UNDERSTANDING URBAN ECOSYSTEM
Urban Ecosystem is the ecological system which is located within an urban area or a city or town or any densely populated area. Urban Ecosystem is the amalgamation of the urban population, its built infrastructure along with its surrounding environment and the interactions between them. It can be seen as a modern way by which adaption can be promoted and guidance can be provided for ecosystem approaches for planning and management of urban areas and their ecosystem. By this the effectiveness and efficiency of the amenities and services being provided for the people can be improved.
NEED TO UNDERSTAND URBAN ECOSYSTEM
- As of the current situation, more than 54% of world’s population is residing in urban areas (2017) and is projected to reach nearly 66% by 2050.
- Urban areas occupy only a small portion of land as compared to the total land available but the amount of global energy consumed by them is huge and is nearly 67 – 76%.
- Industrial activities are one of the most widely practiced activities in urban areas and they consume nearly 80% of residential water and 80% of woods.
- With the increasing percentage of population residing in urban areas the chances of deterioration of urban ecosystem also increases.
- The expanding urban areas convert the biomes into residential, industrial, commercial, and transportation areas.
STRUCTURE OF URBAN ECOSYSTEMS
Urban Ecosystems consist of 2 elements:
- Biological Elements : In the biological components in includes plants, animals and other life forms of life and in addition to that, it also includes the human population, their demographic characteristics, their institutional structures and the socio economic tools that they employ.
- Physical Elements : The physical component mainly includes buildings, transportation networks, modified surfaces (e.g., parking lots, roofs, and landscaping) and the environmental alterations etc .
CHARACTERISTICS OF URBAN ECOSYSTEMS
- In comparison to other ecosystems, urban ecosystems are more warm because of high built up areas which reduces the infiltration of rainwater and show high amount of surface run off.
- The amount of chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals and other man made organic compounds is also more concentrated in these areas.
- The biological community found in different urban areas and urban ecosystems is similar, which is mainly attributed to the structural similarities in urban areas like infrastructures, buildings etc. and due to introduction of different types of activities and characteristics in urban areas for satisfying the needs of the population.
As the percentage of people residing in the cities is increasing, the need of understanding the human – nature interactions and the evolution of their interaction and relationship also increases. With increasing urbanization, the complexities, adversities and nature of this relationship increases and keeps on changing.
Urban Sustainability is the approach that aims to reduce the reliance of cities on other means and modes for satisfying its need and to power itself by making best use of the available renewable sources of energy. By this practice, the carbon footprint, ecological footprint and extent of pollution caused by the cities and urban areas can be reduced. This can be done by efficiently using the land, using the compost obtained from material, by switching to zero waste strategy and waste – to – energy concept. By this the cities impact on micro and global climate change will be reduced.
SOME STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING URBAN SUSTAINABILITY
- Urban Gardening
- Using Sustainable Approaches in construction of buildings
- Sustainable Landscaping
- Investments in Downtowns
- Food Forest