Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (745.0 KB bytes)

Title: A social assessment of urban parkland: Analyzing park use and meaning to inform management and resilience planning

Author: Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Johnson, Michelle L.;

Date: 2016

Source: Environmental Science & Policy.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Globally, municipalities are tackling climate adaptation and resilience planning. Urban green space has crucial biophysical buffering capacities, but also affects social interactions and human well-being. This paper considers the social dimension of urban green space, through an assessment focused on park use, function, and meanings, and compares results to categories of cultural ecosystem services. We develop a mixed-method approach for assessment of uses and social meanings of parkland and pilot this method in 2140 acres of parkland in waterfront neighborhoods surrounding New York City's Jamaica Bay, an area heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy. This method combines observation of human activities and signs of prior human use with structured interviews of park users. We find that urban parkland is a crucial form of 'nearby nature' that provides space for recreation, activities, socialization, and environmental engagement and supports place attachment and social ties. We show that parks, through their use by and interactions with humans, are producing vital cultural ecosystem services that may help to strengthen social resilience. Certain services were more easily detectable than others via our assessment technique, including recreation, social relations, and sense of place. The assessment method was designed to be spatially explicit, scalable, and replicable; natural resource managers engaged in park management and/or resilience planning could apply this method across individual sites, in particular districts--such as vulnerable waterfront areas, and citywide. This study demonstrates a way in which cultural ecosystem services and an understanding of social meaning could be incorporated into park management and resilience planning.

Keywords: Cultural ecosystem services, Social assessment, Resilience planning, Park management, Social meaning

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Sonti, Nancy F.; Johnson, Michelle L. 2016. A social assessment of urban parkland: Analyzing park use and meaning to inform management and resilience planning. Environmental Science Policy. 62: 34-44.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.