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Thread: Linking ecological information to the planning process

  1. #1
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    Linking ecological information to the planning process

    I am writing a paper on challenges of urban planning in China, trying to suggest how ecological information can be linked to the planning process. Are there some successful case studies and/or projects from some cities where China can learn from?

    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I don't know how much help it would be, but in graduate school I did a comprehensive plan for Madison, Wisconsin with an ecological framework. We looked at the city through several ecological indicators, including impervious cover, open space, natural areas, canopy cover, etc, and made recommendations for improvement.

    This website lays it all out: http://urpl.wisc.edu/ecoplan/

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Ecological and/or environmental

    I was a little confused by the reference to the "ecological framework" in the first post, and the response which listed a number of factors which in my limited experience are usually presented as environmental.
    There are a lot of references to approaching urban planning within an environmental framework - that is incorporating environmental issues in the design and management of urban centres. Thinking back, it is harder to remember any urban plan that had at least a "natural" ecological concern. In a sense every settlement creates its own dynamic eco-system. Creating a new city will inevitably modify the existing ecology of that location, by introducing new structural compoents and non-local species like humans, rats, ornamental plants and the various microbes, viruses, bacterira, insects that come with them.
    In some urban plans there are deliberate attempts at creating or maintaining minimum size green areas and linking them by green belts. The intention is to ensure that significant components of the current ecological systems within those greeen areas can survive, with access to other areas through the green belts for any species that need to move over wider areas. Swedish cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg are examples. I am sure there are many more.
    But I remain uncertain if this is what you meant. A little depends on how close you view ecology and environment as conceptual terms, I suppose.
    Mona Mogolo

  4. #4
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    Look at Ian McHarg's work and his book Design with Nature.

  5. #5
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    Ridgeman

    Interesting! I just posted a McHarg reference in the "sprawl" conference. That was because we here @ the County planning office were just discussing mapping of wetlands for ecologically based site review. Quite a coincidence. Re: the question at hand however the Monroe County Environmental Management Council in Upstate New York did engage in some physiographic determinism as Ian would say, for county wide planning.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian big_g's avatar
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    See if you can get your hands on Practical Ecology for Planners, Developers, and Citizens by Dan L. Perlman &, Jeffrey Milder

    I thought that this book was very informative and did a good job of linking ecology and planning.

  7. #7
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    Thanks big_g

    Big_g,

    Thanks a lot, the title of that book looks like what I am searching for. I will look for it and get myself a copy. Thanks too for the site, it has valuable information.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Michael Hough's book, "Cities and Natural Processes" should also be helpful to you.

  9. #9
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    Thanks

    Greenescapist,

    Thanks for the info, I will look for that one too.

  10. #10
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    natural step & RMI

    Sweden has developed a sustainable city framework called The Natural Step - maybe this will be helpful to you. See work by Sarah James. I can't attach files here but if you have access to a university library, here are the citations:

    James, S, (2001) Eco-Cities: the Next Swedish Export, Planning Magazine, May 2001.

    James, S, & Lahti, T, (2004) The Natural Step for Communities. Washington DC. Island Press.


    You might also check out the work by Rocky Mountain Institute, esp. the book "Natural Capitalism" which recommends the following four strategies:
    1. Radical Resource Productivity
    2. Biomimicry
    3. Service and Flow Economy
    4. Investing in Natural Capital
    This book has recently been translated into Chinese, and one of the authors, Amory Lovins, has worked with many Chinese officials. RMI also taught a one-semester course at Beijing University.

    Hope this helps!

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