New York City Urban Field Station

Science of the Living City

Emerging Scholars Workshop

Group discussion at Marine Park.  Photo by Adrina Bardekjian. Nine emerging scholars from Canada and the US gathered at the NYC Urban Field Station at Fort Totten in Bayside, Queens, NY from June 5-8 for an intensive workshop entitled 'Urban Natures: Engaging Social Science Perspectives '. Hosted by the Forest Service in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Natural Areas Conservancy, the workshop focused on late-stage PhD candidates and early career faculty to build a multi-disciplinary network of young scholars connected to the Urban Field Station.  Spanning disciplines from geography, to environmental psychology, to natural resource management, to environmental studies, all of the participants explored the connections between research and practice – and saw lively examples of this interface occurring in real time in New York City.


] Alley Pond Park. Photo by Adrina Bardekjian.The workshop emphasized sharing research in progress, using site visits in parks to explore NYC's diverse urban nature, and exploring different methods and theories for understanding urban social-ecological systems.  The young scholars visited afforestation sites planted through the MillionTreesNYC campaign at Kissena Park in Queens as well as mature, closed canopy forest at Alley Pond Park in Queens.  They also practiced methods of field observation and learned about a citywide Ecological and Social Assessment in the maritime scrub-shrub environment of Marine Park in Brooklyn.  They visited Tribute Park, a waterfront site in the Rockaways peninsula that was created by the community as a living memorial after September 11, and that was subsequently restored after being damaged in hurricane Sandy.  While in the Rockaways, the participants worked with Sandy Storyline in an interactive session about storytelling, oral history, and narrative to explore the intersections between journalism and qualitative research.


[photo:] Videoconference at Ft. Totten.  Photo by Adrina Bardekjian. The group plans to reconvene to continue the networking and work on collective products aimed at different audiences, both scholarly and applied. Participants' work spans a range of issues and site types from community gardens, to coastal restoration sites, to street trees, to parkland, but is all connected to the governance and stewardship of urban natural resources.