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Building Inclusive STEM Collections: Books by BIPOC Authors (October 2022): Urban Planning & Climate Change

By Hilary Dorsch Wong, Katherine A. Hicks, and David Kornreich

Urban Planning & Climate Change

Black ecologist Steward Pickett is particularly notable for his interdisciplinary collaborations addressing urban and environmental challenges. The books included in this section illustrate his collaborations with sociologists, philosophers, religious scholars, landscape architects, and urban planners. Pickett’s coauthored and coedited volumes on urban ecology combine theoretical approaches from the social sciences with those from ecology to provide a new understanding of urban ecosystems and new models for future urban development. These works are grounded in Pickett’s foundational work on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), a long-term project funded by the National Science Foundation. The Baltimore School of Urban Ecology, coedited by Pickett with J. Morgan Grove, Mary Cadenasso, Gary Machlis, and William Burch, describes the theoretical framework that informed the BES, especially the patch dynamics approach. This is a “social-ecological” approach that transcends typical scientific research, illuminating how urban spaces operate. Science for the Sustainable City is the follow-up book, edited by Pickett again with Cadenasso and Grove, along with Elena Irwin, Emma Rosi, and Christopher Swan, which includes more practical applications of the social-ecological approach introduced in the BES, emphasizing lessons learned. The text focuses on the results of the BES, providing sufficient explanation so that reading the previous book is not a prerequisite. Topics range from urban soil development to the differing meanings of environmental justice, also introducing forest succession in urban settings. While urban design is touched upon in Science for the Sustainable City, it is the focus of Resilience in Ecology and Urban Design, coedited again by Pickett with Mary Cadenasso and Brian McGrath. In this book, contributing authors break down disciplinary barriers between ecology, landscape architecture, and urban planning, with the explicit goal of creating new frameworks to address climate change in cities. Addressed to practitioners and upper-level students of all related disciplines, the book offers a “metalogue” between those disciplines, questioning the presumption that environmentalism and urbanism are at odds. Various chapters explain the disciplines of urban design and ecology to each other and propose conceptual tools for bringing them together: resilience and adaptation, flux of water, and spatial heterogeneity, among others. The book also covers applications of such approaches in other geographical contexts, from Philadelphia to Shanghai. Readers will find a visual complement to this interdisciplinary approach in Patch Atlas by Victoria Marshall, Mary Cadenasso, Brian McGrath, and Steward Pickett. Here the BES is brought together with urban design into a multiformat work combining maps, tables, and text. Climate change is the topic of two other interdisciplinary works coedited by Pickett. Linking Ecology and Ethics for a Changing World, edited by Ricardo Rozzi, Steward Pickett, Clare Palmer, Juan Armesto, and J. Baird Callicott, and Earth Stewardship, edited by Ricardo Rozzi, Stewart Chapin, J. Baird Callicott, Steward Pickett, Mary Power, Juan Armesto, and Roy May, are the first two volumes in the publisher’s numbered “Ecology and Ethics” series. Both volumes seek to inform responses to climate change and related advocacy efforts. The first volume focuses on an “ecological worldview” in philosophical and cultural context. Including some case studies, this book is more conceptual, while the second volume explores practical applications, including examples of ecological ethics from around the world, illustrating a “socio-environmental stewardship” in which non-Eurocentric models of ecology inform environmental action. Case studies range from Japan to the Andes, incorporating religion as an asset to Earth stewardship and engaging Indigenous religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. As in the case of Science for the Sustainable City, this second volume focusing on practical applications (Earth Stewardship) is likely more appropriate for undergraduates.