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The lower end of Hutchinson River, near Co-op City in northeast Bronx. The river is highly inaccessible, but members of a local conservation group have found ways to get down to the waterfront. Photo: J. Enqvist
Urban research collaboration
Johan Enqvist, PhD student and MSc students Johanna Jelinek Boman and Ailbhe Murphy were the first to benefit from a collaboration initiated in 2016 between Stockholm Resilience Centre and the US Forest Service, established to promote research on urban social-ecological issues on the east coast of USA. The NYC Urban Field Station is run jointly by researchers and practitioners at the Forest Service and NYC Parks. By carrying out and supporting research on human-nature interactions and natural resource management they aim to improve the quality of life in cities.
During three months of fieldwork in New York, Johan, Johanna and Ailbhe sought to find out what attachment to nature drives engagement in urban settings. They found initiatives shaped by engaged communities, kids and survivors. “This is a great opportunity for students interested in urban social-ecological systems, says centre researcher Maria Tengö, who supervised the first student exchanges together with Lindsay Campbell, form UD Forest Service. “NYC provides for a great case study and the collaboration NYC Urban Field Station means access to data, experience, and excellent research collaboration around nurturing stewardship in the urban landscape.”
See below for some photos from their fieldwork:
Pictured above: In Flushing Bay, Dragon Boat enthusiasts get some exercise while enjoying the sunset over LaGuardia Airport. Dragon boating is big among the local Asian-American communities, but also among groups of breast cancer survivors who need to build upper body strength. Photo: J. Enqvist
Pictured above: Teams of 3-4 school kids are instructed to note down what types of trash is being collected during an annual clean-up at Coney Island Creek. Local environmental groups use this information to track down who is discarding the material. Photo: J. Enqvist
Pictured above: School children join a local divers’ association in the annual clean-up of Coney Island Creek, south Brooklyn. Photo: J. Enqvist
Johan Enqvist is a PhD student civic engagement in urban environmental management. He focuses on how people collaborate to reach their goals, and what role local people play in relation to public agencies and other actors in an urban context, specifically cities.
Ailbhe Murphy is a MSc student in the Social-ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development programme, currently completing thesis.