URBDP 489A Practical Ecology for Planners
SLN: 13731
Summer quarter, Full term 2011
3 Credits

Instructor: Julia Michalak
michalaj <mailto:michalaj>

Meeting time: Tues, Thurs 10:20 to 11:50
Location: Gould 100
Prerequisites: None
Readings: all required readings will be available online

Course Description:

Humans are transforming the ecology of our planet at a massive scale and
nowhere are these changes more evident than in the urban environment.
Planners, designers, and developers are poised to play a key role in
improving the ecological sensitivity of land use practices, development
patterns and landscape designs. Landscape ecology and urban ecology can
provide the ecological foundation for open space planning, ecological
network/green infrastructure planning, and ecologically sensitive site

Through this course, students will:

* Gain a solid foundation in landscape ecology and urban ecology theory
* Explore concrete examples of how ecological science has and can
influence planning from the site to regional scales
* Gain experience with the methods to generate ecological knowledge
through spatial analysis and field data collection lab exercises
* Learn how changes to ecological structure and function feedback to
influence human well being and policy
* Gain experience with GIS software and learn about advanced spatial
analysis tools for conducting ecological planning


This course is appropriate for anyone with an interest in understanding
how land use influences ecological structure and function and how to
apply ecological theories to influence land use planning. No
pre-requisites are required and no previous background in ecology or GIS
is needed. Students with prior experience in these fields will also find
this course useful, as we will explicitly explore the special
considerations for applying ecological knowledge in human dominated

Instructor Biography:

Julia is a 4th year PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Urban Design and
Planning and is part of the Urban Ecology Research Lab. She received her
B.A. in Biology from Carleton College and her M.S. in Sustainable
Development and Conservation Biology from University of Maryland,
College Park. Her Master’s work focused on investigating the potential
for integrating wildlife conservation plans into the land use planning
process. Before starting her PhD, she worked as a conservation planning
associate for Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, DC.

Her current dissertation research investigates how urbanization
influences forest regeneration processes in Oregon white oak populations
with a particular emphasis on seed dispersal patterns. In addition, she
has worked as a research associate with King County on a project to
understand the implications of historical land-cover changes for
watershed integrity monitoring. She recently designed and taught a
project-based course in ecological land use planning focused on
developing a wildlife habitat connectivity plan for King County.

Course Structure

The general course structure will include Tuesday lectures and Thursday
GIS or field labs. No prior experience with GIS is required. Assignments
will include readings, photo and observational journals, lab exercises
and a final exam.

Grading will be roughly as follows: Photo and observational journals
(10%), Lab Exercises (50%), Participation (20%), Final exam (20%)