The Power of Urban Pocket Parks and Black Placemaking: A (Re)Examination of People, Policies, and Public-Private Partnerships

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Administration


James Olive


This dissertation in practice examines the absence of an advocacy framework for Black placemakers in southwest Springfield neighborhoods seeking to transform vacant spaces into vibrant pocket parks, green spaces, and community gardens. This critical community-based participatory research addresses inadequate public policies, resources, and technical assistance to create and sustain neighborhood sites for endurance, belonging, and resistance. Thematic findings indicated that systemic issues, street-level organizing, and sustainability are primary barriers and opportunities. An action intervention and change process was developed to establish the Springfield Park and Green Space Ecosystem (SPGE). The action plan focuses on a community coalition of power building, a community benefits agreement, zoning revisions, and public-private partnerships with results-based accountability.


African American Studies, Agricultural Education, Area Planning and Development, Behaviorial Sciences, Climate Change, Conservation, Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Education, Environmental Justice, Environmental Health, Land Use Planning, Landscaping, Landscape Architecture, Public Administration, Public Health, Public Policy, Public Health Education, Sustainability, Urban Planning, Urban Forestry, placemaking, Black placemaking, pocket parks, green space, revitalization, land banks, community development, public policy, urban planning, environmental justice, landscape architecture, community organizing, community gardens, legacy cities, beautification, public health, vacant land, abandoned, dilapidated, blighted, agriculture, climate change

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2022, author.