Fall 2018

Katherine Lieberknecht, Ph.D.
01315 CRP 383 Tuesdays, 3.30 PM – 6.30 PM in WMB 4.118
Office hours: Th. 12.30-2.30 PM in Sutton 4.114; please sign up at
Course description: Introduction to Urban Ecology examines ecology in cities (e.g., how do urban bird populations differ from rural ones?), the ecology of cities (e.g., what are the energy, material and information flows of a city?), and ecology for cities (e.g., how do we use urban ecological knowledge to make cities healthier, safer and more equitable and vibrant places to live?) Each week we will focus on several key urban ecological concepts and then explore how to apply those concepts from a planning and design perspective. Our goal each week is to learn about urban ecology patterns and processes and then link these patterns and processes to planning and design.
Course objectives: The purpose of this course is to: 1) provide an introduction to urban ecology (UE) and its intersection with the planning and design disciplines; 2) critically examine how planners and others can support, facilitate, harness and mitigate UE systems in a way that incorporates equity, public health, community development, environmental and economic development goals.
Course requirements: The class includes lectures, discussion, in-class activities, site visits and assignments. Students are expected to attend class, complete the assigned readings and assignments, participate in class discussions and activities in an active and informed manner, adhere to the classroom conduct agreement and attend all site visits.
Details on assignments will be handed out in class and posted on the Canvas site. 
Students will be evaluated on the basis of the following assignments and overall class participation:

  1. Student/instructor introductions. Each student is required to attend a 10-minute meeting with the instructor during the first two weeks of class. A sign-up sheet will be posted online and linked to Canvas. 5% of final grade.
  2. Five three-page reflection papers,, due by 10 PM on selected Mondays, posted to Canvas. Each reflection paper is worth 10%, for a total of 50% of the final grade.
  3. A final group project or individual paper, worth 25% of the final grade, due on the TBD UT Austin final exam date, uploaded to Canvas.
  4. Class participation: 20% of final grade. Class participation will be based on class attendance, active and informed participation in class discussion and activities as well as the Canvas discussion blog, and adherence to the classroom conduct agreement.