In this article, different approaches to the field of urban ecology are distinguished. The focus lies on the approach characterized by looking at the city as an ecological system, since this view has given rise to the most fruitful discussion from a social geographical perspective. Further, references are made to four studies of applied urban ecology with short summaries of the most important conclusions. The perspective in the paper is mainly Swedish, but international outlooks are incorporated. The city is placed in a context where the urban landscape is part of a larger production/consumption landscape in which all anthropogenic endeavours must be taken into account. In relation to a key concept that has been established during the last decade, cyclic material flows, the need to scrutinize smaller organizational units than the city is implied. Hereby, the household is forwarded as a significant subject for future urban ecological research. The paper also deals with the possible dangers of letting practical urban ecological projects progress without firm foundations in theoretical work. The characters of environmental problems change continually and contemporary solutions may soon become obsolete. This can be shown for the city during the last centuries, e.g. concerning waste treatment, sewage systems and fossil fuel transport. To avoid further short-term remedies at the cost of an escalated set of long-term problems, it is necessary to learn from experience and put greater effort into combining action with thought.
|Journal||Geografiska Annaler. Series B. Human Geography|
|Publication status||Published - 1993|
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
- Human Geography
- cyclic material flows
- urban ecology