Current Research Projects
Evaluation of Philadelphia Civic Commons Sites
Using visitor surveys, resident surveys, and focus groups, we are assessing the outcomes of capital investments being made in city parks in Philadelphia.
Key survey metrics:
Personal and community park ownership
Sense of belonging
Perceptions of parks as integral to the neighborhood social fabric
Engagement with park organizations
Park projects in this study: Bartram’s Garden and Mile, the Rail Park, and Centennial Commons
Understanding St. Louis residents’ perceptions of city parks
An online survey administered to St. Louis residents will help us better understand their views of local parks, vacant lots, and gentrification.
Key survey metrics:
Perceptions of social contact in parks
Perceptions of green space ecosystem services
Park-based social capital
The overall purpose of my dissertation is to understand how discourse related to urban parks aligns with empirical evidence from park users and non-users.
Article 1: Discourse analysis of urban park investments
The current discourse surrounding public parks in cities may be inordinately positive, and distract from discussions of potential negative outcomes, such as gentrification.
I will gather news articles, blog entries, and other documents from urban public park professionals and initiatives to analyze the text under an environmental justice lens:
What is the main message?
What are the primary concerns and the primary goals of park investment?
What claims are being made?
I will look specifically for issues related to power dynamics and treatment of equity concerns.
Article 2: Discourse analysis of media coverage of urban park investments
This study will focus on the discourse created by media sources, in their coverage of park projects.
Who is represented in stories?
Is there balance in reporting?
How does the discourse differ across sites?
The discourse analysis will focus on coverage of the High Line in New York and the Rail Park in Philadelphia.
Article 3: Assessing relationships between intergroup contact and trust, civic participation, social capital, and socioeconomic integration
This study will provide evidence to assess the claims made in the urban park profession regarding potential social outcomes of park investments.
Using responses to an online survey, this study will use structural equation modeling to determine relationships between the variables mentioned above.
The findings will have implications for cities investing in their park systems.