.|  Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Question 2 Overview
Question 2: What are the fluxes of energy, matter, and human, built, and social capital in an urban system; how do they relate to one another, and how do they change over the long term?
Our research has focused on both contemporary and historic social ecological dynamics, with particularly attention to the social consequences of income, race, social identity and status, and environmental quality. The results of this research indicate that long term social ecological dynamics are far more complex than the environmental justice literature indicates. For instance, environmental equity literature points to the unequal consequences of urbanization on public health and living conditions. Our study of infant mortality in 1880 Baltimore shows that patterns were uneven with a marked concentration in low-lying areas. In 1880, 1 in 4 children died before their first birthday, most from diseases linked to unsanitary conditions. The pattern of deaths showed no link with land use, as hypothesized, but did demonstrate a strong correlation with low elevation, where drainage was poor. Interestingly, Baltimoreans recognized this pattern in the 1880s. Those that had the means moved to the Piedmont to improve the life chances of their infants. This began a process of suburbanization, driven by poor public health conditions and inadequate infrastructure, which remapped the social and built geography of Baltimore.
Environmental equity theory also suggests that minority populations are most likely to live near environmental hazards. Our research found the opposite, whites were more likely than blacks to live in or near Census Tracts that contain a Toxic Release Inventory site. While the present geography appears to be an amenity for black Baltimoreans, it reflects a long history of residential and occupational segregation. Living close to work, factories and facilities that are now sites of toxic releases, was once considered an amenity, a privilege afforded mainly to whites. Zoning in the 1920s held the spread of potentially toxic industry in check in southeastern Baltimore, areas that have traditionally and continue to be primarily white neighborhoods. The study demonstrates that historical analysis is critical for understanding the processes that create contemporary landscapes of inequity.
Our studies of contemporary landscapes have compared theories of demographics (population density), social stratification and environmental equity (income and education, race), and social identity and status. We propose that social group identity and status are a particularly important social science contribution to what we call an "Ecology of Prestige," which recognizes that household livelihoods and lifestyles and neighborhood cultural traditions are significant drivers of social and biophysical structure and function.
Using the PRIZM as a measure of social identity and status, our results indicate surprisingly that social group identity and status are better predictors of variations in watershed knowledge, neighborhood social capital, and willingness to participate or support environmental restoration activities than population density, income/education, or race.
We collected data about Environmental Quality of Life indicators in the household telephone survey in 2003 and 2006. These data have been used to assess changes in watershed interventions associated with the Watershed 263 initiative. Results suggest that such an initiative can improve both water quality (e.g. reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus runoff) and quality of life (e.g. increased involvement in outdoor recreation by residents and improvements in student environ- mental literacy and performance) in urban neighborhoods (Hager et al. 2013).
Research using the 2006 household telephone data to evaluate the relationships among life satisfaction, social capital, income, and the natural environment at individual and neighborhood scales suggest that our findings reveal that these results are strikingly scale dependent. For individuals, higher incomes contribute to higher levels of satisfaction, yet social capital does not. For neighborhoods, more social capital strongly increases satisfaction, but higher incomes do not; and access to a clean natural environment always contributes to higher satisfaction, regardless of the scale of analysis. Given these findings, we conclude with the observation that future research must carefully match the "scale" of life satisfaction measurements with the explanatory variables used (Vemuri et al. 2011).
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. G. (2002). An Assessment and Explanation of Environmental Inequity in Baltimore. Urban Geography 23, 6: 581-595.
Boone, C. G. (2003). Obstacles to Infrastructure Provision: The Struggle to Build Comprehensive Sewer Works in Baltimore. Historical Geography 31: 151-168.
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.
Boone, C.G.; Gragson, T.L.; Grove, J.M. (2011). Long-term trends in human population growth and economy across sites. In: Peters, D.P.C.; Laney C.M.; Lugo A.E.; Collins S.L.; Driscoll C.T.; Groffman P.M.; Grove J.M.; Knapp A.K.; Kratz T.K.; Ohman M.D.; Waide R.B.; Yao J., eds. Long-term trends in ecological systems: a basis for understanding responses to global change. USDA Agricultural Research Service Publication No. XX. Washington, D.C.: Chapter 8.
Boone, C. G., Fragkias, M., Buckley, G. L., & Grove, J. M. (2014). A long view of polluting industry and environmental justice in Baltimore. Cities, 36, 41-49. Gragson, T.L.; Grove, J.M. (2006). Social Science in the Context of the Long Term Ecological Research Program. Society & Natural Resources. 19(2):93-100.
Grimm, N.; Grove, J.M.; Pickett, S.T.A.; Redman, C. (2000). Integrated Approaches to Long-Term Studies of Urban Ecological Systems. Bioscience. 50(7): 571-584.
Grove, J.M. (1999). Tools for Exploring New Approaches in Human Ecosystem and Landscape Research: Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing and Computer Modeling. In: K. Cordell; J.C. Berstrom, eds. Integrating Social Science with Ecosystem Management: Human Dimensions in Assessment, Policy, and Management. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing. 219-236.
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.; Pickett, S.T.A.; Whitmer, A; Cadenasso, M. (2013). Building an Urban LTSER: The Case of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study and the D.C. / B.C. ULTRA-Ex Project. In: Singh, S.J.; Chertow, M.; Mirtl, M.; Schmid, M., eds. Long Term Socio-Ecological Research: Studies in society-nature across spatial and temporal scales. Springer-Verlag.
Hager, G. W., Belt, K. T., Stack, W., Burgess, K., Grove, J. M., Caplan, B., Groffman, P. M. (2013). Socioecological revitalization of an urban watershed. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11(1), 28-36
Lord, C. H., & Norquist, K. (2010). "Cities as Emergent Systems: Race as a Fule in Organized Complexity. Environmental Law, 40, 551-597.
Pickett, S.T.A.; Cadenasso, M.L.; Grove, J.M.; Nilon, C.H.; Pouyat, R.V.; Zipperer, W.C.; Costanza, R. (2001). Urban ecological systems: Linking terrestrial ecology, physical, and socioeconomic components of metropolitan areas. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 32:127-157.
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.
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.
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. (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.