Scientists & Staff

Lindsay Campbell

Lindsay Campbell

Research Social Scientist
290 Broadway, 26th Floor
New York, NY, 10007
Phone: 212-637-4175

Contact Lindsay Campbell

Current Research

My current research explores the dynamics of urban stewardship, sustainability, and environmental policymaking, with a particular emphasis on issues of social justice. Here are just a few of my core projects:

  • City of Forests, City of Farms examines how the politics and practices of urban forestry and urban agriculture in New York City are negotiated. It centers on the municipal long term sustainability plan, PlaNYC2030, which was created in 2007 and updated in 2011. From this entry point, it analyzes  the network of actors, institutions, discourses, and socio-natural environments that constitute urban forestry and urban agriculture. It asks: what actors via what institutions make what claims in order to shape the goals that are set within the plan? What accounts for the varied treatment of urban forestry and agriculture in a single city within a single sustainability planning process? And, in turn, how do the goals of the plan alter resource management practices going forward? This book was published in 2017 by Cornell University Press.
  • STEW-MAP (the Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project) for New York City is a longitudinal (2007-2017), citywide assessment that analyzes the organizational capacity, spatial locations, and networked relationships of thousands of civic stewardship groups. The methodology and approach has been replicated in a dozen different domesitc and international locations, including Chicago, Baltimore, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Juan, PR., and Paris, as part of a collaborative network of researchers and practitioners interested in understanding and supporting stewardship.
  • The Living Memorials Project examines September 11 as a disturbance to which people respond, including through acts of stewardship. We have continued this research longituidinally to understand how community-based stewardship persists and changes over time. This project has also led to my more recent work with the Landscapes of Resilience project and the forthcoming FS edited volume Green Readiness, Response, and Recovery: A Collaborative Synthesis.

Research Interests

The Forest Service Northern Research Station and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation have jointly created the New York City Urban Field Station. The Urban Field Station develops and applies adaptive management, technology transfer, and science to improve human well-being and the environment in urban metropolitan areas. I am involved in all aspects of the development and implementation of the field station.

I am developing a number of applied projects at the interface of research and practice for the New York City Urban Field Station with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and other local partners - on issues ranging from the MillionTreesNYC campaign, to young street tree mortality, to ecological literacy, to green jobs, to the FreshKills landfill to park conversion project. I help conceive of and implement our Science of the Living City program - including our fellowships, seminars, and our new artist in residence program. 

Why This Research is Important

  • The NYC Urban Field Station is both a physical place to conduct research and a network of relationships among a growing number of scientists, practitioners, university cooperators and facilities focused on urban ecology. It is located at Fort Totten in Bayside Queens, NY. Since its founding, the Urban Field Station has engaged over 30 non-profit, academic, and government partners creating innovative research in action programs to support urban ecosystem management.
  • City of Forests, City of Farms builds upon prior work that examines the political and discursive dimension of natural resource management, extending it to the recent empirical phenomena of urban sustainability planning and large-scale green infrastructure campaigns in global cities. Second, it continues the project of 're-naturing urban theory? by bringing a concern with materiality into the study of urban politics and policymaking. Finally, it brings concepts of urban political theory and networked governance into nature-society geography.
  • By exploring the networks among stewards and the social, organizational, informational and funding nodes that link them, STEW-MAP examines the ways that civil society stewards connect, compete with and compliment the goals of government agencies and the private business sector in the management of the urban ecosystem. This project seeks to understand and map the ways citizens serve as stewards by conserving, managing, monitoring, advocating for, and educating the public about their local environments (including water, land, air, waste, toxics, and energy issues).
  • Restorative Commons' 18 articles span theory, case studies, and practitioner interviews. The book explores the relationships of urban landscape to human health and well-being and documented some of the most compelling practices and principles currently utilized to create restorative commons either as small-scale experiments or as larger efforts to institutionalize innovation. It was designed for a wide audience with full color illustrations and graphics, has been distributed for free to more than 3,000 users, and downloaded thousands of times.
  • The Living Memorials research explores the ways in which natural resources aid human recovery not as passive design elements, but as catalysts for collective action. Stewardship allows for expression of collective values, including collective memories.


  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Ph.D. Geography, 2013
  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Master Of Arts Geography, 2011
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Masters Of City Planning Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2006
  • Princeton University, B.A. Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, 2002

Professional Organizations

  • Freshkills Park (2015 - Current)
    Science Advisory Committee
  • Million Trees NYC (2007 - 2015)
    Steering Committee and Research and Evaluation Sub-Committee
  • Urban Ecology Collaborative (2003 - 2006)
    Steering Committee and Research Committee

Awards & Recognition

  • Forest Service Northern Research Station Director's Award, 2015 Early Career Scientist Award
  • Forest Service Chief's Award for Engaging Urban America, 2009 Received by the NYC Urban Field Station for "Restoring NYC's Ecosystems"
  • Forest Service Chief's Award for Engaging Urban America, 2009 Notable Government Document Award for Restorative Commons
  • Forest Service Northern Research Station Partnership Award, 2008 Received by the NYC Urban Field Station
  • Forest Service Northern Research Station "Civil Rights Outstanding Location Award", 2008 Received by the NYC Urban Field Station
  • EDRA/Places Award for Research, 2007 "Living Memorials National Research: 9/11 and the Public Landscape"
  • Forest Service Chief's Award for Technology Transfer, 2003 Received by the Living Memorials Project

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Other Publications

  • Campbell, Lindsay K. 2017.  City of Forests, City of Farms: Sustainability Planning for New York City's Nature.  Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. 290 p.

National Research Highlights

Kayakers at Freshkills Park site Photo provided by NYC Parks. New York City Parks.

Forest Service Research Evaluates Public Response to Transformed Landfill

Year: 2016

City parks are easy to love, but would you love, or visit, a park that used to be a landfill? As part of a team that included the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and university partners, Forest Service social scientists Lindsay Campbell and Stephanie Snyder explored public response to Freshkills Park, the largest landfill-to-park transformation ever undertaken in the United States.

Social assessment crew member interviews park user on Jamaica Bay. Joana Chan, USDA Forest Service

Scientists Assess Social Meaning of Jamaica Bay Region Parkland

Year: 2014

The Jamaica Bay region of New York City is a focus of resiliency planning and adaptive management efforts. Working with natural resource managers and ecologists from the Natural Areas Conservancy and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Forest Service social scientists developed a method to assess the use and social meaning of parkland in the region. These social data will be integrated with ecological assessment data to inform management strategies and practices citywide.

MillionTreesNYC Training Program participants at a volunteer planting day in Staten Island, NY. Brian Aucoin, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Forest Service Partnership with MillionTreesNYC

Year: 2013

The demand for a well-trained green-collar labor force will increase as many cities implement sustainability and green infrastructure plans. Additionally, many green jobs training programs are intended to provide pathways out of poverty for low-skilled workers. Forest Service scientists investigated young-adult graduates of green-jobs training programs in New York City and found not just positive environmental attitudes and behaviors but also increased self-confidence in young graduates.

Kayakers in Freshkills Park, NYC. Forest Service

From World's Largest Landfill to New York City's Newest Park

Year: 2012

The story of the restoration of Fresh Kills Salt Marsh, Staten Island, NY

Last modified: Monday, April 8, 2019