Blog Archives

Neighborhood Parks and Reduction in Stress among Adolescents: Results from Buffalo, New York


Planners and landscape architects have long recognized the critical role of green space in urban environments. This cross-sectional field study of 68 adolescents determined the association between percent neighborhood park area and perceived stress among adolescents, while controlling for physical activity. This study is the first to examine this association using objective measures of park area and adolescents physical activity. A multivariate regression model indicated that percentage of park area (β = -62.573, p < 0.03) predicts perceived stress among adolescents. Access to neighborhood parks buffers adolescents against perceived stress after controlling for socio-economic status and physical activity. Policy recommendations for incorporating parks into neighborhood design are given.

Urban, Suburban, and Rural Contexts of School Districts and Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies: Rediscovering Equity in Education Policy and Urban Planning

This article revisits the debate about school reform and homeownership-based strategies for neighborhood revitalization. It is based on an analysis of school districts in New York State using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Findings indicate that the relationship between schools and housing values varies across urban, suburban, and rural school districts. It is recommended that education reformers and urban planners advocate for states and the federal government to assume a more central role in the promotion of educational equity and the subsequent stabilization of neighborhoods in older core cities.

Community through the eyes of children: blending child-centered research and qualitative geovisulization

Community is an ambiguous concept, and the meanings of community as a subject of study have received a great deal of attention across various disciplines. This paper discusses how children’s diverse meanings of community shape and are shaped by the social, cultural, and physical environments of their everyday lives. To explore these meanings I combine principles of child-centered research and qualitative geovisualization into a research methodology. I demonstrate that this integration displays the transformative nature of qualitative analysis and visualization to support interpretive analysis of various forms of qualitative and spatial data together, and offers us a hybrid methodological framework for gaining insights into the diverse meanings of community held by the children. The main case study is drawn from a multi-year research collaboration called the Children’s Urban Geography (ChUG), in which I participated along with children who lived in a relatively poor but emerging multi-cultural Hispanic neighborhood in Buffalo, NY.

Code clouds: Qualitative geovisualization of geotweets

The popularity of geotagged social media has provided many research opportunities for geographers and GIScientists in the digital age. This article reviews innovative approaches to studying spatially linked social media, and applies lessons taken from qualitative GIS and geographic visualization to improve these approaches. I introduce the idea of “code clouds” as a potential technique for the qualitative geovisualization of spatial information. Code clouds can depict and visualize analytic codes, or codes identifying key ideas and themes, that are generated through digital qualitative research. Rather than transforming qualitative forms of data into categories or numbers, code clouds attempt to preserve and represent the context of data as a visualized outcome of qualitative analysis. Professor Jung use examples from an exploratory case study of geotweets in King County, WA, to demonstrate how code clouds can be applied to the production of meanings through qualitative geovisualization.

Racism, Rodeos, and the Misery Industries of Louisiana

Racism is a multilevel and multidimensional system whereby minority groups are oppressed and scapegoated by the dominant group. Claims that America has become a post-racial society notwithstanding, manifestations of racism are all around us, especiallyin the state of Louisiana. Louisiana is home to some of the poorest, and the leasteducated citizens in the nation. The state is also the site of one of the country’s mostnotorious prisons. Angola, a former—and present penal—plantation, is a majority black prison where the inmate ‘rodeo’ provides annual entertainment for largely whiteaudiences and hundreds of thousands of dollars to supplement services for prisoners thatcould arguably be paid for in less dehumanizing ways. White racial frame is a useful paradigm for understanding the linkages between mass incarceration, the exploitation ofthe Black body, the miseducation of Black youth, as well as the persistent racialeconomic inequality in Louisiana and in US society as a whole. We extend the idea of white racial frame further by introducing a concept we call “bridges to benefits”. Bridges to benefits are networks of white privilege, which flow between institutions, such as education, the economy, and the law, which involve capitalizing on the misery of Blacks while simultaneously protecting white supremacy.

Beyond School-to-Prison Pipeline and Toward an Educational and Penal Realism

Much scholarly attention has been paid to the school-to-prison pipeline and the sanitized discourse of “death by education,” called the achievement gap. Additionally, there exists a longstanding discourse surrounding the alleged crisis of educational failure. This article offers no solutions to the crisis and suggests instead that the system is functioning as it was intended—to disenfranchise many (predominately people of color) for the benefit of some (mostly white), based on economic principals of the free market. We begin by tracing the economic interests of prisons and the prison industrial complex, juxtaposing considerations of what we call the “educational reform industrial complex.” With a baseline in the economic interests of school failure and prison proliferation, we draw on the critical race theory concept of racial realism, to work toward a theory of educational and penal realism. Specifically, we outline seven working tenets of educational and penal realism that provide promise in redirecting the discourse about schools and prisons empowering those interested in critically engaging issues of racism that permeate U.S. orientations to education and justice.

Striving for a Healthier Buffalo: A Community Health Needs Assessment for the Greater Buffalo United Ministries

The purpose of the Community Health Needs Assessment is to identify the unmet health challenges of the Greater Buffalo United Ministries (GRUM) communities in Erie and Niagara Counties. It will outline a strategy for addressing those needs, and to develop a set of performance indicators and metrics to monitor progress in meeting those needs. This assessment will provide GRUM and the Greater Buffalo United Affordable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN) with the framework needed to forge an implementation strategy to address the unmet health needs of the GRUM community.