South Buffalo Creek Project

The Center for Housing and Community Studies received funding from the North Carolina State University, Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) Stormwater Consortium for the project “Fostering engagement in the Cottage Grove neighborhood through community involvement in riparian cleanup to enhance stormwater quality.”

This community-engaged project with residents of the Cottage Grove neighborhood in East Greensboro will address environmental justice concerns with two unnamed tributaries of South Buffalo Creek. Researchers will involve the residents through an oral history of long-time residents (>20 years), as well as surveys, focus groups, community-planning charrettes, trash/litter clean-up days with university student volunteers, and finally an educational citizen science stormwater campaign with school-age children.

Researchers expect the main outcome of the project will be to build community capacity to organize and advocate for resources such as green infrastructure through the City of Greensboro’s Participatory Budgeting process. The residents will build relationships with the City of Greensboro’s environmental educators, and those relationships build trust in government and can help connect them to other resources in the community. The project will also initiate an environmental educational program with school-age children, which will have a continuing impact as the water quality and stream studies become part of the curriculum for students.

The results of the surveys will provide the Stormwater Group with rich information about how this community views their undeveloped/natural areas and how they would like to see them improved, as well as how much the community engagement activities changed their outlook about the neighborhood over the year.