BLOG: Texas A&M University Doctoral Candidate Studies Discovery Green’s Impact on the Local Community

BLOG: Texas A&M University Doctoral Candidate Studies Discovery Green’s Impact on the Local Community
“Community” can be used to describe a group of people that live in the same area, share the same interests or support the same sports team. It can be your weekly yoga group or Kayak Polo League team at Discovery Green. Since the park opened in 2008, Discovery Green has attracted different “communities” by hosting events, offering fitness classes and providing space for them to gather. It has changed the way people experience Downtown Houston which was Maconda Brown O’Connor and Nancy G. Kinder’s intention when approaching former-Mayor Bill White about the idea of opening an urban park in the heart of the city. DG is clearly a place where communities gather but can an urban space like DG foster them? If so, what kind of emotional attachment does the community develop to this urban space?

Ying Xu is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M University’s respected Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences studying Discovery Green’s impact on the local community by measuring its attachment to urban space. By conducting a survey onsite and offering it online, Ying hopes to confirm the idea that urban development through projects like Discovery Green can change the way a community, in this case Houston, views an area or city.

“I feel it’s very important to address the value of green space and parks in grey cities,” Ying says. She explains that sociologists tend to focus on social relations and not enough on the impact that physical-natural environments have when studying community attachment, especially in urban areas. This is why she decided to use DG as the subject of her research. Not only is Houston the fourth largest city in the United States, it is also the most diverse; the group surveyed will most likely reflect this diversity.

"This is a really wonderful opportunity to get some in-depth information of the impact Discovery Green is having on our community" says Susanne Theis, Programming Director at Discovery Green. Ying Xu and a team of graduate students will be conducting their research all through July at Discovery Green. We encourage visitors to take the time in helping Ying, her team and us in being a part of this interesting and valuable study while visiting us this month. Click here to take her survey.

And, to learn more about the park, please visit the History of Discovery Green page or watch our “Who We Are” Video

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