Cities, landscapes, and sustainability: an urban landscape sustainability perspective

10:00-12:00, Dec 22 2021, CST; 04:00-06:00, Dec 22 2021, CET; 19:00-21:00, Dec 21 2021, MST

Video for the presentation.

Prof. Jianguo Wu is Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Landscape Ecology and Sustainability Science, School of Life Sciences & School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA. B.S. (1982) in biology from Inner Mongolia University and M.S. (1987) and Ph.D. (1991) in ecology from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA. National Science Foundation (NSF) postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University (1991-1992) and Princeton University (1992-1993). Current research areas: landscape ecology, urban ecology, and sustainability science. Authored/edited 16 books and more than 387 journal articles/book chapters. Editor-in-Chief of Landscape Ecology since 2005. Major awards and honors: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for International Scientific Cooperation (2006); Elected AAAS Fellow (2007); Distinguished Landscape Ecologist Award from United States Association for Landscape Ecology (2010); Outstanding Scientific Achievements Award from International Association for Landscape Ecology (2011); Elected Fellow of Ecological Society of America (2019); Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher 2019 (Environment and Ecology); Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers 2020, 2021 (Cross-Field).


Cities are arguably the most striking “novel ecosystems”, or more properly the most spectacular “novel landscapes”.  Cities may be the greatest achievement by humans, the most powerful ecosystem engineers, simply because they enable more than 56% of global population to live within less than 3% of the world’s land area.  In the same time, cites are also the most biologically impoverished ecosystems that devour resources and pollute the environment near and afar.  Yes, global sustainability depends critically on cities, but cities are inherently unsustainable by themselves!  Cities are fundamentally rooted in landscapes and regions with both urban and non-urban areas intertwined.  Thus, seeking urban sustainability solutions by focusing only on cities or networks of cities is not likely to be productive, although it can be intellectually intriguing at times.  Instead, actionable knowledge of urban sustainability is more likely to come from studies that focus on urban landscapes and regions in which cities are embedded.  To promote such studies, here I present an urban landscape sustainability perspective, based on a synthesis of recent advances in urban ecology, landscape ecology, and sustainability science.

Recent publications

  • Wu, J.G., X.Y. Chen, Y.Y., Li, and Q. Ma (eds). 2019. Lectures in Modern Ecology (9): Advances in Ecological Research on Urbanization and Global Change. Higher Education Press, Beijing.
  • Wu, J. 2019. Linking landscape/land system and design approaches to achieve sustainability. Journal of Land Use Science,
  • Cao, Q., J. Wu, D. Yu, and W. Wang. 2019. The biophysical effects of the vegetation restoration program on regional climate metrics in the Loess Plateau, China. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 268:169-180.
  • Fan, P., J. Chen, and J. Wu. 2019. Evolving landscapes under institutional change, globalization, and cultural influence in contrasting urban systems. Landscape and Urban Planning 187:129-131.
  • Fernandez, I.C. and J. Wu. 2019. The urban matrix matters: Quantifying the effects of surrounding urban vegetation patterns on natural habitat remnants in Santiago de Chile. Landscape and Urban Planning 187:181-190.
  • Frazier, . B. Bryan, A. Buyantuev, L. Chen, C. Echevarria, P. Jia, L. Liu, Q. Li, Z. Ouyang, J. Wu, W. Xiang, J. Yang, L. Yang, S. Zhao. 2019. Ecological civilization: Perspectives from landscape ecology and landscape sustainability science. Landscape Ecology 34:1-8.
  • Hu, G., M. Wilson, J. Wu, J. Yu, M. Yu. 2019. Decoupling species richness variation and spatial turnover in beta diversity across a fragmented landscape. PeerJ 7:e6714 DOI 10.7717/peerj.6714.
  • Huang, L., W. N. Xiang, J. G. Wu, C. Traxler, and J. Z. Huang. 2019. Integrating GeoDesign with Landscape Sustainability Science. Sustainability 11:10.3390/su11030833.