Theories and applications of Urban Ecology and Landscape Ecology in the frame of landscape design and architecture. The pattern, processes and functions of the ecological components at multiple spatial-temporal scales are developed towards a qualitative-quantitative analysis of landscape as a complex system. The landscape dynamics as related to anthropogenic influences are synthesized under the perspective of ecological network approach and environmental and landscape quality mapping
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Forman R.T.T., Godron M.. 1986. Landscape Ecology, John Wiley, N.Y.
Ingegnoli, V., Giglio, E. 2005. Ecologia del paesaggio. Manuale per conservare, gestire e pianificare l'ambiente. Sistemi Editoriali. Milano
Fuligni, P. Rognini, P. 2005. Manuale di Ecologia urbana e sociale, Milano, FrancoAngeli
Malcevschi S., Zerbi M.C., 2007. Ecosistema, paesaggio e territorio: tre prospettive complementari nel rapporto uomo-ambiente. Società Geografica Italiana, Genova,.
Ingegnoli, V. 2011. Bionomia del Paesaggio. Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano
Gergel, S. E., Turner, M. G. (Eds.), 2017. Learning Landscape Ecology. A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques
Turner, M. G., Gardner, R. H. 2015. Landscape Ecology in theory and practice. Second Edition. New York: Springer
Upon completion of the course, students will:
• understand the concepts and methods of landscape ecology as a field of study and practice;
• understanding and knowing how to apply the principles and methods of analysis and synthesis of Urban Ecology.
• understand the scientific principles that govern the reciprocal relationship between spatial pattern, ecological processes and human activities;
• relate landscape ecology to grand challenges in landscape design and architecture;
• identify and use the analytic tools, the spatial processing for specific applications;
• develop an original lab exercise to apply the above mentioned topics in a concrete case study
The course is the entry teaching phase in the MSc in Landscape Architecture: no specific prerequisites referring to the degree structure are therefore requested; personal readings on geography, ecology, vegetation and soil sciences, applied biology and at least basic practice in GIS are strongly recommended before the beginning of the course. A basic knowledge of scientific English is also helpful for a better understanding of the course development.
1. Lectures and group classwork on theoretical, technical and scientific issues in Urban and Landscape Ecology
2. Seminars and fieldwork on the methods of analysis in Landscape Ecology;
3. Studio Lab developed through individual and group practice based on a case study chosen by the students in the frame of the topics emerged during sessions of collaborative discussion
The student might develop excellent skills in data processing, spatial analysis and graphics in landscape design.
The use of computer technology (here included software ability in GIS, Geostatistics, geoprocessing, image processing, indicators assessment and calculus, landscape matrix) is highly recommended although not compulsory.
Type of Assessment
Grade will be based on a mid-term evaluation (orientation) through an individual/group (max 4 students) report on selected topics.
The final evaluation will be carried out in two steps:
a. single/group discussion of the results of the Studio lab (max 20 minutes);
b. individual in depth interview on the theoretical and methodological aspects of the course starting from the discussion of the case study (max 10 minutes)
Urban ecology addresses the peculiar issues of environmental and ecological structures in direct and indirect connection with cities. Furthermore, it refers to the urban ecological footprint in resources, dynamics and functions also related to mental attitudes and behaviors.
Urban ecology practice is developed after having introduced the fundamentals of ecology. The references to urban ecology permeate the subsequent teachings of landscape ecology to highlight the particular characteristics of urban environments with respect to natural or semi-natural systems.
Landscape ecology, a discipline in balance between geography and ecology, reflects the need for more insights into the spatial and temporal dynamics of ecological processes in the frame of a systemic approach to ecosystem theory. The shape and size of landscape elements, above either below ground, significantly influences on the multiple scale ecological functions and processes (biogeochemical flows, relations at the individual, population and community levels). In parallel, the understanding of the timing and dynamics of the landscape and its components is crucial to interpret the pattern and processes in ecology as well as to plan, design and manage any element or structure that brings the character of the landscape.
So far, landscape ecology accompanies the traditional approach of Landscape Architecture by introducing, besides the cultural and aesthetic aspects, the study of the characteristics and distribution of the habitats, natural resources and of the interactions within and among ecosystems. Landscape ecology keeps the human forms and the anthropogenic actions as historical, contemporary and future key-elements of the environment and integrates the natural processes and the human influences as co-actors of Landscape. The landscape ecology provides benchmark principles, criteria and methodologies for analysis, assessment, diagnosis, monitoring, appropriate scientific and technical tools such as indicators and models to help in solving a wide range of topics of Landscape design, planning and management: from social-cultural-environmental impact assessments (SCEIA) to the analysis and design of ecological network; from environmental quality mapping to the planning of protected areas; from expert ecological support in the design of open spaces, parks and garden to advanced knowledge of ecological history in garden and landscape restoration or management; from the collaborative and participatory tools in landscape planning and design to communication and extension in landscape-related activities.
A. Principles and diagnostics in Landscape Ecology
Introduction to the theory and concepts in Landscape Ecology.
Basics of ecology of populations and communities.
Ecosystem functions, biogeography and structural ecology at landscape level.
Space and time in the landscape: the ecological history and geography of landscape. The dimensions of the landscape and the issues of scale: shape, size, continuity and discontinuity. Multiple time of landscape dynamics and processes.
Structure of landscapes: genesis, heterogeneity, patches and matrices. Fragmentation, quasi-stability, resilience. Habitat and Ecotopes. The ecomosaic: structure and attributes. The processes of change over time and space: disturbances, ecotones, successions.
The Ecological Networks.
B. Elements of Urban Ecology
Anthropocene and City.
Ecology of urban systems: structure, functions, processes
The ecological peculiarities of cities and heavily populated areas.
Climate and urban microclimate
Urban and periurban soils
City and suburban habitats.
C. Methods in Landscape Ecology
Landscape in metrics, quality and matrix.
Crieteria, indexes and indicators.
Distance, distribution, rarity, connection, connectivity, diversity, heterogeneity. The application of fractals to landscape ecology. Applications of Geographic Information Systems ecology of the landscape. Spatialization and timing of data: from satellite imagery to the findings in the field. Metainformation and metadata. Towards a systemic approach to landscape knowledge
D. Landscape Ecology Lab
The information and knowledge structure in ecology applied to landscape design. Landscape evaluation: quality, sensitivity, impacts.
Management and conservation of landscapes.
Cultural landscapes and relationships with policy, planning and design. Landscape synergic component of natural and cultural Capital.