Homogeneity of urban biotopes and similarity of landscape design language in former colonial cities

Maria E. Ignatieva, Glenn H. Stewart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: When the Anglo settlers set out to establish colonies in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand they were attempting to create a ‘new England’, a purified British society transplanted to another land. These countries have a lot in common in history, demography and interconnections: they are Anglo ‘colonies of settlement’ (unlike ‘colonies of Empire’) where Europeans dispossessed and almost exterminated the earlier inhabitants (Diamond, 1997; Dunlap, 1999). In the case of the United States and Canada there were also other significant European settlement influences such as French, German, Dutch and Spanish. In the nineteenth century the settlers made themselves at home in these new lands by making it like home. They used European plants and animals and tools of industrial civilisation to transform the countryside with a speed and thoroughness never seen before and on a scale that has never been repeated. The destruction of native ecosystems was a central process, eclipsed only by the subsequent enthusiasm for importing mammals and birds for sentiment and sport. Both had dire biological and social consequences. Changing the land was not an event but a process characterised by a set of actions that created a suite of landscapes. The transformation was most complete around settler homes. European grasses spread to picket fences, roses and lilacs bloomed in North American yards, primroses and other English flowers by Australian and New Zealand homes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcology of Cities and Towns
Subtitle of host publicationA Comparative Approach
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780511609763
ISBN (Print)9780521861120
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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