Urban Ecology

Urban Ecology

Have experiences about, insights into, or questions about this activity to share with us or others? Head over to the PLIX Forum Urban Ecology space! Sign up for our newsletter to be sure to hear about our next Make'n'Meet workshop. Take our Urban Ecology Mini Course.


Welcome to PLIX Urban Ecology! Develop your patrons' landscape literacy and environmental appreciation through hands-on exploration, data collection, and creation.

Workshop Structure

Each workshop is composed of three different elements:

  1. An introductory activity to spark curiosity in the topic of focus.
  2. A field exercise designed to give participants hands-on experiences with the topic.
  3. A come-together activity, where participants will work together to create a shareable artifact and reflect on what they've learned.

Learning Goals

By creating this series of activities, we aim to:

  • Provide learners of all ages with new skills to observe the ecologies of cities and suburbs.
  • Facilitate the development of a critical eyeโ€”fit for detecting environmental challenge, nuance, and phenomenaโ€”as well as an ability to imagine more safe and equitable futures for city development.
  • Cultivate a reverence for and love of placeโ€”adding value to mundane or familiar landscapes.
  • Leverage local environments as living, dynamic classrooms for fostering landscape literacy.

How these workshops might exist in your library

These PLIX Urban Ecology workshops can be used individually or as a series in which sessions build on one another. You could run all three of them, or even just one!

Some ideas for bringing these activities to your library include:

  • Run these workshops during a climate-related community event, like Earth Day ๐ŸŒŽ
  • Use these workshops as complementary education to community or library gardens ๐ŸŒฟ
  • Offer these workshops as a summer programming series for middle schoolers ๐ŸŒž
  • Borrow smaller activities from each workshop for a drop-in style public event ๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ

Share the love: Tell us how you use this activity guide on the PLIX Forum or via our PLIX Remix report form. Remember, our guide is just a jumping off point โ€” feel free change or create new design elements to suit your local community!

Workshop Guides

Below you'll find more information on each Urban Ecology workshop. Simply click one to learn more!

Sensory Nature Walk
The Tangible Ecosystem
Understanding Urban Soils

Facilitator Resources

Below you'll find resources for facilitating Urban Ecology workshops. Simply click one to learn more!

Urban Ecology Reading List
Urban Ecology Video Resources

What We โค๏ธ About This Activity

  • Offers the chance to understand ecology through creation. Activities encourage hands-on crafting and visualization of interactions and processes within your local ecosystem.
  • Encourages peer exploration and discussion. Participants work together to explore local habitats and share what they observe.
  • Facilitates the development of heightened sensesโ€”fit for detecting and interpreting environmental challenge and nuance.
  • Cultivates a reverence for and love of placeโ€“adding new interest to mundane or familiar landscapes.
  • Encourages civic engagement, as participants learn to imagine more safe and equitable futures for town and city development.

About PLIX Urban Ecology

These workshops were originally designed as a series of community-oriented experiential learning sessions intended to combat the disregard for nature in and of cities. It was later expanded and adapted for the public library setting in collaboration with the PLIX team. The ultimate objective of this series is to support learners of all ages to further understand local urban ecology by employing a systems-level, nature-conscious, and playful approach to learning.

Other ways to engage with the Urban Ecology program:

The Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX) is a project of the MIT Media Lab Digital Learning & Collaboration Studio. Except where otherwise noted, all materials on this site are licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Accessibility.