chapter  2
A future provenance
Pages 12

Although architecture has been subjected to many and varied qualifiers to indicate environmental awareness to some degree or another – green, sustainable, eco, bio – urban design is surprisingly free of them. In keeping with the linguistic slovenliness of the age, urban scale environmental terminology is irritatingly imprecise. When used at all, the terms ‘urban ecology’ and ‘Ecological Urbanism’ are used interchangeably, betraying a failure to understand the crucial difference in emphasis between the two. In the first, ecology is the noun and dominates. In the second, ecology is the adjective and does not. An urban ecologist is primarily concerned with natural ecosystems in an urban context. An ecological urbanist, on the other hand, is concerned with cities and urbanisation in an ecological context, that context being both metaphorical – the city is like an ecosystem – and literal – the city is (or can be) an ecosystem. Urban ecology informs Ecological Urbanism, but the reverse is not the case, as the majority of urban ecologists are interested in the city only as a host for – or threat to – other species besides our own.