A study and comparison of urban natural resource stewardship networks in Seattle, WA and Baltimore, MD.
As demonstrated in many studies, mostly in rural settings, successful resource management requires collaboration among many groups. This is likely to be even more pronounced in densely settled urban areas. Cities generally consist of many fragmented land parcels under different types of use and ownership, which produces a large and diverse group of stakeholders with an interest in resource management decisions. Past research has shown that 1) natural resource stewardship organizations play an important role in both managing natural resources and building social capital; 2) successful outcomes often rely on effective collaborations through organizational networks; 3) there are different types of network structures; and 4) the effectiveness of a network can depend on its structure. However, missing from the field is empirical research analyzing how natural resource stewardship networks impact social and ecological outcomes, both spatially and temporally.
Building on pioneering work on urban stewardship groups in New York City, this study will use social network analysis and existing datasets to assess the stewardship networks in Seattle, WA and Baltimore, MD. More specifically, it will examine whether the network structure affects social and ecological outcomes; and conversely, whether variation in social and ecological conditions affects the resulting social network. In other words, what are the social and ecological causes and consequences of urban natural resource stewardship networks? How do these networks change over time?