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Lifestyle and language barriers influence community engagement with green infrastructure

Everett, Glyn; Matsler, A. Marissa; Chan, Faith Ka Shun; Naclerio, Marissa A; Morzillo, Anita T; Lamond, Jessica E

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A. Marissa Matsler

Faith Ka Shun Chan

Marissa A Naclerio

Anita T Morzillo

Jessica Lamond
College Dean for Research & Enterprise


Few studies have focused on value structures, experiences, and cultural diversity as it relates to bioswale planning and implementation. We used ‘Point of Opportunity Interactions’ to understand previously undocumented views of the Cantonese-speaking immigrant community regarding bioswale design and use for stormwater management in Portland, Oregon, USA. Approximately half of participants were not aware of bioswale function. Maintenance costs and aesthetics were noted concerns, but parking and safety were not. Lack of outreach materials in the Chinese language(s), evening and weekend work schedules, and lack of clarity about maintenance responsibility were among barriers to public participation. Overall, lack of trust for the city and city officials was apparent, and hindered outreach and engagement. Emphasis on informality and place-based data collection near bioswales as neutral outdoors spaces, andproximate to participant residences, facilitated communication with this ‘hard-to-reach’ population and revealed information that would have gone unknown using traditional outreach strategies.


Everett, G., Matsler, A. M., Chan, F. K. S., Naclerio, M. A., Morzillo, A. T., & Lamond, J. E. (2023). Lifestyle and language barriers influence community engagement with green infrastructure. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, 52, 1650–1660.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 26, 2023
Online Publication Date May 20, 2023
Publication Date Oct 31, 2023
Deposit Date Jun 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2024
Journal Ambio
Print ISSN 0044-7447
Electronic ISSN 1654-7209
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Pages 1650–1660
Keywords Point of opportunity interactions (POI), Bioswales, Hard-to-reach communities, Green infrastructure, Cantonese, Stormwater management
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The research was performed as part of the ‘Clean Water for All’, Blue-Green Cities Research Consortium (; UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant EP/K013661/1, with contributions from the Environment Agency and Rivers Agency, Northern Ireland) and part of the Portland-Vancouver Urban Long-Term Research Area Exploratory Project (ULTRA-Ex; US National Science Foundation grant #0948983). Data analysis and writing time were allocated under Urban Flood Resilience in an Uncertain Future (EPSRC grant EP/P004180/1). Photo credits: G. Everett and M. Matsler.


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