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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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Tuesday, January 29 • 11:20am - 11:40am
(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: POLICY & ENGAGEMENT) Investigating Perceptions of Wildlife and Vegetation in Urban Vacant Lots

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AUTHORS: Andrew Mallinak, Charles Nilon, Robert Pierce – University of Missouri

ABSTRACT: Vacant lots are a prevalent issue in many urban, residential areas nationwide, causing property value declines and further neighborhood blight. These lots are often targeted by city officials to become planned greenspaces, though nearby, marginalized residents may not adequately be involved in the process. This exclusion disempowers residents and provides greenspace that while ecologically useful, may not benefit residents. St. Louis, Missouri is one of /many Midwest cities dealing with a large number of vacant lots, with most of the vacancy concentrated in the predominantly low-income, African-American north side. The city has selected several lots in two north side neighborhoods to implement various management strategies for storm water control and biodiversity conservation. To understand residents’ management preferences for the lots, I administered semi-structured interviews combined with vacant lot photo-evaluation surveys to residents in both neighborhoods. I created themes from the interview transcripts and photograph scores that explain how residents perceive the wildlife and vegetation in their neighborhood vacant lots and how that perception affects their preferred lot management and use. Top ranked photograph scenes exhibited a clear line of sight and signs of care such as mowing, fencing and litter absence. Bottom ranked photographs exhibited blocked line of sight and signs of neglect such as litter, patchy vegetation, and unmown or untrimmed vegetation. Themes surrounding management perception and preference included sense of safety, maintenance effort, and community needs. While wildlife was sometimes seen as tolerable or appreciated, most wildlife was viewed negatively as a form of nuisance or danger. Vegetation was pivotal in how residents felt an area was cared for and whether a vacant lot was seen as being safe and usable, with low, uniform vegetation preferred.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am
VETERANS MEETING ROOM C/D

Attendees (15)