Cities are growing rapidly. Across Europe, more than 70 per cent of people already live in urban areas, including 80 per cent of the UK population. The growth of cities poses ever-increasing challenges for the natural environment on which they impact and depend, not only within their boundaries but also in surrounding peri-urban areas. Landscape ecology – the study of interactions across space and time between the structure and function of physical, biological and cultural components of landscapes – has a pivotal role to play in identifying sustainable solutions.
The 2014 conference considered how concepts from landscape ecology can inform the maintenance and restoration of healthy, properly functioning natural environments across urban and peri-urban landscapes, as the foundation of sustained economic growth, prospering communities and personal wellbeing.
Conference themes included: managing and planning urban landscapes for wildlife and people; patches and heterogeneity in urban landscapes; mapping and modelling ecosystem services (including regulation of air and water quality, as well as cultural services); and ecological connectivity of aquatic environments. Presenters included researchers, policymakers, and practitioners developing new evidence, policies, strategies, plans or projects on the ground that relate to the landscape ecology of urban and peri-urban areas. Two days of presentations on science, policy, planning and practice, with posters and networking events, were followed by excursions on the final day. These excursions include visits to the Thames Barrier, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and to the top of the Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building.
See social media from the conference via #ialeuk2014