What’s Hidden in the New York Times Maps of All the Buildings in America?

Much well deserved amazement and attention has been heaped on the recent map of “every building in America,” by Tim Wallace, Derek Watkins, and John Schwartz, published on 12 October 2018 in the New York Times.  The Times’ interactive maps are a real treasure and a wonderful opportunity to explore the multiple geographies of the […]

Why is Urban Sustainability so Hard? The Trap of the Sanitary City

A few months ago, I was having a lively discussion with some serious and dedicated undergraduates at a university I was visiting.  The fact that they were disappointed with their training in sustainability came up — They felt they weren’t being told how to practice sustainability.  This provided an opportunity for interesting engaged discussion, and […]

Evolution of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study

Since 1997, the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) has enjoyed the support of the Long-Term Ecological Research Program of the Division of Environmental Biology of the US National Science Foundation. That support is coming to an end, but the Baltimore Ecosystem Study will live on, due to the desire of key partners who have been joined […]

Why Do Urban Ecology?

The ecological science of understanding the structure, workings, and change of urban places has three main reasons to be (raisons d’être, if you prefer the French).  One is the fact that urban systems are one of the world’s most dynamic and increasingly predominant environments.  The second is that ecological understanding can contribute to improving cities […]

How Does a Long-Term Study Adjust Its Framework while Preserving Data Integrity?

Long-term ecological research is faced with seemingly contradictory constraints: It must maintain a consistent stream of rigorously comparable data over time while at the same time responding to conceptual and theoretical changes in the disciplines underlying those data.  How can such opposing  constraints be reconciled?  BES has faced this challenge in developing its most recent […]

Seeking Applicants to Join a Research Project Focused on Green Infrastructure

Our research team has four positions available: Three Postdocs and a Research Support Specialist(“RA”) for social-ecological assessment of green infrastructure. Our interdisciplinary, social-ecological research team is pleased to announce the availability of four research positions to assist with a project entitled, “Environment, Health, and Poverty: is Green Infrastructure a Universal Good?” We use green infrastructure […]

Two Ways to Discover Disturbance

Ecological disturbance is often defined as an event that disrupts the structure of a specific system (Pickett & White, 1985).  This kind of material or physical disruption is important because it can result in changes in behavior of the system, or leave heterogeneous structural legacies that affect the system in the future (Pickett, Cadenasso, & […]

Ecology Of the City is Twenty Years Old

The phrase “ecology ofthe city” was introduced in 1997 as a simple rhetorical device to highlight the novelty of the approach to urban ecology adopted in the initial proposal for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER (Pickett et al. 1997).  We and our colleagues in the other urban LTER, located in Phoenix AZ, were anxious to […]

Outcomes of an Urban Sustainability Research Network

From 2011 through 2017, the National Science Foundation (NSF) supported a collaborative research project on “Urban Sustainability: Research Coordination and Synthesis for a Transformative Future.”  This project was jointly organized and directed by the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER and the Central Arizona Phoenix LTER.  Prof. Daniel L. Childers and I were Co-Directors of the project.  […]

What Is a[n Urban] Watershed?

Watershed are urban features Watersheds in Baltimore Watersheds are important parts of both wild and civilized places.  In both city and countryside, watersheds express the flow of water, with its power to connect places, its ability to accumulate and move chemicals and materials, its capacity to support rich biological activity, and its power to nourish […]