Monday, 15 December 2014
Bethany Cutts1, Michael Minn1, Nathan R Pavlovic1, Jonathan A Greenberg1, Jennifer Fraterrigo1 and V. Kelly Turner2, (1)University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States, (2)Kent State Univeristy, Kent, OH, United States
This project aims to understand whether the foreclosure crisis of 2007-2010 led to change in yard management with consequences for property and neighborhood land cover. By triangulating across analyses that vary in spatial and temporal resolution, this study examines whether foreclosure has resulted in changes in household and neighborhood vegetation structure. One common hypothesis is that the of financial distress is a reduction in lawn management (mowing, irrigating, and fertilizing ) due to economic constraint, vacancy or abandonment. However, changes in these practices differ across space as they are mediated by individual idiosyncrasies as well as complex social norms encoded in formal and informal institutions. The aim of our broader research project is to gain understanding of how foreclosure changes yard management within the context of these institutions. This poster presents preliminary results of analyses that aim to understand the relationship between foreclosure and land cover change in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona. We synthesize foreclosure data with other social data sources focused on demographics, property characteristics, and vacancy to quantify both general and spatially dependent signatures of foreclosure in remotely-sensed NDVI data from MODIS and LANDSAT. Through results from multiple sources of data, we aim to isolate and describe signals that can be correlated with housing distress and foreclosure-induced vacancy. Arizona is analytically advantageous as area with an arid climate where the vegetation changes resulting from cessation of lawn maintenance are often dramatic and clearly observable.

Our preliminary analysis indicates that there are specific NDVI signatures reflecting differing landscape-maintenance responses to foreclosure, supporting our central thesis that foreclosure influences land cover. These results provide a foundation upon which we will engage in both detailed investigation of the environmental effects of this phenomenon, as well as the social drivers that have result in the dramatic differences in behavior across space. The broader value of this project is to understand the short and long-term influences of foreclosure over human-environment relationships in urban and suburban developments.