Ecological perspective

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Urban structure has an impact on social processes. The “ecological” perspective in urban sociology explores what happens in social terms as a consequence of the exposure of people to built environment.[1] Ecosystems, including humans living in cities and urban environments, are characterised by specific interactions.

Security related aspects and benefits

  • Environmental consequences from, for example new buildings/installations, influence citizens’ perception that, in turn influences social behaviour and reaction to both risk and security measures.
  • This is especially challenging when planning ‘secure’ urban area and infrastructure. Secure urban design must be socially and ecologically sound.
  • Urban planning is particularly forced to consider sustainable concepts to safeguard public health by reducing health risks or technical risks, but also intentional risks such as crime and terrorism emerging from the built environment.
  • Further security related ecological factors resulting from built environments are climate change and weather related natural hazards, demographic changes, population growth, urbanisation, increasing mobility, and rising propagation speed of threats. They are considered to pose major threats to society, its functioning and the built environment itself, or cause shifts in geographic scale of threats and disasters. [2]

Approaches how to address it

  • Consider and use sustainable material;
  • Prefer environmentally and ecologically sound material and construction concepts;
  • Consider secure urban area and new planning concepts to be socially (and ecologically) sound;
  • Consider ecological concepts in technical projects/solutions;
  • Consider future social and environmental needs.

Related subjects

Footnotes and references

  1. Michelson W.: Influence of Sociology on Urban Design, in: Banerjee T./Loukaitou-Sideris A.(eds.): Companion to Urban Design. London/New York: Routledge, 2011, 125-136.
  2. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Emerging Risks in the 21st Century. An Agenda for Action.Paris: OECD Publication Service, 2003. Retrieved from [last access: 2011-01-28]; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): World Disasters Report 2010 - Focus on Urban Risks. Geneva: IFRC Publication Service, 2010. Retrieved from: [last access: 2011-07-18].