Relict ecosystems in urbanized contexts. Challenges and opportunities to renature cities, ecological restoration, and biodiversity enhancement through planning for sustainability.

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Abstract Summary
How can planning assist cities to transit from natural resources consumer and waste producers that impact the environment, into natural spaces that enables ecological processes that support life, sustains flora and fauna, enhance biodiversity, and promote sustainable development values? This paper argues this can be done through comprehensive planning strategies that promote a regional and urban environmental development project that enhances renaturing cities from an ecological restoration base. By presenting a case study on a protected area, located in Morelos, Mexico, now embedded into an urbanized context, this explorative research reflects on the challenges and opportunities of relict ecosystems to trigger leverage: renature cities, ecological restoration, biodiversity enhancement, and urban metabolism retrofit. The paper analyzes in a relational manner the challenges ecosystems which formerly ranged over a vast expanse, but are now narrowly confined in urbanized contexts face: informal settlement on core protected areas; environmental pollution, as natural elements such as rivers have become the dump of urban flows; biodiversity loss. The methodology is based on different concepts, methods, and techniques, coming from urban environmental disciplines, which have been conveniently integrated. A body of relational matrices has been developed, to analyze the urban –environmental variables as a whole. This methodology allows us to qualify and to quantify the local and regional environmental impact of cities on protected areas and offers a quick assessment of urban sustainability, which includes metabolic flows. The vision of environmental services, river restoration, urban biodiversity enhancement, are also considered into the study. As a result of the analysis, the paper envisages the opportunities to renature cities by linking relict ecosystems in a way that urban development strategies can assist recovering the structure and functionality of ecosystems, and through this ecological restoration increase urban biodiversity, environmental conservation, and protection, and give cities esthetic naturalness. By doing so, this piece of work shed light on new ideas that can break down silos between urban and environmental planning and get to a more holistic and sustainable perspective approach to city-making.
Abstract ID :
ISO260
Submission Type
Researcher
,
Conacyt-El Colegio Mexiquense
Protected Area Director
,
Sustainable Development Secretary

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