HERO: Human-Environment Regional Observatory

Place-Making Assessment (PMA)

A second new research stream starting summer 2012. The Place-Making Assessment (PMA) stream examines the social causes and consequences of, and potential responses to, urban forest disturbance in southeast Massachusetts using in-depth qualitative methods including interviewing and mental mapping This stream seeks to answer the overarching research question: How does the presence of Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALB), and the associated present and future policy interventions, affect neighborhood-level urban ecological vulnerabilities?  We caputure interactions under the concept of place-making, a term which describes the socially interactive and dynamic characteristics of any place.  By using the place-making approach, we emphasize the interactions among individual residents, policy makers at a variety of jurisdictional scales, and biophysical processes.  Answers to this principal question will carry broad scientific and policy appeal because the ecological disturbance generally should not be addressed without attention to the human response to alterations in local, natural landscapes.  The PMA research stream will provide the linkages between BIA research stream and those whom it can benefit and inform (including government policy-makers at different scales and neighborhood residents). Starting summer 2012, the PMA stream will engage stakeholders in the research plans and build relationships among them so that the processes and outcomes of all three summers are relevant to the evolving needs of stakeholders.  The Asian long-horned beetle is a unique and urgent case from which to study the human response to landscape change.