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Scientists & Staff

Paul H. Gobster

Paul H. Gobster

Research Social Scientist
People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy
1033 University Place, Suite 360
Evanston, Illinois 60201-3172
Phone: 847-866-9311 x16

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Current Research

My research broadly addresses the question: How can we design, plan for, and manage landscapes to sustain mutually beneficial relationships between people and ecological systems? The context for much of my work has been park and forest landscapes in urban settings. I am focusing on three interrelated topic areas:

  1. Perception and experience of landscapes: how people perceive and experience parks and forests, including issues of aesthetics, psychological restoration, and physical activity.
  2. Meanings of nature: how nature is understood and valued by different individuals and stakeholder groups and how these values can be incorporated into landscape restoration and management.
  3. Access and equity issues: how knowledge of the cultural dimensions of landscape to provide better and more equitable access to nature, leisure, and open space opportunities for diverse populations.


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ph.D. Land Resources, 1987
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S. Landscape Architecture, 1983
  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, B.S. Regional Analysis, 1978

Professional Organizations

  • Landscape and Urban Planning, Editor-In-Chief (2010 - Current)
  • Environmental Design Research Association, Member (2008 - Current)
  • Natural Areas Association, Member (2008 - Current)
  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources, Member (2007 - Current)
  • Environment and Behavior, Journal Editorial Board Member (2006 - Current)
  • Environmental Policy and Culture Program, Northwestern University, Adjunct Lecturer (2006 - Current)
  • Ecological Restoration, Journal Editorial Board Member (2000 - Current)
  • Society for Ecological Restoration International, Member (2000 - Current)
  • American Society of Landscape Architects (Fellow), Member (1987 - Current)

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Models for Ecological Restoration in Urban Areas: Lessons From the USA and Europe (2010)
NRS researchers Paul Gobster and Lynne Westphal and a German colleague, Matthias Gross, analyzed urban restoration projects and developed several alternative models that articulate the various possible types of restoration projects.

Perceptions of Crime and its Impacts on the Use of Urban Parks by Latino Residents (2010)
NRS scientist Paul Gobster examined how the perceptions of Latino residents in two inner-city Chicago neighborhoods affected their use of outdoor recreation environments and how they responded.

Last updated on : 12-Jun-2015