Our Programs

CURes’ urban stewardship and governance research is based on the premise that, just as biogeophysical components that produce natural resources interact as a complex system, so too do the social, institutional, and cultural factors interact to govern them. In Los Angeles and elsewhere, organizations with varying missions, from different sectors and geographic scales, intermingle as they work on solutions to complex urban issues. CURes researchers seek to understand the geographic extent of urban environmental stewardship (the stewardship “footprint”) in the Los Angeles region as well as to examine the properties and relationships of the organizations that improve the natural resources of the city.

Recent research projects include:

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

Stew-MAP is a 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 urban 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. This project has been implemented with the help of the USDA Forest Service in Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle. This allows us to not only understand the patterns of environmental stewardship organizations and their networks in Los Angeles, but also to compare with some of the other most prominent cities in the country.

Los Angeles Tree Canopy Assessment and Prioritization Project

This is a project to use current high-resolution imagery and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data to map the urban tree canopy and land cover of the coastline of Los Angeles. This will 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.