.|  Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Demographic and Socioeconomic Research Projects


An Ecology of Prestige and Its Implications for Social-Ecological Structure of Urban Ecosystems
  • Morgan Grove, Northeastern Research Station, USDA Forest Service
  • Austin Troy, University of Colorado, Denver

We have proposed that "ecological prestige" drives household land management. We have developed and tested this hypothesis by comparing 1) demographics (population density), 2) social stratification and environmental equity (income, education, and race), and 3) social identity and status using the Potential Rating Index for Zipcode Markets. However, because PRIZM does not capture all of a neighborhood's important social and ecological characteristics, we must extend these marketing data to include air and water quality, safety, presence of lawns, trees, and gardens. Determining whether these factors are associated with different PRIZM classes is crucial for understanding how social groups differentially affect ecological structure.

Existing Canopy & Lifestyle   Image: Morgan Grove
Data suggest that lifestyle classes are related to landscape structure. Image: Morgan Grove
We have proposed the following hypotheses. First, PRIZM classes will better predict vegetation structure than demographics (population density), social stratification or environmental equity (income, education, and race). The distribution of vegetation structure is temporally complex, with legacies and time lags. Thus, historic social neighborhood characteristics, will better predict the present distribution of vegetation structure than contemporary classifications. The distribution of vegetation structure is also organizationally complex, and measures of social stratification, which reflect access to public and private investments at the municipal level, will be better predictors of variations in woody vegetation structure on public lands and rights-of-way than at the neighborhood level. Also, historic measures of social stratification will be better predictors of variations in vegetation structure than present measures of social stratification. These questions also address organizational and temporal complexity. Finally, PRIZM will be a better predictor of neighborhood stability, social identity, and social order than demographics, social stratification or environmental equity.
We will use our long term demographic and socioeconomic data from the US Census to measure changes in population density, income, education, and race at the neighborhood level (1960-2010). We will use variables from these datasets to create historic "pseudo-PRIZM" classifications comparable to current PRIZM classifications obtained from the Claritas Corporation. We will use "bottom-up" patch delineations using Geographic-Weighted Regressions (GWR) and hedonic analyses to cross-validate PRIZM-SE at the Census Block Group level.

Recent Findings

We examined predictors of vegetative cover on private lands in Baltimore, MD. We generated two measures, based on analysis of high resolution data. "Possible stewardship" refers to the proportion of private land parcels lacking built structures, and hence plantable. "Realized stewardship" refers to the proportion of possible stewardship land upon which vegetation is growing, either through planting or succession. These measures were generated at the parcel level and averaged by US Census block group. Realized stewardship was further broken down by woody vegetation and grass proportions. Data about expenditures on yard supplies and services by block group were used to help better understand where current vegetation conditions appear to be the result of current activity, past legacies, or abandonment. PRIZM™ market segmentation data were first tested as predictors of possible and realized stewardship and yard expenditures at the block group level. PRIZM™ segmentations, hierarchically clustered into 5, 15, and 62 classes, categorize neighborhoods by population density, social stratification (income and education), and lifestyle, respectively. We found that PRIZM 15 best predicted variation in possible stewardship and PRIZM 62 best predicted variation in realized stewardship. These results were further analyzed by regressing each dependent variable against a set of continuous variables reflective of each of the three PRIZM groupings. Housing age, vacancy, and crime were found to be critical determinants of both stewardship metrics, although differences in the predictors of vegetation cover versus the predictors of yard expenditures indicate different pathways by which vegetation was established in different parts of the city.

