H. Platt is the director of the Ecological Cities Project
based at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Project is
staffed by a group of graduate students
with related research interests. We also receive support and advice
from an impressive National Steering
Ecological Cities Project is a quasi-independent program of research
and outreach affiliated with the Department
of Geosciences at the University
of Massachusetts, Amherst. It was started in 1999 by Dr. Rutherford
H. Platt, a geographer and land use lawyer, and author of Land
Use and Society: Geography, Law and Public Policy and Disasters
and Democracy: The Politics of Extreme Natural Events, both
published by Island Press. The program seeks to promote sharing
of knowledge and experience among disciplines, sectors, and urban
regions regarding new approaches to urban greenspace creation and
more details on our mission, see our organizational
diagram and project flier.
the benefit of a National Science Foundation grant, the Ecological
Cities Project is conducting a national study of new approaches
to urban watershed and estuary
management. This study is also helping to nurture a broad network
of contacts with and among urban resource managers and researchers
for the mutual benefit of their efforts and the ecological betterment
of our cities and suburbs.
a better understanding of urban ecology;
of regional experience; and
benefits of new and existing open space resources.
of regional Ecological Cities Symposia (organized locally);
on urban ecological functions and management;
among metropolitan greenspace programs;
of working papers, articles, and proceedings volumes;
through participation in conferences, media contacts, op-ed columns;
of undergraduate and graduate students in relevant disciplines.
1990, Dr. Rutherford H. Platt, professor of geography and planning
law at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, organized a "Symposium
on Sustainable Cities" at the Chicago Academy of Sciences which
explored "place-based experience" involving urban watersheds, wetlands,
floodplains, energy efficient landscaping, and urban wildlife. The
Ecological Cities Project grows out of that conference. Sixteen
papers prepared for the symposium were published as The Ecological
City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity (Platt, Rowntree,
and Muick, eds. 1994) which received an award from the Boston Society
of Landscape Architects.
first in this national series of regional Ecological Cities Symposia
was held at Boston College on November 6-7, 2000 under the local
auspices of the Boston College Watershed Institute. That event,
which was supported in part by the Lincoln Institute, creatively
blended the perspectives of natural scientists, design professionals,
and lay activists. Through invited speakers, it compared regional
experience in Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore and elsewhere.
Next, in March 2001, the University of South Carolina hosted a conference
focusing on Columbia followed by a symposium organized by the ECP
in New York City in honor of the late William H. Whyte in June 2002.
Most recently, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for
Urban Initiatives and Research hosted a conference in May 2004.
Future symposia are under discussion in Pittsburgh and Portland.