Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Brandon Hoover


Green space has been a commonly utilized method of community development in recent years to combat many urban issues including environmental degradation, poverty, urban blight, education, and nutrition. While an increased area of green space affords a myriad of benefits within a community, these spaces require several criteria to effectively serve the community and remain sensitive to the identity of the local population. Extensive research outlines the physical, psychological, environmental, and practical benefits of green space in cities (Anderson, 2004; Arnold & Shinew, 1998; Gobster, 1998; Gobster, 2002; Irvine, 1999; Middle et al., 2014; Payne, Mowen, & Orsega-Smith, 2002). However, research also demonstrates the ability of these spaces to reinforce racial and socio-economic divides within communities (Agyeman, 2013; Carmichael & McDonough, 2019; Finney, 2014; Mock, 2019; Root, 2017; Solecki & Welch, 1995; Zukin, 2008). This essay will seek to illustrate the importance of community involvement in decision- making processes and the acknowledgement and celebration of diversity within the given community. It will do this through case study research on green space in the neighborhood of Allison Hill in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and seek to determine whether the community would welcome development of the greenhouse in Reservoir Park, or other park facilities.

Overall, Allison Hill in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is a neighborhood in which community engagement through green space development could be either empowering or divisive. Local green space already functions to provide space for emotional and environmental enhancement, as well as promote physical activity and recreation space for youth. However, disuse and neglect, as shown in many of other studies, greatly impact the functionality of these spaces. It is apparent that communication, acknowledgement of the deep, complex histories at work within the community, and the building of trust and cooperation between residents and the city government are all vital to the success of green space development.