Our Programs

CURes’ urban stewardship and governance research examines the social components of urban ecological systems.

Recent research projects include:

Los Angeles Stewardship Mapping & Assessment Project (L.A. Stew-MAP)

L.A. Stew-MAP is part of a USDA Forest Service national research program that seeks to inventory, characterize, and geographically map the activities and relationships of environmental stewardship organizations in urban areas. This project has the goal to improve both the scholarship and practice surrounding environmental stewardship and governance of urban natural resources. One applied goal of the project is to inform development of a suite of online, publicly available tools that can facilitate local and regional natural resource planning and management. Stew-MAP has been implemented in Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Juan, PR and Seattle. This allows us to not only understand the patterns of stewardship organizations and their networks in Los Angeles, but also to compare with other cities in the country.

Baldwin Hills Parklands User Study

Heat map generated to represent the residential zip codes of visitors to the Baldwin Hills Parklands

CURes worked with the Baldwin Hills Conservancy to conduct a three-year (2014-2017) study of the park visitors within the Baldwin Hills Parklands. This research examined the number of visitors, where they come from, and how they use and experience each park. We worked with a team of 38 LMU undergraduate research assistants using multiple methods to assess park users, including visitor counts, a user survey, observational research, and agame camera study of visitation. The resulting analyses and reports will be useful for park management as well as providing evidence of the value of urban parklands. The final report can be read here.

Los Angeles Tree Canopy Assessment and Prioritization Project

This project uses current high-resolution imagery and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data to map the urban tree canopy (UTC) and land cover of the coastline of the Los Angeles region. We collaborate with researchers at the University of Vermont and Savatree Consulting Group, who are experts in high resolution, high accuracy UTC assessments. In Phase 1, we completed a UTC assessment for coastal Los Angeles (see report). These types of  assessments provide valuable information on the extent and location of our urban forest canopy. The dataset will also offer a baseline land cover map, which will allow CURes researchers to examine questions about distribution of resources and social equity.


For more information about our research, contact CURes Director of Research Dr. Michele Romolini: michele.romolini@lmu.edu.