Applied Ecology
Back to Course Introduction Page


This is a course in applied ecology. It introduces students to collecting, interpreting, valuing, and applying site information in ways that will inform successful changes and management of the landscape. Unlike some other courses in site planning and design, this course narrows its focus to the biophysical processes that are present in all sites--the structure, function, and dynamics of interactions between organisms and their environments. While most ecological ares are covered (geomorphology, hydrology, climate, vegetation), the course is skewed toward landscape ecology.

The courses builds a vocabulary for seeing and describing site by thinking of it in a similar way to our design vocabulary--seeing "ecological space." As people, we understand our world experientially--in three dimension--in space.Yet, the important thing about any site's ecology is how it functions, e.g. herbivory, hydrologi flow, nutrient cycling, all of which are difficult to see and to understand in material terms. The course teaches students to infer these processes from spatial and data cluse, to see the landscape in ecological zones.

Students develop this vocabulary through lectures and workshops. As a strategy for amplifying these understands, students create "Built Ecologies," that is, they build a project (and a physical artifact) that helps them study the site and discuss understandings of its ecology.


Exercise 1 • Status Quo
Exercise 2 • Designing a Mapping
Exercise 3 • Staking a Bikepath
Exercise 4 •Ecological Critique + Case Study
Exercise 5 • Evaluation + Synthesis
  Copyright Kathy Poole, all rights reserved, subject to all fair use regulations, not to be reproduced or used without expressed written permission