Encountering Zev Naveh – A force of nature
- It is really useful to think of urban ecosystems as landscapes, and landscapes can exist at any scale. There is no single landscape scale.
- Patches are actually three-dimensional things.
- Urban systems integrate biological, physical, ecological, technological, economic, and cultural components. This is summarized as his” total human ecosystem” idea. Zev uses classical terms like biosphere, technosphere, and noosphere (the global network of ideas), but insisted that they are integrated in landscapes.
- Ecology’s origin as a biological science colored its application to cities, where most attention was on what organisms were present and where. Some of us later called this the ecology “in” cities approach (Pickett et al. 1997).
- A hierarchical, systems theory approach is useful for organizing thinking and suggesting both bottom up and top down control in focal components of landscapes in general — and urban systems. This is the holon perspective long used in systems theory, for which he cites Koestler (1969), for the idea.
- Technology is a part of urban systems, so the contemporary emphasis on social-ecological-technical systems (SETS) has a deep precedent.
- Globalization is part of his thinking: He acknowledges that even then nearly 50% of Earth’s people lived in urban areas; furthermore, technology is represented as a global system, not just a local set of tools and constructions.
- Landscape ecology — and by extension — urban ecology, must be transdisciplinary.
- He calls for the use not only of ecological knowledge in improving the role of urban-industrial (fossil and nuclear added to biomass powered) systems, but also ecological wisdom and ethics. Alas, anthropologist Joseph Tinker suggests that social systems — as drivers of environmental degradation — are hardly ever voluntarily limited. Rather, the collapse with the administrative and social costs of increasing complexity.)
- Ecological knowledge is crucial for urban design, and cities need “green and watered” components, perhaps ideally constituting 10% of urban land, in his opinion.
|The total human ecosystem has a long history.|