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Special Topics in Environmental Sciences (390-0-07)


Urban Ecology


Elsa C Anderson

Meeting Info

Technological Institute M349: Tues, Thurs 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

Lecture: In this course, we will evaluate different aspects of the urban environment through the lens of a social-ecological system. Students will explore the foundations of urban systems and their intertwining with social processes and environmental justice. We will examine principles of urbanization and examine how these changes influence hydrology, biogeochemistry, climate, and ecology. We will engage with local environmental groups and sustainability initiatives, discussing ways in which urban science helps solve the pressing challenges of today to improve life in the future.

Lab: In this laboratory section, students will learn experimental design, field methods, and in urban ecology which they will use to conduct a research project in their community. Furthermore, students will participate in urban ecology field trips across Chicago that highlight themes of climate, hydrology, and environmental justice in local communities.

Teaching Method

This course will include both lecture and active discussion during class times, which will be supplemented with outdoor and field-based experiences during the laboratory section. These outdoor experiences will be a mix of required and optional elements. There will be three external field trips scheduled, and students must participate in two. Students will also design and complete an urban ecology field project, which they will present to the class during a Class Symposium during the final laboratory session.

Evaluation Method

The evaluation in this course will be based on participation and writing. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions and ask questions during field trips and will receive participation credit accordingly. Students will conduct lab exercise, analyze data, and write results for these activities and will write two longer syntheses of field trip activities (~750 words). The most comprehensive grade elements will be based on students' research projects, which will have conception, data collection & analysis, written paper, peer review, and presentation components. Students will receive ample feedback throughout the term to help them develop scientific writing skills.

Class Materials (Required)

No required textbook, course materials will be provided. Students will need sturdy boots and weather-appropriate clothing for field trips

Associated Classes

LAB - Meets in Non-General PurposeRm: Mon 11:00AM - 2:50PM