The Institute of Ecosystem Studies to host an international conference on ecology and urban design

April 30, 2007

Millbrook, NY --- Ecology exists within cities. The air we breathe and the water we drink is shaped by the built landscape surrounding us. As the human population expands, and cities become larger and more concentrated, urban design will play a critical role in creating urban centers that acknowledge and preserve the environment they overlap.

From May 1st to May 3rd, the Institute of Ecosystem Studies will be hosting an international conference focused on building bridges between current ecological thinking and the professionals that are responsible for building the cities of the future. Invited attendees will comprise some of our nation's foremost ecologists, urban designers, architects, and landscape architects.

Through oral presentations, design critiques, and active dialogue, conference goers will share expertise in a way that supports sustainable and resilient urban design. The conference will begin with Nan Ellin of Arizona State University speaking on the historic, geographic, and political context of urbanization. Plenary speakers, one each from ecology and design, will be paired under four conceptual themes:

Spatial heterogeneity in ecology and design Material fluxes in the urban realm Adaptation and change in the urban system Social interactions as agents of urban organization To prepare for group discussions, two speakers will address the application of the integrating principles: Following the plenary speakers, participants will discuss specific designs presented by: Discussions will address the following three questions:

  1. How can ecology advance urban design?

  2. How can urban design advance ecological and social sciences?

  3. How can ecological urban design be improved?


The conference will be synthesized by ecologist Steward Pickett of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies and designer Charles Waldheim of the University of Toronto. Conference proceedings will form the basis of both a book and a website. These end products will be used to connect recommendations with the larger community of ecologists and urban designers. They will also be used to educate the next generation of urban planners.
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The Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) is a not-for-profit scientific research and education organization that is dedicated to understanding the natural world. This conference is the twelfth in the Institute's biennial Cary Conference series, which seeks to advance new goals and perspectives in the field of ecology. To learn more about IES, visit www.ecostudies.org

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

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