Urban Ecosystems: Soils and the Rise and Fall of Cities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Soils, as a crucial component of the critical zone of the Earth’s surface that sustains life on land, are as essential in cities and peri-urban areas as they are in natural or agricultural environments. In this chapter we explore the idea that the properties and geographical location of soils have influenced the historical and present location of urban environments. The importance of cities to human survival and well-being is established by analysing global trends in urbanisation and urban migration and by noting that urban areas will become increasingly important for food production. The remainder of this introductory chapter presents the main topics which are covered in this textbook. Human impacts on urban soils are described in several ways, through an investigation of soil-forming factors in urban environments (Chap. 2), soil variability and data analysis (Chap. 3), ecosystem functions provided by soils (Chap. 4), changes in soil physical properties (Chap. 5), chemical pollution of soils (Chaps. 6 and 7), and soil biological phenomena in urban soil (Chap. 8). We start to consider the management of soils in urban environments in Chap. 9, which covers urban soils as a source and sink for material and some basics of risk analysis. The management theme is continued in Chap. 10 which analyses the role of soils in sustaining human health within the framework of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and in Chap. 11 which presents remediation options for degraded urban soils. Finally, Chap. 12 looks to the future of soil science in an urban context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Soils
Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples and Practice
EditorsAndrew Rate
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-87316-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-87315-8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameProgress in Soil Science
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISSN (Print)2352-4774
ISSN (Electronic)2352-4782


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