Mess Hall: Desirable Qualities of Urban Greenways

Graduate Student Collaboration Research Fellow Joseph Cunanan offered insight into the qualities that residents find desirable in urban paths, greenways, and trails.  Cunanan based his research on the 606 Trail in Humboldt park, which is set to open to the public on June 6, 2015.


The talk was informative and included a brief description of the generations of definitions of greenways:

1st: 1700s-1960s, exemplified by the motto adopted by Chicago in the 1830s Urbs in horto “City in a Garden”.  This mode focused on boulevards connected by parks, thus creating in Chicago an “emerald necklace”.

Image located here:
Image located here:

2nd: 1960s-1985, where greenways were primarily recreational- a response to the rise of the automobile.

3rd: 1985-present, where greenways are seen as a response to urban condition, a counter balance to the loss of natural spaces.  Also seen as multi-purpose (transportation, growth management, recreational).

For the project, he employed mixed methods deploying both an anonymous survey and also interviews of stakeholders.  Individuals living in Humboldt park rated “closeness to nature”, “good maintenance” and “safety” as being the top three qualities of urban greenways/paths.  The order of preference varied according to the distance that respondents lived from the trail.

In all, the presentation was well-attended and informative.

Call for Presenters

Mess Hall is a series of short, informal sessions in which DePaul scholars (faculty, students, and staff) share their work with an audience, mess and all. These sessions are intended to be a safe space to acknowledge the messiness inherent to all kinds of scholarship.  The primary goal of the Mess Hall series is to help DePaul scholars—regardless of their affiliation or status—network with and support each other around their scholarship. This support may take the form of feedback on a presentation, troubleshooting a methodological issue, getting advice about a project, recruiting collaborators for a project, and so on.

We’re looking for Mess Hall presenters. Faculty, students, and staff are all welcome to present on their scholarship. Mess Hall sessions are a low-risk environment for people to talk about their work with colleagues from all over the university. Past sessions have focused on getting methodological advice, getting feedback on book proposals, and simply sharing research.

To propose a session, fill out this simple form.


Author: Jessica Bishop-Royse

Jessica Bishop-Royse is the SSRC’s Senior Research Methodologist. Her areas of interest include: health disparities, demography, crime, methods, and statistics. She often finds herself navigating the fields of sociology, demography, epidemiology, medicine, public health, and policy. She was broadly trained in data collection, Stata, quantitative research methodology, as well as statistics. She has experience with multi-level analyses, survival analyses, and multivariate regression. Outside of the work context, Jessi is interested in writing, reading, travel, photography, and sport.

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