Title: Research Social Scientist
Unit: People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy
290 Broadway, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10007
E-mail: Contact Erika Svendsen
Jump to Publications
- Ph.D, Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, 2010
- M.E.S, Yale University, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 1993.
- B.A. Allegheny College, 1990
Civic & Professional Affiliations
My research interests involve all aspects of urban environmental stewardship and how systems of stewardship shape new forms of governance, collective resilience, sacred space and human well-being. I study these systems from the perspective of individuals and organizations.
STEWARDSHIP MAPPING. In 2007, Forest Service social scientist Lindsay Campbell and I developed a project called STEW-Map, a tool for mapping stewardship groups in terms of their characteristics, distributions and relationships. The first STEW-Map project took place in New York City and has since expanded to Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles. You can learn more about STEW-Map here: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/nyc/focus/stewardship_mapping/
THE GREEN, GREY AND HUMAN. In 2012, I began a new collaboration on integrating grey and green infrastructure to improve the health and well-being of urban populations. My partners and I have established a systems framework that highlights critical relationships between grey and green elements of cities and human health and well-being. By understanding the underlying structure of urban spaces and the importance of social interactions, urban planners, decision makers, and community members can capitalize on opportunities to leverage resources to improve health equity and well-being. We have published `think pieces` on this topic and are continuing to expand this work using an expanded definition of `sacredness? to understand human motivations and inspire positive change.
SACRED SPACE. Recently, my colleagues and I received a grant from the TKF Foundation, a private non-profit that funds publicly accessible urban green space. The project, entitled Landscapes of Resilience: Understanding the Creation and Stewardship of Open Spaces Sacred Places, focuses on acute disasters (such as the Joplin tornado and Hurricane Sandy on the east coast) and compares these disturbances with chronic, longer term economic disruption in our communities. We are studying when, where, how and why residents use greening activities as a mechanism for resilience and restoration. You can learn more about this project here: http://civicecology.org/tkf.php for more details.
THE GREAT URBAN OUTDOORS. Working in collaboration with NYC Parks and the Natural Areas Conservancy, we started a new research project in 2013 to understand how people use the urban outdoors. We?ve begun our work in parks, wetlands and neighborhood areas located near Jamaica Bay, New York. Many of these communities were impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Observation data is currently being collected and will be integrated into a larger study designed to capture the enduring aspects of why, how, when, and where urban residents engage with the outdoors.
URBAN FIELD STATION. In addition to my current research, I am part of the New York City Urban Field Station. The field station?s mission is to improve the quality of life in urban areas by conducting and supporting research about social-ecological systems and natural resource management. It began as a partnership between the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. Here is a link to the NYC Urban Field Station site: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/nyc/
Why is This Important
We need different `ways of knowing? to create new knowledge and cultivate all types of innovation. This is particularly important as we continue to invest in green infrastructure, support ecosystems services and find ways to adapt to a changing climate. Not unlike our vast wilderness areas in the American West, our urban forests have much to teach us about our relationship to air, land and water, -- to the world around us. Understanding people, as a dynamic and persistent pulse in our social-ecological systems, is essential to shaping and improving our environment.
Please see a summary of Erika Svendsen's future research at http://www.fs.fed.us/research/people/esvendsen
- Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Svendsen, Erika; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2013. From job training to green jobs: a case study for a young adult employment program centered on environmental restoration in New York City, USA. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 12: 287-295.
- Connolly, James J.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Fisher, Dana R.; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2013. Organizing urban ecosystem services through environmental stewardship governance in New York City. Landscape and Urban Planning. 109: 76-84.
- Svendsen, Erika S. 2013. Storyline and design: how civic stewardship shapes urban design in New York City. Chapter 13. In: Pickett, S.T.A.; Cadenasso, M.L.; McGrath, B., eds. Resilience in ecology and urban design: linking theory and practice for sustainable cities. Vol. 3. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands: 269-287.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Northridge, Mary E.; Metcalf, Sara S. 2012. Integrating grey and green infrastructure to improve the health and well-being of urban populations. Cities and the Environment (CATE) 5(1): article 3.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Northridge, Jessica; Stone, Edie. 2012. Introducing a longitudinal study of community gardeners and gardens in New York City. Cities and the Environment (CATE). 5(1): article 11.
- Fisher, Dana R.; Campbell, Lindsay; Svendsen, Erika S. 2012. The organisational structure of urban environmental stewardship. Environmental Politics. 21(1): 26-48.
- Svendsen, Erika. 2011. Cultivating health and well-being through environmental stewardship. American Journal of Public Health. 101(11).
- Lu, Jacqueline W.T.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Greenfeld, Jennifer; Braden, Jessie; King, Kristen; Falxa-Raymond, Nancy. 2010. Biological, social, and urban design factors affecting young street tree mortality in New York City. Cities and the Environment. 3(1): 1-15.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2010. Living Memorials: Understanding the Social Meanings of Community-Based Memorials to September 11, 2001. Environment and Behavior. 42: 318-334.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Lu, Jacqueline W.T. 2010. MillionTreesNYC, green infrastructure and urban ecology symposium March 5-6, 2010. Cities and the Environment. 3(1): 1-2.
- Tidball, Keith G.; Krasny, Marianne E.; Svendsen, Erika; Campbell, Lindsay; Helphand, Kenneth. 2010. Stewardship, learning, and memory in disaster resilience. Environmental Education Research. 16(5-6): 591- 609.
- Svendsen, Erika. 2009. Cultivating resilience: urban stewardship as a means to improving health and well-being. In: Campbell, Lindsay; Wiesen, Anne, eds. Restorative commons: creating health and well-being through urban landscapes. Gen. Tech Rep. NRS-P-39. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 58-87.
- Lu, Jacqueline W.T.; Shane, Megan; Svendsen, Erika; Campbell, Lindsay; Fragola, Cristiana; Krasny, Marianne; Lovasl, Gina; Maddox, David; McDonnell, Simon; McPhearson, P. Timon; Montalto, Franco; Newman, Andrew; Pehek, Ellen; Rae, Ruth A.; Stedman, Richard; Tidball, Keith G.; Westphal, Lynne; Whitlow, Tom. 2009. MillionTreesNYC, Green infrastructure, and urban ecology: building a research agenda. MillionTreesNYC, Green infrastructure, and urban ecology: building a research agenda. Report from the workshop. New York, NY: [Publisher unknown]. 44 p.
- Svendsen, Erika s.; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2008. Urban ecological stewardship: understanding the structure, function and network of community-based urban land management. Cities and the Environment. 1(1): 1-32.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Duong, Phu. 2007. Land-markings: 12 Journeys through 9/11 Living Memorials [DVD]. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-3. Newton Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. [DVD].
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2006. Land-markings: 12 Journeys through 9/11 Living Memorials. NRS-INF-1-06. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 49 p.
- Svendsen, E.; Marshall, V.; Ufer, M.F. 2006. Urban field guide: applying social forestry observation techniques to the east coast megalopolis. AD Journal. 75(6): 26-31.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2005. Living memorials project: year 1 social and site assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-333. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 123 p.