Cities of futures past: Examining the social-ecological legacies affecting urban biodiversity and ecosystem health
Featuring Chris Schell

To create a more just future for our ecosystems and societies, we have to look to our past. Past changes in our ecosystems impact present day ecosystem function, health and structure, just as historical social decisions (like policies) have longstanding legacies. Cities, in particular, provide a unique opportunity to explore the intersection where humans and their constructed ecosystems co-exist.

It is in these environments that we can interrogate how our past shapes our social-ecological present. Hence, if we hope to build resilient cities for our future, it is imperative that we deconstruct how past societal processes have shaped our ecological present.

In his talk, Dr. Chris Schell will explore how one of those social legacies enshrining residential segregation and disinvestment in Black neighborhoods (i.e., redlining) continues to influence social and environmental features of cities today.

Dr. Schell will also demonstrate how modern inequities in environmental health and socioeconomics have tangible impacts from human behaviour to biodiversity.

Watch The Lecture Video Recording

Join the Conversation with Chris Schell

Event Details

Date: Thursday, March 28

Time: 7:00 pm

In-Person Location: SFU Vancouver, HC 1700 (515 W Hastings St)

Online Location: Webinar
*ASL services will be provided for webinar attendees

Note: Seating is limited. A recording of the lecture will be made available after the event.

About Chris Schell

Dr. Christopher J. Schell is an urban ecologist, professor, Afrofuturist, father, and writer.

Research in the Schell Lab combines animal behavior, physiology, urban biodiversity conservation, environmental justice, and One Health to investigate how carnivores – namely coyotes, foxes, and raccoons – adapt to life in cities.

In addition, Schell’s lab integrates critical discourses on how structural oppression (e.g., redlining, pollution burden, and socioeconomic disparities) directly shape the very urban features associated with human-wildlife interactions, conflict, and adaptation.

This transdisciplinary work aims to disentangle how environmental injustices have structured our urban ecosystems and how we can harness those lessons to build more just, biodiverse, and resilient cities.

Schell is a National Geographic Explorer, Grist Fixer, Cal Academy Fellow and Board Member, and Affiliate Faculty with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, with his work featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vox Explained, and various NPR radio events.

A born-and-raised Los Angeleno now firmly planted in the Bay Area, Schell weaves his lived experiences as a Black man and Californian to co-produce justice- and equity-centered research programs with local communities that regenerate urban nature, environmental health, and access for all peoples.

X (Twitter): @UrbanSchell
Website (available March 1):

Lecture Topics

One Health: Connections and Collaborations