Members: Jesse Ghasti, Caila Sveinson, Caroline Grimms, Nichelle Facey, Julieta Cohen, Jessica Sutter, Marla Bigelow
Global Change and the Ecology of Cities
This article discusses the effects of urbanization on the changes in land use, biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity. The populations of cities are rapidly increasing at an alarming rate. This inevitable increase forces cities to affect larger areas of land for their needs of resources. Efforts are already put into creating denser high-rise housing. But this kind of development induces the Urban heat island effect. The creation of these high temperature microclimates needs more energy for heating and cooling purposes. These dense populated cities forces an expansion of urban footprint beyond the city limits. This affects the biodiversity that exists in those areas. The reduction of biodiversity is the most obvious effect. Animals tend to adapt to these changes in temperature, air quality and resources. As the environment changes these ecosystems either change to survive or just die off.
Urban Growth, Climate Change and Freshwater Availability
The article discusses the inevitable water shortage in growing cities in the future and solutions for this problem. Climate change and extreme population explosion will make it difficult to provide enough water for everyone. Dams and water storage can be utilized by seasonal cities. Salt water can be filtered into fresh water in cities near the coast. Agriculture can be improved so the need for water would be reduced. Plant species that need more water can be removed to increase groundwater discharged. As cities grow, technologies and political priorities need to improve to solve water shortages in these cities.
Chicago Fights Extreme Urban Heat With Greener Ideas
The video delves into the rise of temperatures in Chicago because of the heat-island effect. All the pavements and roofs absorb heat during the day and release it during the night. To lower these temperatures, green roofs are developed into the design of buildings. The government prioritizes buildings that will install green roofs when it comes to the permit applications over the other that wouldn’t to promote the reduction of the heat-island effect and reduces storm water run off. Permeable sidewalks that store water are implemented so that when the water evaporates it cools the environment around it. Other sidewalks are coated with thin film of concrete that reflects heat. Street curves are designed to catch storm water runoffs to water plants in the street landscaping. Widening pathways to encourage pedestrians to use them instead of driving is one of Chicago’s greener ideas.
Reflection: Change should always start with the government promoting a more sustainable living by prioritizing anyone who wants to part of the movement.
Grimm, Nancy B. “Global Change and the Ecology of Cities” Science 319, 756.2008 (accessed April 6, 2013)
McDonald, Robert, Pamela Green, Deborah Balk, Balazs M. Fekete, Carmen Revenga, Megan Todd and Mark Montgomery. Urban Growth, Climate Change and Freshwater Availability. Accessed March 13, 2013.
PBS News. “Chicago Fights Extreme Urban Heat With Greener Ideas – YouTube.” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukGN4PyeNoU (accessed April 6, 2013).