First Advisor

Vivek Shandas

Date of Publication

Winter 3-21-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Ecosystem services -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Portland, Urban plants -- Ecology -- Oregon -- Portland, Urban plants -- Oregon -- Portland -- Attitudes, Urban ecology (Biology) -- Oregon -- Portland, Trees in cities -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

online resource (iv, 87 pages)


There is a spatial mismatch between the size of the area where people are living and the extent of land needed to ecologically support developed areas. More people are living in urban areas than any time in history, and the resources need to support cities have had to expand to try and meet the demands of increasing urban populations. However, areas of opportunity exist for urban areas to begin to positively contribute towards the available resources in a region. Because a large portion of urban areas is within private control, gaining a baseline understanding of how residents interact with ecosystem services served as basis of this study. Using a survey of residents in the Portland, OR area, correlations between demographic groups and questions regarding their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors as they relate to vegetation proved that the knowledge of environmental relationships is an important first step in creating pro-environmental behavior. Those reporting a high level of knowledge for ecological system and processes were more likely to value the benefits of vegetation for other associated reasons, such as for recreational activities, aesthetic purposes, and air or water quality. Additionally, survey responses were mapped to spatial data to gain an understanding of the spatial characteristics of neighborhoods in the survey area and how they have changed over time. Overall, the results in the study display trends that can help outreach organizations and municipalities to determine plans to strategically engage the public in a way that could create a net gain in urban ecosystem services.


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