Citizenship Lab Research Project: “Urban Green Space and Migrant Integration”

The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Maggio Laquidara’s research project.

Student: Maggio Laquidara

Mentor: Professor Renee Richer

The role of urban green space in moderating or exacerbating the integration of migrants into the local community is an issue of recent research interest. Urban green spaces can bring communities together in joint activities with shared resources or they can serve as a barrier acting to separate and isolate communities. 

Select countries in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region are the ideal system in which to study this question because the countries often have a large percentage of foreign-born residents, sometimes up to 85%.  The communities are often divided into an unofficial hierarchical framework based on nationality, race, and religion. Furthermore, the unique accommodation style (such as a compound or gated community) often serves as another integration barrier. 

Unprecedented development has taken place within the MENA region over the last 15 years, as fossil fuel-derived resources were funneled into infrastructural development to promote sustainability and knowledge-based economies. This infrastructure development saw the urban environment being re-shaped, which resulted in the loss of many open green spaces in migrant communities.  These open green spaces often formed the center of community activities. 

This project will ground truth satellite imagery and conduct focus group interviews in order to research green spaces in relationship with migrant community integration. Checking remotely sensed imagery accuracy via field observations is often referred to as ground truthing.