Cities In Crisis: Ecological Transformations

February 04, 2013

Cooper Union Stock Photo
On the one hand, cities can be the epitome of sustainability, reaping the benefits of proximity, efficiency, and innovation. On the other hand, they can be graveyards of dreams and sources of contamination. In Cities In Crisis: Ecological Transformations, six lectures at The Cooper Union, Dr. Steward Pickett, past President of the Ecological Society of America and a plant ecologist with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, will present an integrated view of cities from an ecological perspective and explore the frontiers of promoting the transformation of a more sustainable urban trajectory.
 
Mondays
FEBRUARY 11 - MARCH 18, 2013
In the Great Hall of the Cooper Union
 
6:30 TO 8PM
Free and Open to the Public

FEBRUARY 11
Globalization & the Changing City
What is urbanism? What is urban from an ecological perspective? How is the urban reality evolving in a global era? What is the nature of contemporary urban crisis? How can that crisis be met as an opportunity?

Cities as Ecosystems
How do ecologists think about cities? What ecological processes occur in cities? What’s wrong with the idea of open space in cities?
 
Natural Disturbance and the City
How common is natural disturbance in the urban context? What is the nature of natural hazard in cities? How does this play out in terms of social and other kinds of vulnerability?
 
From Sanitary to Sustainable City
How did the “sanitary city” solve social and environmental problems? What are the limits to the sanitary strategy? How does the sustainable city envision solving the problems of the sanitary city, or even of cities that are created from scratch?
 
Ecology for Urban Design
What does ecology have to say to urban design? What ecological principles underwrite ecological urban design? How do the ethics of sustainability shape ecological application in cities?
 
A Land Ethic for the Urban Era
Does Aldo Leopold’s ethical viewpoint apply to cities? Is there a problem with our contrast between wilderness and “urbanness”? How do we facilitate the benefits of cities and incorporate them into ethical urban thinking?

 

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.