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)
Stormwater management
Urban food supply
Urban heat island mitigation
Recreational/ visible green space
Air quality
Water quality and supply
Biodiversity/ habitat protection and creation
Climate change mitigation/ carbon sequestration
5. In your opinion, what ecosystem services should drive urban and site design?
(1=highest ranking; 8=lowest ranking)
Water quality and supply
Urban heat island mitigation
Biodiversity/ habitat
Air quality
Recreational/ visible green space
Urban food supply
Stormwater management
Climate change mitigation/ carbon sequestration
6. What is the highest ideal or greatest potential of an ecologically functioning city?
(1=highest ideal; 5=lowest ideal)
Survival of the human species
Reverse the damage and preserve what’s left
Human physical, sociological and mental well-being
Economic and resource sustainability
Deep ecology (the right to survival of organisms/ecosystems regardless of human impact)
7. From your discipline's perspective, what are the obstacles to an ecologically- and human-inclusive urban environment?
(1=biggest obstacle; 12=smallest)
Dominance of individual discipline(s) in the design process
Academic (science, engineering, design) model which inhibits significant trans-disciplinary collaboration
Lack of respect/ understanding for other disciplines
Inadequate trans-disciplinary culture in the design process
Ignorance of available technologies
Cost of green technology implementation
Academic (science, engineering, design) model which inhibits real-world application
Lack of respect/ understanding of the potential for improving ecological function
Lack of (economic) incentives
Lack of effective policy or political will
Insufficient transfer (marketing and education) of technologies and ideas across disciplines
Public apathy
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 parks (conventional green open space)
Green roofs and green walls
Stormwater features (retention ponds, rain gardens, bioswales)
Urban natural open areas (meadows, forests, prairies etc)
Urban wetlands/ streams/ riparian systems
Street trees
Community gardens/ allotments
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)
Community development and place-making
Recreational opportunities (passive or active)
Sense of connection with the natural world
Exemplification of civic commitment to sustainability principles
Better knowledge/ respect for the natural world
Cultural connectedness (regional sense of place)
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