Upping the urban green. How can we accelerate the role of ecology in our cities?
Ten questions about ecology in urban design

Mark Simmons: University of Texas, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, USA
Christine Thuring: University of Sheffield, UK

 
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1. Are you a student or practicing professional?
2. Where do you live?
3. What is your primary discipline
4. What are the most important ecosystem services that are included in the urban design of your region's cities? (The next question asks what you personally feel should be the most important)
(1=most important; 8=least important)
Urban heat island mitigation
Air quality
Climate change mitigation/ carbon sequestration
Water quality and supply
Urban food supply
Recreational/ visible green space
Biodiversity/ habitat protection and creation
Stormwater management
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5. In your opinion, what ecosystem services should drive urban and site design?
(1=highest ranking; 8=lowest ranking)
Climate change mitigation/ carbon sequestration
Biodiversity/ habitat
Air quality
Urban food supply
Stormwater management
Urban heat island mitigation
Water quality and supply
Recreational/ visible green space
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6. What is the highest ideal or greatest potential of an ecologically functioning city?
(1=highest ideal; 5=lowest ideal)
Human physical, sociological and mental well-being
Economic and resource sustainability
Survival of the human species
Deep ecology (the right to survival of organisms/ecosystems regardless of human impact)
Reverse the damage and preserve what’s left
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7. From your discipline's perspective, what are the obstacles to an ecologically- and human-inclusive urban environment?
(1=biggest obstacle; 12=smallest)
Public apathy
Lack of effective policy or political will
Lack of respect/ understanding of the potential for improving ecological function
Inadequate trans-disciplinary culture in the design process
Academic (science, engineering, design) model which inhibits significant trans-disciplinary collaboration
Lack of respect/ understanding for other disciplines
Cost of green technology implementation
Dominance of individual discipline(s) in the design process
Academic (science, engineering, design) model which inhibits real-world application
Ignorance of available technologies
Lack of (economic) incentives
Insufficient transfer (marketing and education) of technologies and ideas across disciplines
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8. Which green strategies do you think would be most effective and appropriate for improving ecosystem services in your region's cities?
(1=highest; 7=lowest)
Urban wetlands/ streams/ riparian systems
Community gardens/ allotments
Urban parks (conventional green open space)
Urban natural open areas (meadows, forests, prairies etc)
Street trees
Green roofs and green walls
Stormwater features (retention ponds, rain gardens, bioswales)
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9. In your experience, which discipline(s) were/ are lacking in your training and education that would MOST benefit your current or future profession? (Please select no more than 3 choices)
10. What are the most important cultural benefits of an ecologically functioning city?
(Please consider all demographic groups: elderly, youth, minorities, etc)
(1=most important; 6=least)
Cultural connectedness (regional sense of place)
Better knowledge/ respect for the natural world
Recreational opportunities (passive or active)
Exemplification of civic commitment to sustainability principles
Community development and place-making
Sense of connection with the natural world
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