ECO2500EN - Intro to Urban Ecology

Course description

Explores the basic principles of ecology and how those principles present themselves in urban settings. We examine the historical/present day diversity of urban centers, including the benefits/detriments of such aggregation of peoples across various temporal and geographical scales. We will garner a sense of the “needs” related to stewarding God’s creation and those needs of humanity created in these environs, in particular, the one in which we live. We also brainstorm ideas of missional outreach one can develop and implement in an effort to fulfill the “dominion principle” (Genesis 1:26-28) and to further our Lord’s Kingdom.

How this course benefits students

Learners will gain an understanding of the socio-ecological issues related to the current migration of persons to urban centers. They will also explore what the Bible teaches in terms of stewardship of our Lord’s creation and how that might apply in the current and future issues affecting life in urban centers. Learners will examine the variety of missional opportunities available in these circumstances at various geographical scales. Most importantly they will explore the missional opportunities available to them in their own backyard.

Why this course is important

Urban Ecology is a course that is beneficial to the learner in that the discussion highlights where the current missional areas are located on the planet. These missional opportunities is not what one expects given historically, missional fields have been in undevelopment nations and the rural setting of a region. Today, 54% of the world population lives in urban areas. By 2050, it is projected that over 90% of the world population will live in urban centers. With the overcrowded nature of urban living, there are plenty of problems arising that need understood and solved. In addition, these circumstances create a suite of persons that are marginalized. What is it that we need to understand? What are the major problems? How will these problems be mitigated? Does the Bible weigh in on these issues and how? Learners will discover the ecological and social issues related to the influx of population into urban areas. They will also explore the explosion of missional opportunities in urban centers and especially the one they live in. Learners will discover how the Bible provides a plethora of example of urban life and how it directs believers to be good stewards of our Lord’s creation.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Ecology Studies
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Deborah Hersha, Senior Professor of Urban Ecology

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

The "dominion principle" and various other supporting scriptures will be reviewed and understood in terms of why/how stewardship of our Lord's creation is cared for. This knowledge is the basis for imagining how one can be of service to our Lord with respect to creation care and assisting others in adoption of these principles and how to put them into everyday action.

Missionally driven

Discern and determine if there are ways the individual can inculcate environmental stewardship into one's own life, resulting in personal accountability for sound stewardship and providing a model for others to follow in kind. Identify persons who are adversely affected by urban sprawl and imagine ways to intercede in their dilemma.

Contextually informed

Recognize that certain cultures and/or subcultures are unequally affected by the population pressure and the exposure to ecosystem services in urban settings.

Interculturally focused

Recognize and realize that one's sociocultural and/or socioeconomic experience may be quite different than others at various temporal/geographical scales and these differences may profoundly affect whether urban scenarios present beneficial or detrimental outcomes to an individual/group of individuals.   Brainstorm missional opportunities that might provide a more equitable solution to deleterious effects of concentrations of people in urban centers and promote a sound stewardship model for a compromised environment.

Practically minded

Define sound stewardship in creation care efforts.  Apply critical thinking and media skills in informing/communicating various stewardship strategies to those folks who need the information to promote/support action change towards stewardship and/or to affect decision-making.

Experientially transformed

Evaluate a local urban center in terms of benefits/detriments of migration to this urban center.  Identify and explore one detrimental aspect of the local urbanization and determine possible sustainable stewardship solutions and missional opportunities from an ecological and socioeconomic perspective.