Map where the name Illinois is circled.
17 Nov

Webinar on Zoom

Urban forests as a community science platform

meetings | seminars, workshops |

Urban forestry is a new and still-developing research field. In this webinar series, arranged by SLU Urban Futures and Future Forests, we delve into urban forests to shed light on various aspects and areas that need more research. On November 17, Alec Foster, Assistant Professor at Illinois State University, will talk about a new form of citizen science: Volunteered geographic information (VGI).

Volunteered geographic information, urban forests, & environmental justice

Volunteered geographic information (VGI) has been heralded as a promising new data source for urban planning and policymaking. Some have promoted VGI as an empowering and democratic new form of citizen science that allows data collection tasks to be distributed to a large group of people; however, concerns have emerged about whose geographies will be volunteered, and for what purpose. This research begins to address the social and environmental justice concerns around uneven levels of participation in and spatial coverage of urban forest VGI in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and San Francisco, California. Specifically, we examine the spatial distribution and data richness of user-generated tree maps in both cities, using ordinary least squares, general linear models, and spatial autoregressive models. Findings reveal that sociodemographic and environmental indicators are strong predictors of both densities of attributed trees and data richness, presenting potential environmental justice concerns if policymakers use these incomplete and uneven datasets. Given the significant novelty of research into VGI, urban forests, and environmental justice, we conclude by outlining directions for a future research program that can help VGI live up to its potential while avoiding the perils.


Time: 2021-11-17 15:00 - 16:00
City: Webinar on Zoom
Organiser: SLU Urban Futures and Future Forests
Price: Free of charge
Additional info:

Dr Alec Foster

Assistant Professor In the Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment at Illinois State University

Dr Alec Foster is a broadly trained human-environment geographer who seeks to understand processes of urban environmental change, especially in postindustrial cities in the United States.


Future Forests
Future Forests is a platform for multidisciplinary forest research, collaboration and research communication, driven by SLU, Umeå University and the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden.

SLU Urban Futures
Among the four SLU Future Platforms SLU Urban Futures has the mission to strengthen sustainable urban development. The platform aims to identify knowledge needs and strives to develop new research questions addressing the challenges of an urbanising planet.

About this webinar

  • The webinar will be recorded. If you don't want to be identified, please turn your camera off and remove your name from your window.
  • Please have your microphone off (when not participating).

This webinar is the third and final part of a webinar series on Urban Forests in the fall of 2021.

What are urban forests?

Watch the presentation from the first webinar, when Prof. dr. Cecil Konijnendijk, (Nature Based Solutions Institute) presented the research field of Urban forests.