PI Keith Tidball, Co-PIs Erika Svendsen, Lindsay Campbell, Nancy Falxa-Raymond
This work, funded by the TKF Foundation, investigates how the processes of collaborative planning and stewardship of open spaces can support recovery from a wide range of human, natural, technological, and political disasters. Our team (Cornell Civic Ecology Lab and US Forest Service NYC Urban Field Station, in collaboration with partners in Michigan and Missouri) is working to create Open Spaces & Sacred Places (OSSPs) in Joplin, MO and Detroit, MI and is conducting groundbreaking research on how OSSPs promote individual and community resilience. We believe that the emergent and adaptive nature of OSSPs makes them crucial public resources, vital to community health and well-being, particularly in times of stress. We seek to understand how the processes of collaborative planning and stewardship of OSSPs can support recovery from a wide range of human, natural, technological, and political disasters. Joplin and Detroit face distinct stressors, operating at different timescales (acute: a devastating tornado on a single day vs. chronic: decades-long decline in industry, jobs, and population). In both cases, the intent, purpose, goals, site location, target audience, and programming of the OSSPs is being determined through community-led planning processes in response to community needs.
Painted board over window, Detroit MI. Photo: Keith Tidball