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Urban Form & Governance: A Human Ecology

Joe Lambke contributed a human ecological perspective on urban form to Danielle Allen's Harvard Public Policy graduate course. Much of the discussion was based on the white paper jointly proposed with Jieling Liu titled: "Urban Form & Governance: A Human Ecology"


Twentieth-century urban challenges gave rise to a dominant form: single-peaked city surrounded by suburbs. As this urban form grew, evidence indicates it has been increasingly inflexible to perturbations and prone to traumatic events. Research about Urban Ecology is about non-human activities in cities. We aim to include the study of people and their organizational processes into “Urban Ecology.” What is a healthy urban form in 21st-century metropolises, and how does human ecology contribute? A review of past urban models and architectural thought is the basis to include humans in a resilient urban ecology. A theoretical lens of information processing illustrates a more polycentric and multi-level urban form, which uses iterative governance. We are testing these theories in two North American projects, where Urban Villages fill a void of governance units at small scales in metropolises. We propose a more effective human feedback loop enabled by these Urban Villages contributes to healthy urban ecology.

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