Urban Ecology (Course)

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Urban Ecology (Course)

June 5, 2023 - June 30, 2023

Course Objective

The student will be able to:

  • relate ecological and environmental theories and concepts of relevance for urban areas and ecosystems;
  • describe and appreciate the complex and diverse relationships between cities and ecology, and between human and the built environment;
  • apply principles and concepts of urban ecosystems to analyze our surrounding urban habitats;
  • place urban areas in the landscape – describe interdependencies between urban and rural biodiversity
  • compare perspectives on urban green areas and biodiversity from ecology and landscape architecture
  • explain principles of spatial planning of urban areas for biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • address urban ecological question, resulting from above approaches, and design (field) experiments to resolve these questions.

Level 300: specialisation

Course Content

With over half of the world’s population now living in cities, cities have assumed a critical role in shaping local, regional, and global ecologies. Urban areas have an inherent ecological nature with cities and the built environment as ecosystems. This course focuses on ecological theories examining urban sites as interaction hot spots between species, humans, the biophysical environment and the surrounding natural ecosystems. We will use our campus and Amsterdam as a “living laboratory” in which students will apply these theories to field observation, case studies, and landscape perspective.

Additional Information Teaching Methods

The first part of the course consists of lectures about the theory underlying Urban Ecology. In the second part of the course the students will perform (field) experiments in and around Amsterdam.

Method of Assessment

Written exam about the theory (50%)
Presentation and/or written report about the experimental work (50%)


Mandatory reading: The Biology of Urban Environment, Philip James

Additional Information Target Audience

Keuzecursus voor tweedejaars BSc Biologie.

General Information

Course Code AB_470074
Credits 6.00 EC
Period P6
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition Dutch
Faculty Faculteit der Bètawetenschappen
Course Coordinator dr. Z.V. Zizzari
Examiner dr. W.H. Halfwerk
Teaching Staff dr. W.H. Halfwerk
prof. dr. M.A.P.A. Aerts
dr. Z.V. Zizzari


June 5, 2023
June 30, 2023


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
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