Ecological Footprints of Urbanization and Sprawl: Toward a City Ethic

Dave Cieslewicz

in The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780226871714
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226871745 | DOI:
Ecological Footprints of Urbanization and Sprawl: Toward a City Ethic

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This chapter argues that cities are good for the environment. Far more land is being developed in the Midwest than would be predicted based on population growth. This reflects sprawl and the continuing hunger to live on the edge of cities (often in ever larger houses). How we live on the land matters. People living in high-density urban areas typically produce far fewer air pollutants, greenhouse gases, and nonpoint water pollution than suburban and rural residents. Ironically, people who move to rural areas and the suburban fringes professing to love nature create the very sprawl they disdain. It is argued that we should extend Aldo Leopold's land ethic to incorporate a city ethic that embraces livable urban landscapes as an effective way to protect and heal the land.

Keywords: cities; urban landscapes; urban areas; rural areas; sprawl; Aldo Leopold; land ethic; city ethic

Chapter.  3192 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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