Evaluating the Social and Ecological Aspects of Lawn Replacement

Major Goals and Objectives

My doctoral work will evaluate opportunities to replace traditional lawns by more sustainable and ecologically friendly crops in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan area. Specifically, I will  pursue three broad objectives: (1) Use aerial images to identify lawns in Chicago and Evanston and quantify the potential for lawn replacements in the city. (2) Use ethnographic work to assess homeowners’ incentives to replace their lawns with other crops. (3) Conduct an experiment to test the water filtration/retention capacity of different lawn replacements. Support from the IISG Graduate Scholars program would enable me to pursue the second objective. Many research projects related to urban ecology use census and survey data to understand the social aspects of restoration within urban communities. The ethnographic interviewing method involves participant observation which allows for a more determined selection of interviewees as well as a more in-depth line of questioning than the survey data might provide. I will also conduct participant observation for this project which will involve interacting directly with interviewees while they maintain, cultivate, and enjoy their own green spaces.

Accomplishments / Benefits

Story: Meet our Grad Student Scholars: Brian Lovejoy

Research Information

Principal Investigator:
Brian Lovejoy
Initiation Date:
Northwestern University


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