Part of the Urban Challenge Project Seminars
Urban areas are the fastest growing ecosystem on Earth, with 82% of Canadians and 55% of the world’s population living in urbanized areas. Urbanization rapidly changes environments, but the magnitude, consistency and extent of these effects are poorly understood. Moreover, the consequences of urban environmental change for ecological and evolutionary processes, human well-being, conservation of rare species, and the control of pests, requires active investigation. The focus of this Urban Challenge Grant is to address these knowledge gaps. Together, we seek to answer the question: How does urbanization shape the physical and living environment of cities at local, regional and global scales?
To answer this question, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) will be a model for understanding how urbanization affects the environmental characteristics of land, air, water and life in cities. We will create an Urban Environmental Network (UrbEnNet), in the form of a widespread and high-density real-time monitoring system of the environmental effects of urbanization throughout the GTA. UrbEnNet will also include detailed experiments and analyses that complement and validate real-time environmental data, advancing our understanding of how urban environmental change affects the physiology, behaviour, ecology and evolution of all life. The stage I meetings will be used to build collaborations and partnerships aimed at data collection, experiments, analyses, communication of our results and engagement with the public.