Erik Porse, PhD

Home / Urban Ecology

Groundwater Use in Urban Development


Groundwater is an important water source in urbanized areas.  Cities across many geographies and climates, including Beijing, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Houston, Tokyo, Perth, and Lima, have all utilized groundwater to supply much of their potable water needs at some stage of development (Howard and Gelo 2002).  Groundwater provides a significant portion […]

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Managing Arroyos in Los Cabos

This entry is also posted on the Sustainable Cities International blog, which gives updates of work from SCI’s Affiliated Researchers and interns working with member cities throughout the world.  A quiet evolution is taking place in how we use and move water within cities throughout the world.  In Los Cabos, Mexico, where I am working […]

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Stormwater Management and Governance in San Francisco

An excerpt from a recently published journal article on governance of urban stormwater systems in future cities…. San Francisco provides a relevant example to understand governance changes related to future stormwater systems. The San Francisco Bay Area has a total population of over 7 million people in nine counties and is dominated by San Francisco Estuary, […]

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Urban Water and Governance


Water infrastructure is typically about pipes and bills.  Most cities have dedicated departments that manage water distribution, sewage, and stormwater systems.  Today, however, new designs for more sustainable urban development are re-considering how we deliver these services for residents.  Rather than provide and manage water through centralized services, what are the opportunities and challenges associated […]

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Infrastructure + Resident + City

I have been shamelessly behind in reading Dan Hill’s fantastic City of Sound blog over the past year for no good reasons. For anyone interested in larger questions of urbanism, design, culture, it is a must read. An older post I ran across captured a critique of an Australian National Urban Policy discussion paper from […]

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Urban Infrastructure, Ecosystems, and Eco-technological Systems

Though exploding urban populations are indicative of the massive planetary changes humans are enacting, the process of urbanization has been a fundamental trend for centuries. Rapid urbanization in North American, European, and some Asian countries during periods of industrialization since 1860 necessitated a series of innovations in organization and infrastructure in order to facilitate transportation, […]

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Urban Ecology Essays: Part 3

Urban systems are shaped by both sociological and ecological factors, which can be referred to as a social-ecological system. Urban systems also influence both social and ecological characteristics of a city. This circular relationship is understood as a feedback loop, providing context to show interconnectedness amongst the possible influencing factors. Feedback loops are at the […]

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Urban Ecology Essays: Part 2

The hydrologic cycle within urban areas can be quite different from more natural areas, and surface water runoff is one of the most representative examples of this altered cycle. In urban and suburban areas, water from precipitation and irrigation moves through the topography must faster. Urban areas contain more impervious surface, including sidewalks, roads, and […]

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Urban Ecology Essays: Part 1

The term urban can be defined quantitatively using statistics or intuitively through observation. If defined using statistics, urban areas have higher population densities and more built infrastructure. Physical representations of this greater density become apparent on a walk through any city. Urban infrastructure, including roads, buildings, sidewalks, and bridges, are organized in recognizable patterns that […]

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Components of an Ecological City

I am collecting some information for an upcoming proposal and came across three articles of usefulness.One is on planning for ecological-friendly cities, the other involves identifying the ones already doing a good job. An article from Mary Newsom at the Charlotte Observer. A self-titled writer on topics of “growth, development, urban design and urban life,” […]

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