Modern city dwellers are largely detached from the environmental effects of their daily lives. The sources of the water they drink, the food they eat, and the energy they consume are all but invisible, often coming from other continents, and their waste ends up in places beyond their city boundaries. Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems shows how cities and their residents can begin to reintegrate into their bioregional environment, and how cities themselves can be planned with nature’s organizing principles in mind. Taking cues from living systems for sustainability strategies, Newman and Jennings reassess urban design by exploring flows of energy, materials, and information, along with the interactions between human and non-human parts of the system.
Drawing on examples from all corners of the world, the authors explore natural patterns and processes that cities can emulate in order to move toward sustainability. Some cities have adopted simple strategies such as harvesting rainwater, greening roofs, and producing renewable energy. Others have created biodiversity parks for endangered species, community gardens that support a connection to their foodshed, and pedestrian-friendly spaces that encourage walking and cycling.
A powerful model for urban redevelopment, Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems describes aspects of urban ecosystems from the visioning process to achieving economic security to fostering a sense of place.
"Australian professor Peter Newman is credited with coining the term 'automobile independent' to describe the way most American and Australian cities were built in the last half of the 20th century."
"Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems is a compendium of lists and theories that is a useful reference and for some potential guide to right living."
William McDonough + Partners
- William McDonough
"Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems advances an important idea about the relevance of systems thinking to design at the community and urban scale. Scaling up is a critical aspect to how we all need to be thinking; this book is an excellent guidepost."
Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia
- William E. Rees
"Perhaps just in time, Newman and Jennings provide us with all the theory and practice we need to salvage urban civilization. Their excellent book is now the best available guide to the reinvention of cities as sustainable regional ecosystems, human settlements that thrive on much-reduced eco-footprints."
"...the authors have written an excellent book on a subject of great interest and scope... the contents of this book will encourage readers to explore in greater detail the growing literature on urban ecology and urban sustainability, an end in itself that is a marvelous achievement."
- Christopher Boone
"...the authors have written an excellent book on a subject of great interest and scope... the contents of this book will encourage readers to explore in greater detail the growing literature on urban ecology and urban sustainability, an end in itselfachievement that is a marvelous achievment."
Peter Newman is professor of city policy and director of the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. He recently completed a Fulbright scholarship, which he spent at the University of Virginia studying sustainability initiatives in the U.S. He is the author of Sustainability and Cities (Island Press, 1999).
Isabella Jennings is a graduate student in the School of Environmental Science at Murdoch University. Her past and current research is related to the cities as sustainable ecosystems idea.
Introducing Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems
Chapter 1. Vision
Chapter 2. Economy and Society
Chapter 3. Biodiversity
Chapter 4. Ecological Footprints
Chapter 5. Modeling Cities on Ecosystems
Chapter 6. Sense of Place
Chapter 7. Empowerment and Consumption
Chapter 8. Partnerships
Chapter 9. Sustainable Production and Consumption
Chapter 10. Governance and Hope
Appendix A. Extracts fron the "Local Government Declaration to the World Summit on Sustainable Development," 2002
Appendix B. The Carbon Cycle
Appendix C. The Nitrogen Cycle
Appendix D. The Phosphorus Cycle
Appendix E. The Hydrological Cycle