BES Related Products

Baker L.; Brazel A,; Byrne L.; Felson A.; Grove J.M.; Hill H.; Nelson K.C.; Walker J.; Shandas V. (2007). Effects of human choices on characteristics of urban ecosystems. Bull Ecol Soc Am. October: 404-409. Boone, C., Buckley, G., Grove, J. M., & Sister, C. (2009a). Parks and People: An Environmental Justice Inquiry in Baltimore, Maryland. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99(4), 767-787.
Boone, C.; Cadenasso, M.L.; and Grove, J.M. (2009b). Landscape, vegetation characteristics, and group identity in an urban and suburban watershed: why the 60s matter. Urban Ecosystems. 13: 255-271.
Chowdhury, R. R., Larson, K., Grove, M., Polsky, C., & Cook, E. (2011). A Multi-Scalar Approach to Theorizing Socio- Ecological Dynamics of Urban Residential Landscapes A Multi-Scalar Approach to Theorizing Socio-Ecological Dynamics of, 4(1).
Fraser, J. C., Bazuin, J. T., Band, L. E., & Grove, J. M. (2013). Covenants, cohesion, and community: The effects of neighborhood governance on lawn fertilization. Landscape and Urban Planning, 115, 30-38. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.02.013
Galvin, M.F.; Grove, J.M.; O'Neil-Dunne, J.P.M. (2006). A Report on the City of Baltimore's Present and Potential Urban Tree Canopy, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service: 17.
Grove, J.M. (2009). Cities: Managing densely settled social-ecological systems. In: Chapin, F.S.I.; Kofinas, G.; Folke, C., eds. Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Grove, J.M.; Burch, W.R.; Pickett, S.T.A. (2005). Social Mosaics and Urban Forestry in Baltimore, Maryland. In: Lee, R.G.; Field, D.R., eds., Communities and Forests: Where People Meet the Land. Corvalis: Oregon State University Press: 248-273.
Grove, J.M.; Cadenasso, M.L.; Burch, W.R. Jr.; Pickett, S.T.A.; O'Neil-Dunne, J.P.M.; Schwarz, K.; Wilson, M.; Troy, A.R.; Boone, C. (2006). Data and Methods Comparing Social Structure and Vegetation Structure of Urban Neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland. Society & Natural Resources. 19(2):117-136.
Grove, J.M.; Troy, A.R.; O'Neil-Dunne, J.P.M.; Burch, W.R.; Cadenasso, M.L.; Pickett, S.T.A. (2006). Characterization of Households and Its Implications for the Vegetation of Urban Ecosystems. Ecosystems. 9:578-597.
Locke, D. H., Grove, J.M. Galvin, M. O'Neil-Dunne, J.P.M., Murphy, C. (2013). Applications of Urban Tree Canopy Assessment and Prioritization Tools?: Supporting Collaborative Decision Making to Achieve Urban Sustainability Goals Applications of Urban Tree Canopy Assessment and Prioritization Tools: Cities and the Environment, 6(1-26).
Locke, D.H., Grove, J.M. O'Neil-Dunne, J. P. M.. (Submitted). "Social Status and Trees: Testing The Ecology of Prestige in New York City." Environmental Management.
Pickett, S.T.A.; Cadenasso, M.L.; Grove, J.M.; Groffman, P.; Band, L.E.; Boone, C.; Burch, W.R.; Grimmond, S.; Hom, J.; Jenkins, J.C.; Law, N.L.; Nilon, C.H.; Pouyat, R.V.; Szlavecz, K.; Warren, P.S.; Wilson, M.A. )2008). Beyond Urban Legends: an emerging framework of urban ecology as illustrated by the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. Bioscience. 58(2):139-150.
Raciti, S.; Galvin, M.F.; Grove, J.M.; O'Neil-Dunne, J.P.M.; Todd, A.; Clagett, S. (2006). Urban Tree Canopy Goal Setting: A Guide for Chesapeake Bay Communities, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern State & Private Forestry, Chesapeake Bay Program Office, Annapolis, MD.
Troy, A.R.; Grove, J.M.; O'Neil-Dunne, J.P.M.; Cadenasso, M.L.; Pickett, S.T.A. (2007). Predicting Patterns of Vegetation and Opportunities for Greening on Private Urban Lands. Environmental Management. 40:394-412.
Troy, A.R.; Grove, J.M. (2008). Property values, parks, and crime: a hedonic analysis in Baltimore, MD. Landscape and Urban Planning. 87:233-245.
Troy, A., Morgan Grove, J., & O'Neil-Dunne, J. (2012). The relationship between tree canopy and crime rates across an urban-rural gradient in the greater Baltimore region. Landscape and Urban Planning, 106(3), 262-270.
Vemuri, A. W., Morgan Grove, J., Wilson, M. A., & Burch, W. R. (2009). A Tale of Two Scales: Evaluating the Relationship Among Life Satisfaction, Social Capital, Income, and the Natural Environment at Individual and Neighborhood Levels in Metropolitan Baltimore. Environment and Behavior, 43(1), 3-25.
Zhou, W.; Troy, A.R.; Grove, J.M. (2008). Object-based Land Cover Classification and Change Analysis in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area Using Multi-temporal High Resolution Remote Sensing Data. Sensors. 8:1613-1636.
Zhou, W.; Troy, A.R.; Grove, J.M. (2009a). Modeling Residential Lawn Fertilization Practices: Integrating high resolution remote sensing with socioeconomic data. Environmental Management. 41:742-752.
Zhou, W.; Grove, J.M.; Troy, A.; Jenkins, J.C. (2009b). Can Money Buy Green?: Demographic and socioeconomic predictors of lawncare expenditures and lawn greenness in urban residential areas. Society & Natural Resources. 22:744-760.