Course Title: Urban Ecology

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Urban Ecology

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Coordinator: Edmund Horan

Course Coordinator Phone: +613 9925 3926

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 10.12.18

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course Urban Ecology you will examine urban systems as ecological systems, taking a holistic approach to the design and management of our built infrastructure, our cities and our environment. A single building, neighbourhood or city is viewed from the perspective of how an ecological system exists in nature. For example all sub-systems such as alternative energy generation, rain water harvesting, waste production, urban agriculture, waste water treatment and recycling are integrated in an input-output loop relationship that mimics a natural eco-system.  Urban Ecology embraces a multi-disciplinary collaboration bringing together many diverse fields of endeavour to plan, design and manage sustainable cities of the future. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to development of the following program learning outcomes of the Master of Engineering:

1. Needs, Context and Systems
1.1 Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)
1.2 Exposit legal, social, economic, ethical and environmental interests, values, requirements and expectations of key stakeholders

2. Problem Solving and Design
2.1 Develop creative and innovative solutions to engineering problems
2.2 Anticipate the consequences of intended action or inaction and understand how the consequences are managed collectively by your organisation, project or team
2.3 Develop and operate within a hazard and risk framework appropriate to engineering activities

3. Professional Practice
3.1 Initiate, plan, lead or manage engineering activities
3.2 Understand the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline
3.3 Apply systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

1. Recognize and argue parallels between an urban system and an ecological system
2. Investigate a case study for an eco-city embracing the urban ecology approach
3. Critically review in detail a particular sub-system of an urban system and propose strategies to enhance its relationship with other sub-systems
4. Propose and justify options and recommendations for improving an urban system

Overview of Learning Activities

The course activities are structured around on-line resources, lectures, tutorials, case studies, workshop discussions, and presentations.

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided on Blackboard, which is accessed through myRMIT. This can include lecture material, case studies, supplementary course notes, problem sheets and solutions, practice exam and quiz questions and references.

Overview of Assessment

The purpose of assessment is to determine whether you have developed the capabilities stated in the Course Learning Outcomes and selected Program Learning Outcomes. The assessment focuses on your ability to consider and present options and recommendations for solving problems related to engineering principles and practice in urban ecological systems.

The assessment will focus on written reports and presentations based on investigations of selected topics and responses to case studies.

Students develop individual project briefs for report submission and progress report mid semester - 15% CLO 2

The submitted report will be assessed for the following capabilities:
85% CLO’s 1 - 4