The City is an Ecosystem : Sustainable Education, Policy, and Practice book cover
1st Edition

The City is an Ecosystem
Sustainable Education, Policy, and Practice

ISBN 9781032108650
Published August 9, 2022 by Routledge
294 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The City is an Ecosystem maps an interdisciplinary, community-engaged response to the great ecological crises of our time—climate change, biodiversity loss, and social inequality—which pose particular challenges for cities, where more than half the world’s population currently live. 

Across more than twenty chapters, the three parts of the book cover historical and scientific perspectives on the city as an ecosystem; human rights to the city in relation to urban sustainability; and the city as a sustainability classroom at all educational levels inside and outside formal classroom spaces. It argues that such efforts must be interdisciplinary and widespread to ensure an informed public and educated new generation are equipped to face an uncertain future, particularly relevant in the post-COVID-19 world. 

Gathering multiple interdisciplinary and community-engaged perspectives on these environmental crises, with contemporary and historical case study discussions, this timely volume cuts across the humanities and social and health sciences, and will be of interest to policymakers, urban ecologists, activists, built environment professionals, educators, and advanced students concerned with the future of our cities.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

PART I: The City as Ecosystem


2. Ecology and Technological Enframement: Cities, Networks, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Matthew Crippen and Alice Cortés

3. Social Determinants of Health as a Framework for Addressing Urban Climate Adaptation

Anjali Sauthoff

4. Climate Change Policy: Lessons from Classical Rome

Devjani Roy

5. Greenspace in Small Cities: Opportunities for Sustainability Education

Greg King and Glen Hvenegaard

6. The Birds and Bees of Urban Biodiversity: Patterns, Problems, and a Path Forward

Timothy Leslie and Carole Griffiths

7. Action Research in a Tokyo Suburb: Building Community Ties through Collaborative Landscaping Projects

Mariia Ermilova, Mitsunari Terada, and Isami Kinoshita

8. Community Design for Inclusive Engagement: The Old Stone House and Washington Park, Brooklyn

Claudia Joseph

PART II: The Right to the City


9. The Right to the City and Rights of the City

Margaret Cuonzo

10. Making Our Own History: Urban Sustainability in a World in Crisis

Deborah Mutnick

11. Reconceptualizing the City in the Age of the Anthropocene

Scott Carlin

12. Industrial Gentrification and the Geography of Sacrifice and Gain

Melissa Checker

13. Futurity and Equity in Local Climate Action

Nicole K. Ciulla

14. Social Justice and Brooklyn Development: 500 Years of Struggle

Jerome Krase

15. Participatory Action Research in Rio de Janeiro’s Sustainable Favela Network: From Self-Sufficiency and International Collaboration to Participatory Regenerative Infrastructures

Leonel Lima Ponce

PART III: The City as Classroom


16. Teaching about Sustainable Living in Urban Settings: Global Citizenship and Overcoming the Arcadia Myth

Jay M. Shuttleworth

17. An Environmental Justice Lens on Indianapolis’ Urban Ecosystem: Collaborative Community Curation

Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, Laura M. Holzman, Aghilah Nadaraj, and Leah Humphrey

18. Urban Rewilding Through a Modified Placemaking Lens: A Teaching and Learning Journey

Henry Way and Rob Alexander

19. Using the Prepositional Framework for Urban Environmental Education: Teaching and Learning about the Ecology in, of, for and with Cities

Loren Byrne

20. Manitoba Hydro’s Mega-Dams and the Ethical Teaching of Ceramics and Sustainability

Mary Ann Steggles

21. Resilience for Sustainability Everywhere: Critical Literacy for Students and Everyone Else

Alice S. Horning

22. Afterword: Transdisciplinary Urban Ecosystem Research, Education and Stewardship

Loren Byrne

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Deborah Mutnick is Professor of English at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, USA.

Margaret Cuonzo is Professor of Philosophy at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, USA.

Carole Griffiths is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus and Research Associate in Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, USA.

Timothy Leslie is an Associate Professor of Biology at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, USA.

Jay M. Shuttleworth is Assistant Professor of Social Studies at City University of New York, Queens College, USA.


"In a world where most people live in cities, charting a sustainable course into the future demands that we take urban environments as seriously as any other. This volume is filled with interesting ideas about what that means—and how it might give us real leverage against the scourge of radical inequality."

Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

"The City is an Ecosystem artfully demonstrates the sciences and the humanities working together under climate crisis conditions. With integrated knowledge around everyday concerns in urban settings, and aiming for systemic change, this volume will be invaluable to teachers, researchers and activists working on the inequities introduced by climate change."

Elizabeth Mazzolini, author of The Everest Effect: Nature, Culture, Ideology 


"The City is an Ecosystem: Sustainable Education, Policy, and Practice delves deeply into the interrelated nature of urban climate change, biodiversity loss, and social inequality. It highlights cities as socio-ecological systems with a focus on human rights, equity, and justice and identifies impactful opportunities for enhancing urban sustainability education."

Cynthia Rosenzweig, Head of Climate Impacts Group, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies