Urban Ecosystem and the Ecopolis
Urban ecosystem and Ecopolis Lai Wei March 29, 2012 Introduction When people talk about the city, the first thing they thought is the building and the traffic. It’s hard to connect city to the ecological and the environment. But as the humanity is rapidly urbanizing, by 2010, more than 50% of the world population is expected to live in the city. (The World Bank, 2010) Cities can be tremendously efficient. It can easier to provide water and sanitation for a large number of people living closer together, while access to health, education, and other social and cultural services is also much more readily available.
However, as a city grows, the cost of meeting people basic needs are increases, as does the strain on the environment and natural resources. That’s why urban ecosystem is so important to us. The emerging field of urban ecology as both valid and central to understanding the global environment now embraced in the scientific community. According to the data given by the World Bank about the concentration of human activity in urban centers, the trues is humans are the dominant species in all ecosystems, and the pace of environmental change, urban ecology is a critical area for environmental research. Understanding urban natural resources and urban natural systems also has important implications for public health, economic development, education and community development in urban areas. ” (Charles P. 2001) If we thinking about the city, the development of ecological will have a broad and profound impact on all the important issues of social which faced by urban stakeholders. For example, public health, resource allocation, water quality, energy conservation, historical and natural preservation will all benefit from a revisionist approach that includes the biology of the ystem as the foundation for its understanding and management. Urban ecosystem and current problem The definitions of “urban” are varying among countries and often are specific to the political, social, and economic context in which they are utilized. “There also are another explain about urban which defined by The United States Census Bureau which is the populated regions with a density of 1600 people/km^2 or greater and a minimum population of 2500. ” (Alan R. 2003) Human demography has shown a steady increase in the percentage of people living in cities.
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Beginning with the advent of agriculture 5,000-10,000 years ago, humans have been developing bigger and more densely populated urban centers. This pattern of urbanization is evident in both developed and developing nations. ”(Bolund P. 1999) As the research did by the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, “Urbanization and urban growth continue to be major demographic trends. The world’s urban population increased from about 200 million (_15% of world population) in 1900 to 2. billion (_50% of world population) in 2000, and the number of cities with populations in excess of 1 million increased from 17 in 1900 to 388 in 2000. As people are increasingly living in cities, and as cities act as both human ecosystem habitats and drivers of ecosystem change, it will become increasingly important to foster urban systems that contribute to human well-being and reduce ecosystem service burdens at all scales. ” (Global & Multiscale Assessment Reports, 2001) (Global & Multiscale Assessment Reports, 2001) As human population has increased, so has our species’ impact on global ecosystems. The fossil record points to five major periods of rapid extinction during the past 500 million years on the planet, all of which occurred prior to the evolution of our human lineage. These catastrophic events were triggered by rapid, un-buffered environmental change. The most recent complete cycle, triggered by an asteroid impact on the planet, occurred approximately 65 million years ago during the Cretaceous period and caused the extinction of at least 50% of all of the animal families on earth, including the last of the dinosaurs.
Conservation biologists have detected the start of a sixth major period of rapid extinction, beginning in the past 200 years. ” (Charles P. 2001) What happened in this time is that environmental degradation is directly linked to biodiversity loss. But the environmental degradation was caused by human activity and over-exploitation of natural resources. The tremendous impact of humans on the biosphere is concentrated in urban areas where deforestation, soil erosion, pollution and exhaustion of natural resources are the most intense. (Rebele, F. 1994)
As long as people continue to live in urban areas, it is important for their well-being that the urban air is enough healthy to breathe, that the urban landscape be pleasing to the eye, that the urban climate be suitable for living, that the adequate quality sufficient water is enough to meet domestic needs, and generally that the urban environment is healthy and pleasant for people who live in. because of the urbanization, the ability of local ecosystems to provide these services tends to decrease, this situation happens even the number of people per unit of area, and hence the need for these services was increases.
As the environmental issues such as air pollution, urban heat island effect, hydrological cycle and brownfield sites comes with the population increase. Cities, the living place for most people needs to be protected. In order to achieve sustainable development, more and more people accept the new idea “eco-city”. (Dearden, P. 2009) (Global & Multiscale Assessment Reports, 2001) Ecopolis The “Ecopolis” combines words “polis” and “ecology”. (Lgnatieva, M 2000) We also call it as “eco-city”.
The ecopolis should be full integration of technology and natural. Human creativity and productivity should be get full play to the city. And people’s physical and mental health and environmental quality get maximum protection. Rodney R. White describes the eco-city as ‘a city that provides an acceptable standard of living for its human occupants without depleting the ecosystems and biochemical cycles on which it depends’; he believes it to be the most durable kind of settlement that humans can build.
