A large grant to the University of Minnesota and other partners will support ongoing research by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs into ‘green gentrification’ and the intersection of urban nature and racial injustice.
Humphrey School Assistant Professor Bonnie Keeler is a co-principal investigator of the new Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area Urban Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program, announced this week. The $7.1 million project, funded by the National Science Foundation, will launch with an initial nine research projects and initiatives.
The University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Water Bar are partners in the LTER, to study how stressors such as climate change, invasive pests, and pollutants affect the ecological structure and functioning of urban nature, including pollinators, the urban forest, urban watersheds, and lakes and streams.
Researchers will also study how urban residents interact with urban nature, and how the benefits and burdens of urban nature are not experienced equally by all residents. Trends in American cities suggest that investments in urban nature may have contributed to the persistent and wide racial wealth gap.
The goal is for researchers to better understand urban nature, as well as the policies and practices that are currently in place, to improve environmental outcomes for all residents.