Research Seminar: Wednesday October 17, 2012

In conjunction with the NY Urban Field Station and the US Forest Service

Greening in the Red Zone

Keith Tidball, Ph.D., Civic Ecology Lab, Cornell University

Access to green space is understood to promote human health, especially in therapeutic contexts among individuals suffering traumatic events. Less understood is the how the act of creating and caring for such places plays a role in promoting neighborhood health and well-being within a larger social-ecological system. Researcher and practitioners from around the world have come together to explore this notion, and more specifically, the idea of social-ecological resilience, in a new collection of case studies, entitled, “Greening in the Red Zone.” The books co-editor, Keith Tidball, will present excerpts from this work in an effort to explore the act of greening in promoting and enhancing human recovery, and perhaps resilience, in social-ecological systems disrupted or perturbed by violent conflict or other catastrophic disaster. Tidball will present the beginnings of an integrated research and policy framework to explore how access to green space and the act of creating green spaces in extreme situations might contribute to resistance, recovery, and resilience of social-ecological systems.

Cultivating a System of Stewardship

Erika Svendsen, Ph.D., NYC Urban Field Station, U.S. Forest Service

Many urban environmental groups have grown less content to participate in urban environmental planning through traditional means of public participation, preferring the hands-on role of a civic steward. While stewardship still includes neighborhood clean-ups and plantings, in a growing number of instances, it has grown to include formal rule making, technical expertise, fiscal management and design over a broad range of urban open space sites. Increased activities and engagement has created a highly diverse group of urban stewards, personalities and projects. Svendsen will present findings from recent studies that include new stewardship group dynamics and reveal actions by individual volunteers that operate within a larger, urban social network. Svendsens presentation will shed light on the range of environmental stewardship groups and individual actions emerging from different social ecologies and human motivations. In order to strengthen mechanisms of individual-neighborhood resilience, Svendsen argues for understanding stewardship as a social-ecological system and to cultivate the capacity of different types of stewardship groups across the urban landscape.

Space is limited. Please RSVP, or request additional information, at