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IALE UK 2014: Urban Landscape ecology: science, policy and practice

Posted on 10/09/2014
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At the start of September, the Department of Geography hosted the annual conference of the UK chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology (ialeUK). With the theme of ‘Urban landscape ecology: science, policy and practice’, academics, practioners and policy makers met at ialeUK 2014 to discuss how the discipline of landscape ecology can help identify sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by our cities and towns. 

Over 60 delegates from universities, government and council departments, NGOs and environmental consultancies from around the world met at Guy's campus to consider and debate the best ways to manage and restore natural environments in urban areas. Hosted and organised by Dr James Millington and in partnership with Dr Robert Francis, Dr Michael Chadwick and PhD student Ben Smith, several postgraduate students also attended including students from King's College London.

The conference had two days of presentations and posters on Mapping and Modelling Urban Landscapes, Managing Urban Landscapes, Urban Patches and Heterogeneity and Urban Rivers and Water. Topics included technical tools such as Geographical Information Systems and computer models, approaches to conservation and stewardship of urban ecosystems, green roofs and urban green space, and the influence of urban areas on water resources and aquatic habitats. Keynote presentations were made by Professor John Handley from the University of Manchester and Professor Ingo Kowarik of the Technical University Berlin. Professor Handley discussed the co-evolution of ecology and urban design while Professor Kowarik examined the biodiversity functions of urban habitats. 

On the third day of the conference attendees visited iconic sites across London, including The Shard to view London’s spatial pattern connectivity from Western Europe’s tallest building, The Thames Barrier to tour London’s vital flood defence, and Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park to explore the ecological legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. The conference was a great success and many comments and photos from the conference can be viewed on Twitter using the #ialeuk2014 hashtag. Illustrated abstracts of presentations at the conference are available online and plans are in place for an edited book that brings together contributions from attendees. 


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