At the last Quarterly Meeting of 2017, GSI Partners clustered into small groups to share how intended and unintended outcomes have made an impact on their projects. During this guided networking time, attendees discussed how they addressed unexpected circumstances that arose throughout each stage of a project’s timeline. In some cases, surprises caused GSI professionals to scramble and find an innovative solution to the unexpected problem, but the intention of these breakout groups was to also collect instances where an unforeseen outcome was a welcomed and fortuitous development.

 

We framed the conversation in this way to serve as a complement to our case study presented by Michelle Kondo, Ph.D. from the USDA-Forest Service, Philadelphia Field Station. Dr. Kondo’s research explores the connections between nature-based approaches to stormwater management and community health and safety in the urban landscape. Her research pointed to a strong correlation between positive health outcomes and exposure to nature, but posed a larger question: What mechanisms are most effective?

 

To explore this question, she presented three different projects: Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters, vacant lot greening, and the impact of the urban canopy on gun violence. Through Dr. Kondo’s retrospective research, she was able to demonstrate that all of these approaches led to a positive impact on community health and safety. In Philadelphia, she found a significant reduction (up to 27%) in narcotics possession around GSI-treated sites.

 

Although it might be obvious that healthier and safer communities require better decision making, it is clear that GSI and other greening efforts serve to change the context, which in turns support a better decision-making environment. To read more about Dr. Kondo and her team’s work, click here, and we will see you at the first Quarterly Meeting of 2018 on January 24.