He describes an eco-city by taking the characteristics of a city (high building density, high waste pollution, high levels of trade and commerce, a concentration of many diverse industries, etc. ), and compares the differences of these characteristics with the characteristics of a natural ecosystem (their main energy sources, the composition of their surfaces and vertical structures, the direction of energy and material flows, methods of waste disposal, etc. ). In this definition, an eco-city is one that minimizes these differences and the result of that would be a reduced ecological footprint of the city.
Wittig also points out that the eco-city is highly influenced by socioeconomic conditions and the attitudes of the population, thus including concepts pertaining to sustainability in his description of an eco-city. (Rodney R. White, 2002) “According to Wittig, only cities that have established a common vision for local sustainable development with input from a wide variety of members and sectors (stakeholders) of the local community can be considered sustainable. Ecological requirements combined with socio-economic conditions are what create an eco-city. (Hald, M . 2009) “These urban form factors are especially important in how the city relates to its bio-region, whether it consumes it for urban development or whether the urban area is able to draw much of its food, materials and water requirements from within its own boundaries or surroundings, thus minimizing the city’s ecological footprint. ” (Kenworthy, J. R. 2006) Eco-city development projects have been announced in over 100 cities across China, however not all have been officially endorsed by China government regulatory authorities. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) launched a national low-carbon province and low-carbon city experimental project in Beijing in August 2010. The great political setting encourages lot of city start build the eco-city. ” (U. S. /China Clean Energy 2011) (Zhao, Jingzhu. 2011) One of these eco-city named Dongtan. Dongtan is located on the Eastern tip of Chongming Island. Chongming Island is China’s third largest island and the world’s largest alluvial island. The total area of the island is 1225 square kilometers, and is located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, which close proximity to Shanghai.
Because of the estimated population are 700,000; the Island became one of the administrative regions of Shanghai’s municipal government in 1958. Chongming’s natural wetland ecosystems along the coastline provide important habitats for many wildlife species and there are 2-3 million migratory winter birds living there in spring and autumn. According to the master plan for development of Chongming, population will be controlled and there will be a coordinated balanced development between urban and rural areas. Focus has been placed on ecologically sound development. (Hald, M . 2009)
In the plans, not only the population will be control, the energy demand in Dongtan would not add to the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Energy in the form of electricity, heat and fuel was to be provided entirely by renewable means. “In buildings, this was to be achieved by specifying high thermal performance and using energy efficient equipment and mechanisms to encourage energy conservation. In resource and waste management, the aim was to collect 100% of all waste within the city and to recover up to 90% of collected waste. Waste would be considered a resource to be recycled or used as biomass for energy production. (Hald, M . 2009) There was no landfill planned and human sewage was to be processed for energy recovery, irrigation and composting. “The buildings were to be a combination of traditional and innovative building technologies that would reduce the energy requirements of the buildings by 70%. ”(Hald, M . 2009) Public transport with reduced air and noise pollution would enable the buildings to be naturally ventilated, reducing the demand on energy. Green roofs were also a part of the plan. They would improve insulation and water filtration and provide potential storage for irrigation and waste disposal. Hald, M . 2009) Conclusion The eco-city should be highly balance in economy, resources, society and environmental development. The potential of eco-city is to solve issues, which related to the development of the city. As the concept of sustainable development in the urban environment, Achieving greater sustainability in cities requires an in-depth understanding of the impacts of different urban forms on patterns, social conditions, environmental quality, and of their capacities to deliver future benefits. Although it is difficult to completely achieve eco-city, as human continue work on this idea.
One day the city will be better and better and all the environment issues will be disappear. Reference Bolund Per, Hunhammar Sven. (1999) Ecosystem services in urban areas. Retrieved from http://www. sciencedirect. com/science/article/pii/S0921800999000130 Charles P. Lord, Eric G. Strauss,and Aaron M. Toffler (2001) Natural Cities: Urban Ecology and the Restoration of Urban Ecosystems. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Working Paper. Retrieved from http://www. veronica. cz/uses/Natural%20Cities. pdf Hald, M . (2009) Sustainable Urban Development and the Chinese Eco-City. Retrieved from http://www. ni. no/doc&pdf/FNI-R0509. pdf. Kenworthy, J. R. (2006) The eco-city: ten key transport and planning dimensions for sustainable city development. Environment and Urbanization. DOI: 10. 1177 7/095624780606394. Lgnatieva, M (2000) Ecopolis-towards the holistic city: Lessons in integration from throughout the world. Environmental Management & Design Division, PO Box 84, Lincoln University. Retrieved from http://researcharchive. lincoln. ac. nz/dspace/bitstream/10182/57/1/ecopolis. pdf Rebele, F. (1994) Urban Ecology and Special Features of Urban Ecosystems. Blackwell Publishing.
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