The application of the principles of ecology to a study of urban environments. See also human ecology. Urban ecologists look at individual areas of the city in the context of the whole city, and focus on the way a population organizes itself, and the way it adapts to change. Just as ecologists study the way in which an ecosystem seeks to re-establish equilibrium after a sudden alteration, so urban ecologists assume that people will try to re-establish equilibrium after sudden change. Urban ecology has been criticized by many; among them E. Fowler (1996), but Longley (2005) PHG 29, 1 detects some rehabilitation in urban ecology and social area analysis.