Urban forestry and the eco-city: today and tomorrow
In 1990, the Chicago Academy of Sciences held a conference, Sustainable Cities: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity, which led to the publication of a book entitled The Ecological City (Platt et aI., 1994). This symposium differed from others on cities at that time by focusing principally on cities as habitats for biodiversity. The thrust of the symposium was that interactions between people and nonhuman biological entities in urban landscapes had not received much scientific attention and warranted increased ecological investigation. More than a decade later in Shanghai, the International Meeting on Urban Forestry and Eco-Cities conference explored the role of urban forestry in creating more environmentally sound cities that enhance people's quality of life. During the interval between these two symposia, urban ecology has rapidly developed as an ecological discipline exploring the myriad elements that comprise an urban landscape. No longer are urban ecologists trying to convince the ecological community that urban landscapes are important and productive subjects for research, trying to convince planners that ecological concepts need to be incorporated into urban design, or trying to convince environmental managers that a multiple scale approach is needed to manage ecological goods and services and to restore habitats. However, this symposium also revealed that implementation of these principles can be ' difficult for a variety of reasons, not the least of. which is that we still do not understand the nuances of the political and socioecological interactions that affect the structure and function of urban landscapes and how they can be influenced to improve environmental conditions citywide (e.g., Perkins et aI., 2004).