Westphal, Lynne

USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station

Two primary suites of projects-one in the Calumet rustbelt landscape of southeast Chicago and northwest Indiana, the other in the Iowa corn belt landscape-consume my research time. Both places have significant natural resources, both suffer from human-caused environmental degradation, and both engender very strong place attachment. My research aims to lessen the degradation, understand and build upon the place attachment, and create methods that work to involve local residents in creating a high-quality future for their region. In both Calumet and the Corn Belt I am involved in projects that look at the potential of computer modeling as a participatory decision making tool. Other projects include understanding people's perceptions of their local environments and the ways that local environments impact sense of self, sense of community, and overall quality of life. Most of my research uses qualitative research methods, and most is integrated with colleagues from the biological and physical sciences.