The dynamic spatiality and capacity of civic environmental stewardship: analyzing New York City STEW-MAP data with a temporal lens

Authors: Michelle Johnson*, U.S. Forest Service, Lindsay Campbell, U.S. Forest Service, Erika Svendsen, U.S. Forest Service
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Temporal GIS, Sustainability Science
Keywords: stewardship, temporal, networks, organization, environmental governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon A3, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Understanding civic environmental stewardship is an emerging field of research in geography, sociology, and urban studies. Stewardship organizations can assist, enable, influence, and enact actions that alter the social-ecological landscape found in cities and regions. Only recently has extensive, longitudinal data collection enabled analysis of changes in civic group structure, networks, and area of influence. Such analyses can offer insights into group and network growth, stability, and retreat across space, which has implications for environmental governance. This paper examines recent New York City Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) data from 2017 and compares it against a previous 2007 dataset. We apply a case study approach to examining individual organizations, their ego networks, and spatial areas of influence, or turfs. Organizational cases selected responded to the survey both in 2007 and 2017; we selected a set of cases that varied by group age, stewardship emphasis, and turf size. From these data, we find evidence of a dynamic landscape of civic activity, with many groups growing in network influence, spatial extent, and professionalization, while fewer groups stayed static or ceased to exist. We also find differences in group mission over time, indicating an evolution of purpose and approach. We identify and explore different drivers of change that influence civic stewardship groups, including changes in municipal sustainability policies, acute shocks, and chronic stresses. We conclude by raising questions around stewardship capacity and the relationship of group influence to the issues of a particular time and place

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