New York City

In 2007, research scientists Erika Svendsen and Lindsay K. Campbell from the NYC Urban Field Station joined up with sociologist Dana R. Fisher to create a method of assessing and mapping civic stewardship throughout New York CIty.These researchers took advantage of emerging technologies in spatial and network mapping as well as established sociological methods in tracking organizational behaviors. By the end of 2007, the activities and locations of hundreds of stewardship groups were mapped and accounted for, representing a broad spectrum of care for a dense urban environment. This map, referred to as STEW-MAP, was used to better understand the impact and capacity of environmental action. It has inspired many others to collect their own STEW-MAP data noting that is truly data from the grass-roots that demonstrates the depth and breadth of how people join together to care for their everyday landscape.

The 2007 STEW-MAP survey resulted in a public map of 500 groups that take care of all five boroughs. These resources continue to be live on NYC OASIS in map and searchable database form.

The research found that there hundreds of groups citywide that range from informal, groups of friends and neighbors to professionalized organizations with large budgets and staff. These diverse groups care for different components of the urban ecosystem, including vegetation - such as parks, community gardens, street trees, the built environment -- including green buildings, and waterways and waterfronts. Across this network, we identified key organizations that serve as brokers, connecting resources and information across sectors and scales. To read the original research, see publications.

The 2007 STEW-MAP data are regularly used by umbrella civic organizations and government agencies to identify groups for collaboration and to understand the broader civic stewardship landscape. To read more about how these data were used, read our impact stories here.

Last modified: June 25, 2019