on our blog, Rhizome,  or make a comment on the Biohabitats Facebook page. If you want to reference a specific article, be sure to include it in your post.

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