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Public Perception of Urban Greenspace

The services and disservices people perceive green stormwater infrastructure provide may influence public acceptance of (or advocacy for) this infrastructure in urban landscape. While in some instances, public perception of and actual services provisioning are the same thing (e.g., with many cultural services like aesthetics), in other instances external variables may influence perception in ways that do not reflect actual services provisioning. Possible drivers of this mismatch include knowledge (about biodiversity, urban runoff, native ecosystems, and green infrastructure itself), environmental ethics (for instance, anthropocentrism), demographic factors (country of origin, ethnicity, and income), and trust in government or local water utilities, among others. I am particularly interested in the importance of knowledge-related variables and education as drivers of green infrastructure perception and tools for narrowing the perception-reality gap, and am currently working on a project intended to understand how integrated vs disciplinary educational experiences for engineers at the undergraduate level impact the perceived value of green stormwater infrastructure relative to other urban landscape forms. I am also interested in the broad issue of greenspace equity and determining the extent to which frameworks for situating green infrastructure in urban environments do or do not result in provisioning of ecosystem services suites that are locally valued.


Collage of urban landscape photos from a public perceptions survey geared towards understanding what ecosystem services engineering students perceive green stormwater infrastructure provides relative to other urban landscape forms.

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