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The CURA publications library is currently being digitized by the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. When the project is complete, the entire CURA publications library will be online and fully searchable. Unfortunately, during this process we are not able to honor individual requests for publications . Additionally, we no longer have physical copies of publications to send out.

New publications are digitized daily and the publications catalog on the CURA website is not automatically updated with links to scanned copies, so please search the CURA collection at the Digital Conservancy for the publications you are looking for:

Assessing a Community’s Capacity to Engage with Urban Natural Resources A Qualitative Study Examining the Kohlman Creek Subwatershed in North St. Paul, MN.

Hammes, Mary.

A Plan B thesis supported in part through the 2013-2014 Resilient Communities Project partnership with the City of North St. Paul.

The City of North St. Paul was chosen by the Resilient Communities Project at the University of Minnesota to partner with students on a range of sustainable initiatives. The city identified improving environmental education for it’s residents as one such initiative. Research has shown that education initiatives work best when informed by community networks and social factors (Dewulf, Craps, Bouwen, Taillieu, & Pahl-Wostl, 2005). Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District has similar goals of reaching out to residents to help them better understand storm water processes, specifically. To this end, the current study seeks to illuminate the community capacity of the Kohlman Creek Subwatershed—an area surrounding Casey Lake Park (Casey).

Community capacity is a measure of a community’s ability to engage with a collective problem. Capacity involves accessibility of resources, formal and informal networks between people, and the role of organizations in addressing collective problems. Typical assessments of capacity are qualitative in nature, involveing ten to twenty participants in focus groups or individual interivews. This study was similar: twelve community members participated in in-depth, semistructured interviews between October 2013 and January 2014.

Study findings illuminate the capacity for engagement in natural resources issues by providing insight on what the community views as challenges, capacities and constraints, and perceptions of collective identity. Participants identified a range of challenges they saw facing the community relating to: stewardship of natural resources, threats to quality of life, ensuring safety, and engageing youth. They also identified capacities for responding to challenges at the individual, relational, organizational, and programmatic levels. Participants described the community’s identity as recently changing and shaped by aspects of the park and neighborhood residents. Descriptions of identity revealed a community that values different aspects of: the park, relationships between neighbors, and homeownership.

Publication date: 
Minneapolis: Resilient Communities Project.
This project was supported by the Resilient Communities Project (RCP), a program at the University of Minnesota that convenes the wide-ranging expertise of U of M faculty and students to address strategic local projects that advance community resilience and sustainability. RCP is supported by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and the Institute on the Environment.
58 pp.
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