Abstract

Cities are complex socio-ecological systems (SES). They are focal points of human population, production, and consumption, including the generation of waste and most of the critical emissions to the atmosphere. But they also are centres of human creative activities, and in that capacity may provide platforms for the transition to a more sustainable world. Urban sustainability will require understanding grounded in a theory that incorporates reciprocal, dynamic interactions between societal and ecological components, external driving forces and their impacts, and a multiscalar perspective. In this chapter, we use research from the Central Arizona- Phoenix LTER programme to illustrate how such a conceptual framework can enrich our understanding and lead to surprising conclusions that might not have been reached without the integration inherent in the SES approach. By reviewing research in the broad areas of urban land change, climate, water, biogeochemistry, biodiversity, and organismal interactions, we explore the dynamics of coupled human and ecological systems within an urban SES in arid North America, and discuss what these interactions imply about sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLong Term Socio-Ecological Research
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Society-Nature Interactions Across Spatial and Temporal Scales
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Pages217-246
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9789400711778
ISBN (Print)9789400711761
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Fingerprint

sustainability
biogeochemistry
conceptual framework
biodiversity
climate change
atmosphere
water
programme
consumption
city
world
land
human population
North America

Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • Land-use change
  • Socio-ecological system
  • Urban biogeochemical cycles
  • Urban footprint
  • Urban heat island
  • Urban sustainability
  • Urban water dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Viewing the urban socio-ecological system through a sustainability lens : Lessons and prospects from the central Arizona-Phoenix LTER programme. / Grimm, Nancy; Redman, Charles; Boone, Christopher; Childers, Daniel; Harlan, Sharon; Turner, Billie.

Long Term Socio-Ecological Research: Studies in Society-Nature Interactions Across Spatial and Temporal Scales. Springer Netherlands, 2013. p. 217-246.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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