Recommended Reading: Urban Ecology

In the growing field of urban ecology, scientists study cities as if they were ecosystems. With cities launching efforts to slash carbon emissions, reduce water use and improve habitats, scientists are beginning to evaluate how such policies affect the overall health of the urban environment.

Did you know the nation’s cities are home to 80% of the population? Even so, it’s unfortunately still a serious challenge to educate most urbanites about making their environment more sustainable.

To deal with growing urban problems, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the U.S. Forest services have been investing a significant amount of money to encourage bold, new research project in this area. These NSF grants are called Urban Long-Term Research Areas: Exploratory (ULTRA-Ex) and scientists are hopeful that they will be the first step towards fostering a much-needed research network for long-term projects in urban ecology.

One of these grants makes it possible for Cleveland, Ohio sisters, Jessica and Emmy Levine to transform an asphalt lot into an impressive urban garden.

Learn more about how ecologists are exploring how people, buildings, wildlife and pollution interact in the world’s cities here.