Nature is frequently thought to be found only “out there” beyond the city. However, “in here” conservation of many species requires protection of their habitats in urban areas, as does maintenance of the quality of life in cities. This course explores the many issues that arise from the recognition that cities too have natural values that can be protected, restored, or even created. The course is divided into three parts. First is an introduction to the ecology of cities and our knowledge about the factors that affect the distribution and persistence of plants and animals in urban landscapes and the role they play in human experience. Second is an exploration of the major threats to urban biodiversity and their interaction with human attitudes and practices. Third is the review of controversies and successes of urban nature education, restoration, and conservation projects in the Los Angeles basin, with a concentration on design at local to regional scales.
This course will be offered every other Spring semester.