Entries by emmros5_863opb

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Where is the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES)?

BES as Place Why in Baltimore of course?  But that’s not a complete answer.  Our research, education, and community engagement are of course focused on the five-county conurbation that is centered on the city of Baltimore.  There, we focus on built, modified, and native watersheds, which are perhaps better labeled catchments.  We also focus on […]

Swamps and the City: Part II

A special guest post by Prof. Grace S. Brush, Johns Hopkins University. My last post discussed how the role of people in shaping the swampy systems of the Everglades had been erased.  That erasure paralleled how biophysical processes had in the past been ignored in thinking about urban systems.  Because Baltimore is a coastal city, […]

Swamps and the City

Laura A. Ogden, of Florida International University is an anthropologist and Co-Principal Investigator of the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER.  She is also a regular collaborator with the BES community and has been involved with us and others in cross site projects concerning environmental justice, and the social ecology of lawns.  She has additional projects addressing […]

Natural Experiments of History

The title of this essay is the same as a book edited by Jared Diamond and James A. Robinson, published in 2010 by Harvard University Press.  The book explores the general method of natural experiments applied to human societies and history.  It was tempting to title this essay “Cultural Experiments,” because the emphasis of their […]

A Moving Field Guide

Seeing the World Science starts with noticing the world – what plants and animals do, the changes in vegetation over time – or in wondering what’s going on beneath the surfaces we see.  Careful observation continues as we devise instruments or methods to extend our initial view, guided by models and concepts.  Experiments are another […]

Adaptive Explanations in Cities

Cities are hard to explain, no doubt.  Within and between cities, social capital, historical contingency, economic resources, and the deployment of power are well known explanatory variables.  One kind of explanatory process, however, has been notably absent from the roster of possibilities in urban socio-ecological research.  Surprisingly, that missing element is one of the most […]

Complexity: The Hidden Nugget in Jane Jacobs’ Book

Well, perhaps it’s unfair to call it hidden.  It is after all the topic of the final chapter, entitled “The Kind of Problem a City Is.”  In that chapter, she explores the nature of cities as complex systems, stimulated by the work of pioneering cyberneticists as summarized by Dr. Warren Weaver[i].  But I have to […]

Interest in Urban Resilience: A Burgeoning Frontier

Resilience is becoming an increasingly important concept in contemporary ecological science.  Since the introduction of the resilience cycle, an open ended, ecological concept has guided the understanding of this important process (http://besdirector.blogspot.com/2011/01/resilience-ecology-evolution-and.html).  Resilience has been a major stimulus for research in socio-ecological systems.  It has been useful in understanding fisheries, and landscapes in which people […]

Does Science Need Art?

Here’s something to think about, from a recent article in the Business section of the Christian Science Monitor, one of the “newspapers of record” in the United States (www.csmonitor.com/business/2011/0323/What-do-Apple-GM-and-P-G-share-Design): The need to hire 100,000 more teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math to make American students globally competitive is so urgent that President Obama has […]