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Mapping urban ecology education in the UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Education
Early online date8 Jul 2018
Accepted/In press16 Apr 2018
E-pub ahead of print8 Jul 2018


King's Authors


Urban ecology has matured as a field of investigation. This paper explores how well it has transitioned into the educational curricula of UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by mapping the presence of urban ecological or environmental topics across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The prevalence of different topics, the level at which they are taught, and the disciplinary areas in which they are housed, are quantified. Urban ecological topics are found in programmes across 50 of 147 HEIs (34%), mainly taught in ancillary fashion to support wider subjects, though some specialist modules and even programmes do exist. Only one HEI incorporates a compulsory (core) dedicated urban ecology module at undergraduate level. Much urban ecology teaching takes place at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Applied topics are usually taught from an environmental science perspective, with common examples including urban hydrology, climate and green infrastructure; probably to address global concerns about urban sustainability and resilience. In particular there is scope for greater incorporation of urban ecology topics and themes into biological and ecological programmes, and utilising cities as labs to explore these topics. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of these possibilities.

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