Scientists & Staff

Paul H. Gobster

Paul H. Gobster

Research Landscape Architect
1033 University Place, Suite 360
Evanston, IL, 60201-3172
Phone: 224-999-1993

Contact Paul H. Gobster

Current Research

  • 2017-present 'Stakeholder Perceptions of Northern Dry Forest and Barrens Restoration Treatments' (Northern Research Station Research Joint Venture Agreement with University of Minnesota, BOKU University, and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point)
  • 2016-present 'Landowner survey, Buckthorn Eradication Project: Landscape Scale Restoration and Enhancement Within and Surrounding Middlefork Savanna' (for Lake Co., IL Forest Preserve District)
  • 2016-present 'Pilot study, Use Monitoring of Chicago's 606 Trail' (for The Trust for Public Lands, in cooperation with Chicago Park District, Chicago Department of Transportation, Alliance for Active Transportation, and University of Minnesota)
  • 2015-present 'Building rural community resilience in context of protected grasslands' (USDA-NIFA grant with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • 2015-present 'Assessing the Benefits of Chicago's Large Lot Program' (Northern Research Station Research Joint Venture Agreement with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in partnership with City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development)
  • 2015-present 'Landowner and Visitor Response to Forest Landscape Restoration: The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Northeast Sands Project' (Northern Research Station Research Joint Venture Agreement with University of Wisconsin-Steven Point)
  • 2014-present 'Assessing the relative importance of emerald ash borer infestation on recreation choices via stated choice modelling' (Northern Research Station Research Joint Venture Agreement with University of Minnesota)
  • 2009-2014 'Collaborative Research: Coupled Natural Human Systems in the Chicago Wilderness: Evaluating the Biodiversity and Social Outcomes of Different Models of Restoration Planning' (NSF Coupled Human and Natural Systems)

Research Interests

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 and wildland settings. I am focusing on three interrelated topic areas: Perception and experience of landscapes: how people perceive and experience parks and forests, including issues of aesthetics, psychological restoration, and physical activity. 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. 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.

Why This Research is Important

Social issues are increasingly at the forefront of environmental management decisions. Urban populations can be particularly diverse. If we can understand the range of perceptions and values that exist, we will help provide environmental managers the information they need to make decisions that are beneficial to all stakeholders concerned.

Professional Organizations

  • Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2017 - Current)
  • Landscape Research (2016 - Current)
  • Landscape and Urban Planning (2015 - Current)
  • Environmental Design Research Association (2008 - Current)
  • Natural Areas Association (2008 - Current)
  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources (2007 - Current)
  • Environment and Behavior (2006 - Current)
  • Environmental Policy and Culture Program, Northwestern University (2006 - Current)
  • Society for Ecological Restoration (2000 - Current)
  • American Society of Landscape Architects (Fellow) (1987 - Current)
  • Ecological Restoration (2000 - 2014)
  • Journal of Leisure Research (2006 - 2010)
  • Landscape Journal (2003 - 2010)
  • Local Environment (1999 - 2005)

Awards & Recognition

  • Outstanding Paper Award, 2017 Transportation Research Board, Committee on Highway Traffic Monitoring, for 'Up on The 606: Understanding Use of a New Elevated Pedestrian and Bicycle Tail in Chicago' (with Sonya Sachdeva and Greg Lindsey)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2013 University of Wisconsin-Madison Dept Landscape Architecture
  • Fellow, 2009 American Society of Landscape Architects (knowledge category)
  • Certificate of Merit, 2008 Honorable Mention as Outstanding Paper in Landscape Ecology for 'The shared landscape: What does aesthetics have to do with ecology?' (with Joan Nassauer, Terry Daniel, and Gary Fry)
  • Public Recognition Award, 2007 Outstanding Professional Achievement, American Society of Landscape Architects, Illinois Chapter
  • Honor Award (Research), 2006 American Society of Landscape Architects, 'From Landscapes to Lots: Understanding and Managing Midwestern Landscape Change' (with Bob Haight)
  • Distinguished Professorship, 2004 Beatrix C. Farrand Visiting Distinguished Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Plan
  • Merit Award (Research), 2001 American Society of Landscape Architects (Senior editor, 'Restoring Nature: Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities')
  • Communication Award, 2001 Society for Ecological Restoration (Senior editor, 'Restoring Nature: Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities'
  • Multicultural Achievement Award, 2000 North Central Research Station, USDA Forest Service, for leadership in the Chicago Rivers National Demonstration Project (with Lynne Westphal)
  • Honor Award, 2000 American Society of Landscape Architects, Visualizing and Testing Views of a Changing Policy Landscape, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon (research project supervisor)
  • Merit Award, 1999 American Society of Landscape Architects, People and the River: Perception and Use of Chicago Waterways for Recreation (co-principal investigator)
  • Merit Award (Research), 1998 American Society of Landscape Architects, Perception of Clearcutting in the White Mountains (research project supervisor)
  • Honor Award (Research), 1996 American Society of Landscape Architects, Lincoln Park Framework Plan (Ethnicity and Visual Preference research projects)

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Moquah Barrens, a
restored pine barrens ecosystem in Northwest Wisconsin

Landowner Acceptance of a Pine Barrens Restoration Project

Year: 2018

Despite landowners’ uncertainty about long-term outcomes near a pine barrens restoration project on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, they support management actions and trust USDA Forest Service staff.

Understanding resident use of a new elevated pedestrian and bicycle trail

Year: 2017

Monitoring use of a new elevated trail in Chicago provides important information to city managers. Preliminary results suggest that "The 606" has created connections between historically segregated neighborhoods, meeting and exceeding city managers’ objectives.

Resident and visitor support for urban natural areas restoration

Year: 2017

Resident and visitor beliefs about whether a given restoration practice, such as controlled burning, is already being used at a site can be a powerful predictor of support for that practice.

Restoration in urban areas can take several forms ' or ' View of Chicago skyline from Calumet restoration sites. Lynne Westphal, Forest Service

Models for Ecological Restoration in Urban Areas: Lessons From the USA and Europe

Year: 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.

Reactions to fear of crime and their relationships to recreation behavior. Paul Gobster, Forest Service

Perceptions of Crime and its Impacts on the Use of Urban Parks by Latino Residents

Year: 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 modified: Friday, June 02, 2017