9/24/14

IISG in the news: Looking at community resilience near polluted waterways

Community resilience is usually a concern in the face of turbulent change. In a recent issue of a University of Illinois publication highlighted an IISG research project that is using vulnerability measures to assess how two communities that have been designated Areas of Concern, due to high levels of contaminants, are coping with the disruption and after effects of sediment removal. Applying the concept from a different angle, Bethany Cutts and Andrew Greenlee are looking at how remediation has impacted the residents around the Lincoln Park-Milwaukee Estuary and portions of the Grand Calumet River in northwest Indiana.

From the Inside Illinois article:
“We’re applying the Vulnerability Index differently,” Greenlee said. “Instead of looking at disasters, we’re approaching it from the perspective of other types of disruptions – in this case the sediment removal itself, because that can have a huge effect on the surrounding people as well.”

“And it can be negative or positive,” Cutts said, “depending on how empowered and included in the process the community is.”
The researchers are also taking an innovative approach in methodology, which is providing real-world learning opportunities for U of I students. This was described in a Lakeside Views post earlier this year: 
Work is just beginning, but the project promises a lot of data collection and analysis over the next few years. That is where the students come in. They are all part of the Workshop in Urban Environmental Equity, an inter-departmental course focused on identifying historical demographic changes in the researched regions, as well as developing and piloting interview strategies that Cutts and Greenlee will continue to use well after the course is complete. Beyond being a big step forward for the research project, the workshop provides a unique opportunity for students to be a part of the design and implementation of a multidisciplinary, mixed-method research project—what one student called “the holy grail” of research.
Cutts and Greenlee's study will likely enhance efforts to connect with local residents during the remediation process, which is ongoing in many places in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Legacy Act has been a catalyst for cleaning up waterways and, for many of these projects, IISG has played a key role in informing and engaging local residents, especially in the Grand Cal region. There, IISG's social scientist Caitie McCoy has worked closely with several schools  as well as the larger community. And hot off the presses, she also oversaw a needs assessment of community attitudes regarding the cleanup  in Milwaukee County's Lincoln Park.
Work is just beginning, but the project promises a lot of data collection and analysis over the next few years. That is where the students come in. They are all part of the Workshop in Urban Environmental Equity, an inter-departmental course focused on identifying historical demographic changes in the researched regions, as well as developing and piloting interview strategies that Cutts and Greenlee will continue to use well after the course is complete. Beyond being a big step forward for the research project, the workshop provides a unique opportunity for students to be a part of the design and implementation of a multidisciplinary, mixed-method research project—what one student called “the holy grail” of research. Situated at the intersection of social and economic shifts, environmental restoration, planning, and policy, the course and the research can have tremendous benefits for ongoing and future remediation projects and the coastal communities.  - See more at: http://lakesideviews.blogspot.com/2014/03/u-of-i-course-combines-social-science.html#sthash.U30ulI1z.dpuf
Work is just beginning, but the project promises a lot of data collection and analysis over the next few years. That is where the students come in. They are all part of the Workshop in Urban Environmental Equity, an inter-departmental course focused on identifying historical demographic changes in the researched regions, as well as developing and piloting interview strategies that Cutts and Greenlee will continue to use well after the course is complete. Beyond being a big step forward for the research project, the workshop provides a unique opportunity for students to be a part of the design and implementation of a multidisciplinary, mixed-method research project—what one student called “the holy grail” of research. Situated at the intersection of social and economic shifts, environmental restoration, planning, and policy, the course and the research can have tremendous benefits for ongoing and future remediation projects and the coastal communities.  - See more at: http://lakesideviews.blogspot.com/2014/03/u-of-i-course-combines-social-science.html#sthash.U30ulI1z.dpuf
Work is just beginning, but the project promises a lot of data collection and analysis over the next few years. That is where the students come in. They are all part of the Workshop in Urban Environmental Equity, an inter-departmental course focused on identifying historical demographic changes in the researched regions, as well as developing and piloting interview strategies that Cutts and Greenlee will continue to use well after the course is complete. Beyond being a big step forward for the research project, the workshop provides a unique opportunity for students to be a part of the design and implementation of a multidisciplinary, mixed-method research project—what one student called “the holy grail” of research. Situated at the intersection of social and economic shifts, environmental restoration, planning, and policy, the course and the research can have tremendous benefits for ongoing and future remediation projects and the coastal communities.  - See more at: http://lakesideviews.blogspot.com/2014/03/u-of-i-course-combines-social-science.html#sthash.U30ulI1z.dpuf

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