Posts

The Evolution of Urban Heterogeneity Thinking

The heterogeneity of cities has been acknowledged as one of their most striking features for a very long time.  Spatial heterogeneity characterized the ancient, cosmologically oriented cities of the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas (Lynch 1960; e.g. Fig. 1).  Social heterogeneity of cities, compared to rural village life, was recognized by the founders of […]

Why Come to Africa to Fully Understand Urbanization?

The transformation of the Earth’s human population to a predominantly urban home is one of the major milestones of the 21st century.  While urbanization in industrialized regions such as the United States and northern Europe has been intense for more than a century, understanding global urbanization requires that we look beyond the cities of those regions.  […]

Theory of Urban Heterogeneity

In order to plan for the next phase of BES, we are beginning to consider theoretical frameworks.  Here is the current status of that search. A Multitude of Urban Theories.  There are many theories relevant to urban ecosystems.  These theories differ in their focus on specific facets of urban structure, function, or dynamics, and in […]

Baltimore and Beijing: A Learning Expedition to China

Famously Rampant Urbanization This last summer, I had the pleasure of being hosted as a Visiting International Professor by the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences in Beijing.  This center is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and is the home of the State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology.  My goal in spending […]

BES Book of the Year, 2014-2015: Gottdiener and Hutchinson, The New Urban Sociology

The previous Book of the Year focused on bio-ecological theory.  Because BES is a social-ecological research and education endeavor, the Project Management Committee agreed that this year our book should focus on social theory.  An ideal book to help all of us in the project who are not social scientsts is Mark Gottdiener and Ray […]

Does Urbanization Stop?

A lot of effort in urban ecological science around the world is now focused on the process of urbanization.  This is reasonable because the demographic, social, environmental, and economic shifts toward urban in all its forms have become dominant trends for our planet.  The conversion of land from rural or wild landscapes and covers to […]

Just One Book a Year — That’s All We Ask.

BES is a far flung, disciplinarily diverse project.  We do many things to apply centripetal force to a situation that seems naturally to be dissipative.  One centering activity is to identify a “book of the year.”  In the past, we have had two such books.  They were chosen to provide useful and interesting background on […]

Background Reading for BES Response to the Mid-Term Review

An essay has been written to help outline the needs to be met and the theoretical structure that we must flesh out and fill in to enhance intellectual integration in BES, the improved use of theory, and clearer articulation of the significance and use of long-term data in our social-ecological system. This essay will be […]

Preparing for the BES Year of Theory

As the New Year rings in, it is time to prepare for 2014 as the BES Year of Theory.  This designation highlights our concerted efforts to improve our ability to integrate across different scales of theory, from the most general and abstract, down through mid-level theories, and ultimately to specific models and hypotheses.  Further, we […]

The BES Year of Theory

Important Needs for Theory Two things are clear about theory in BES.  First, it is an extraordinarily important and well recognized tool for integration and motivation in our long-term social-ecological research and education activities.  Theory features prominently in the proposal for BES III, and we are actively exploring three important theoretical lenses as ways to […]