How to Design an Urban Ecological Landscape: Sustainability, Efficiency, and Harmony?

  • Ranhao SunEmail author
  • Liding Chen


Urban areas are rapidly expanding across the world, causing many negative environmental effects. A challenge for reaching a sustainable urban socio-ecological system is to understand how urban landscapes could be designed and managed to minimize adverse impacts. Urban ecological landscapes are products of ecological planning and design considering landscape patterns and their related ecological processes across various spatial scales. In this chapter, we firstly introduce the definition of ecological landscape that can be considered as an anthropogenic or managed landscape. Second, we discuss the characteristics of ecological landscapes highlighting their three major aspects, i.e., sustainability, efficiency, and harmony. Last, we develop some guidelines for ecological landscape design that is based on a questionnaire survey we conducted in order to understand the public opinions regarding ecological landscapes. The questionnaires covered various issues such as overall understandings, knowledge of connotation and features, difficulties and challenges, and evaluation guidelines and criterions of urban ecological landscapes. The findings from this work can help develop a conceptual framework for urban landscape studies and also serve as guidance for urban landscape design.


Landscape design Landscape sustainability Ecosystem service Urbanization 



The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant # 41471150).


  1. Calkins M (2005) Strategy use and challenges of ecological design in landscape architecture. Landsc Urban Plan 73(1):29–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cao Y, Hasi BG, Song DM (2002) A review on the concept, characteristic and assessment of landscape health. Chin J Appl Ecol 13(11):1511–1515Google Scholar
  3. Cassidy R (2003) White paper on sustainability. Build Des Constr 1–48Google Scholar
  4. Chen S, Wang J, Zhan ZY (2004) Study on ecological landscape and its integration with the city form. Prog Geogr 23(5):67–77Google Scholar
  5. Cheng Z, Sun Y, Yang LY (2011) The eco-environmental evaluation of communities in Changzhou. Environ Sci Manag 36(1):170–174Google Scholar
  6. Forman RTT (1995) Land Mosaics: the ecology of landscapes and regions. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fu BJ, Chen LD, Ma KM, Wang YL (2011) Landscape ecology principles and applications, 2nd edn. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  8. Gao JX, Tian MR (2007) Discussion on ecological community, the sustainable development mode for urban communities. China Dev 7(4):6–10Google Scholar
  9. Georgescu M, Morefield PE, Bierwagen BG, Weaver CP (2014) Urban adaptation can roll back warming of emerging megapolitan regions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118:2909–2914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Givoni B (1997) Climate considerations in building and urban design. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Housing Industrialization Promoting Centre of Ministry (HIPCM) (2001) Outlines and technical principles for green ecological residential quarter construction. Hous Sci 6(9):3–10Google Scholar
  12. Kuitert W (2013) Urban landscape systems understood by geo-history map overlay. J Landsc Arch 8:54–63Google Scholar
  13. Lovell ST, Johnston DM (2009) Creating multifunctional landscapes: how can the field of ecology inform the design of the landscape? Front Ecol Environ 7(4):212–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lund A, McMillan J, Kelly R, Jabbarzadeh S, Mead DG, Burkot TR, Kitron U, Vazquez-Prokopec GM (2013) Long term impacts of combined sewer overflow remediation on water quality and population dynamics of Culex quinquefasciatus, the main urban West Nile virus vector in Atlanta, GA. Environ Res 129:20–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Makhzoumi J (2000) Landscape ecology as a foundation for landscape architecture: application in Malta. Landsc Urban Plan 50:167–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Makhzoumi J, Pungetti G (1999) Ecological landscape design and planning: the mediterranean context. E & FN Spon, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Mayer P, Grimm N, Lepczyk C, Pickett S, Pouyat R, Warren P (2010) Urban ecosystems research joins mainstream ecology. Nature 467(7312):153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McCuskey SA, Conger AW, Hillestad HO (1994) Design and implementation of functional wetland mitigation: case studies in Ohio and South Carolina. Water Air Soil Pollut 77(3–4):513–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McHarg IL (1971) Design with nature. Doubleday, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Nassauer JI (2004) Monitoring the success of metropolitan wetland restorations: cultural sustainability and ecological function. Wetlands 24(4):756–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rosenzweig C, Solecki W, Hammer SA, Mehrotra S (2010) Cities lead the way in climate-change action. Nature 467(7318):909–911CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Smida J (2003) The reality of green: readers speak out on building with sustainable materials and techniques. Design/Build BusinessGoogle Scholar
  23. Szenasy SS (2002) Metropolis magazine survey, teaching green. International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Termorshuizen JW, Opdam P, van den Brink A (2007) Incorporating ecological sustainability into landscape planning. Landsc Urban Plan 79(3–4):374–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tian MR, Gao JX, Zhang B, Qiao Q (2007) Study on assessment index system of ecological community. Res Environ Sci 20(3):87–92Google Scholar
  26. United Nations (2010) Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). World urbanization prospects: the 2009 revision. Last accessed 1 Feb 2018
  27. Wang RS, Li F (2006) Urban ecological management. J Chin Urban For 4(2):8–13Google Scholar
  28. Wang RS, Ye YP (2004) Eco-city development in China. Ambio 33(6):319–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Weddle A (1967) Techniques of landscape architecture. William Heineman Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
  30. Yu KJ, Li DH, Ji QP (2001) Ecological design for landscape and city: concepts and principles. Chin Landsc Arch 17(6):3–9Google Scholar
  31. Zhao CJ, Fu GB, Liu XM, Fu F (2011) Urban planning indicators, morphology and climate indicators: a case study for a north-south transect of Beijing, China. Build Environ 46(5):1174–1183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zhou CB, Dai X, Wang RS, Huang JL (2011) Indicators for evaluating sustainable communities: a review. Acta Ecol Sin 31(16):4749–4759Google Scholar
  33. Zhou JF, Zeng GM, Jiao S, Yang F, Zhu H, Li Q, Xiong Y, Tang L (2005) On uncertainties of indicating system for eco-environmental evaluation of residential communities. J Saf Environ 5(2):24–27Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional EcologyResearch Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations