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Lecture 6

Urban Ecology Lecture 6

3 pages101 viewsFall 2011

Course Code
Andre Sorensen

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Urban Ecology / Urban Political Ecology Lecture 6
Urban Ecology Basics:
Ecology OF cities not ecology IN cities people used to consider ecology just as places
outside the city like agriculture
Cities function as ecosystems relation of people to their surroundings (e.g. environment)
Closed and open loops:
Closed loops e.g. the globe except for sun light
Open loops huge amount of water, energy sources, food and manufactured goods flow into
the city and it is then transformed with wastes (sewage, garbage) that flow out
CITIES ARE DISRUPTORS take high level of energy matter and use it up to produce
low level degraded wastes that cannot be reused again as inputs of energy
Global wastes such as greenhouse gases are the results of cities disruptions
Search of wastes sinks pattern of development of cities (instead of finding better ways of
reducing waste people keep trying to find more landfills for our wastes)
Landfills extremely toxic, thus waste disposal in landfills become more expensive
Raw materials become more expensive e.g. copper
Sorensons example: stripping the heating elements made out of metals because they are
GOAL: trying to make cities to become closed loops so that outputs that we generate can be
decomposed and used again (use as inputs) instead of accumulating useless output
Cities as flows:
Urban Ecology look at cities where there are flows of energy just like ecosystems with
flows of nutrients
energy! (fossil fuels, natural gas, even food!) Dominant characteristic of city
Oil that we extract >> Oil that we discover
If production of oil levels off which is inevitable, and consumption continues to increase
then prices will go up oil production will PEAK PRICES WILL GO UP
Volume of total energy that we get from oil is HUGE therefore we cannot find anything to
replace it ... we cannot run replaces with North American without energy from oil
Will we be able to develop alternative energy in time to replace oil?
Cities if something is cheap, we use more of it (shapes the way cities function)
Flows of Energy:
Public transit very energy intensive but less than those of cars
Co-generation heat as a by-product, generate electricity on small scale
e.g. nuclear power plant (cooling towers) cycling water to condense steam, burning coal
Co-generation is the idea that you generation electricity on a small scale and make use of
that heat to warm houses instead of just generating it as by-product (by burning natural
gas) therefore, efficiency gain! Why arent we doing this in North America?
Its just so cheap here already and its just not worth it
live better electrically building cheap buildings incentives VERY WASTEFUL !
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