Nothing is static. It is the same with cities. Thus, to investigate either natural or city ecosystems demands the same kind of thinking. It does not do to focus on “things” and expect them to explain much in themselves. Processes are always of the essence; things have significances as participants in processes, for better or worse.
This way of seeing is fairly young and new, which is perhaps why the hunt for knowledge to understand either natural or city ecology seems so inexhaustible. Little is known; so much yet to know.
We human beings are the only city-building creatures in the world. The hives of socially different in how they develop, what they do, and their potentialities. Cities are in a sense natural ecosystems too –for us. They are not disposable. Whenever and wherever societies have flourished and prospered rather than stagnated and decayed, creative and workable cities have been at the core of the phenomenon; they have pulled their weight and more. It is the same still. Decaying cities, declining economies, and mounting social troubles travel together. The combination is not coincidental.
It is urgent that human beings understand as much as we can about city ecology –starting at any point in city processes.
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