Call for Contributions to Edited Book: “The Transformative Power of Parks”

Persistent concerns about declining human health, environmental sustainability, and social equity demand innovative solutions. For decades, research has revealed that outdoor recreation, parks and green spaces have the capacity to address these issues by improving health and quality of life, promoting environmental stewardship, and enhancing community well-being. This research, however, is scattered across a wide array of disciplines and publication outlets. Building on contributions from members of the NE 1962 Multistate Research Group, we are working on an edited volume that will synthesize the current state of knowledge regarding broader benefits of parks and recreation and identify opportunities for generating equitable outcomes across diverse communities. Within this larger context, our volume will include specific sections focused on human well-being and preventative health benefits, community vibrancy and resilience, and environmental literacy and stewardship.

 We are therefore seeking contributions from researchers and practitioners across a wide range of disciplines to a new edited book (to be published by Sagamore-Venture Publishing) on the “Transformative Power of Parks.” The book will illustrate how parks and recreation can transform the way people live and interact with social and ecological systems. Ultimately, we envision a resource that will help researchers, students, practitioners, and other key stakeholders across multiple disciplines communicate the benefits of parks and recreation to impact policy and planning on a path toward a sustainable future.



        Kelly Bricker, University of Utah (Health & Well-being); [email protected]

        Peter Fix, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; [email protected]

        Lincoln Larson, North Carolina State University (Environmental Literacy & Stewardship); [email protected] 

        Taylor Stein, University of Florida (Community Vitality & Resiliency); [email protected]

Section Editors:

     Kathy Scholl, University of Northern Iowa (Health & Well-being); [email protected]

     Keith Tidball, Cornell University (Community Vitality & Resiliency); [email protected]

     Kristi Lekies, The Ohio State University (Environmental Literacy & Stewardship); [email protected]


Sections & Themes:

Modeled after the NE1962 Multistate Project, the book will highlight the transformative power of parks and outdoor recreation across three main themes (or sections): health and well-being, community vitality and resilience, and environmental literacy and stewardship. Each of these three sections will contain 4-6 chapters that focus on specific contributions of parks (sub-themes) within these larger themes (e.g., physical activity within health). We encourage prospective authors to identify an overarching theme and to focus their chapter on a specific sub-theme to give their chapter focus. The following list provides examples of sub-themes within each overarching theme to offer guidance, but we welcome potential authors to suggest their own sub-themes. 

 Section 1: Health and Quality of Life

        Physical activity and health

        Psychological well-being

        Social well-being and neighborhood connectedness

        Positive youth development

        Therapeutic recreation

 Section 2: Community Vitality & Resiliency

        Urban ecosystem services

        Economic impacts of parks and recreation

        Parks, recreation and community development

        Ecotourism and sustainable development

        Environmental justice and gentrification

        Resiliency and responding to environmental change

Section 3: Environmental Literacy and Stewardship

        Connection to nature – especially for youth

        Nature-based recreation and environmental literacy

        Environmental education and non-formal programming

        Civic ecology

        Sense of place and pro-environmental behavior


Types of Contributions:

Contributions will come in one of two forms.

 Book Chapters (about 3500-4000 words)

Each book chapter should present a broader review or perspective of: 1) the current state of science with respect to this sub-theme (what have we learned, what theories and methods have advanced research in this context?); 2) the questions that have not yet been answered (what are the research gaps and future opportunities?), and 3) implications for policy and practice (including tangible recommendations based on the current state of knowledge). These chapters will resemble short literature reviews or policy briefs more than a conventional research article, and they should be written in a way that is accessible to multiple audience (e.g., researchers, practitioners, policy-makers). Chapters should build on existing reviews of related topics to clearly indicate practical implications and highlight the transformative power of parks in each domain.

 Vignettes (about 1000 words)

To help translate research to practice, each of the three main sections will also include approximately three short vignettes or case studies that pertain to each theme. These contributions might come from academic researchers or practitioners, and they are designed to highlight a study, program, or process showing each theme in action.

 We encourage submissions within each thematic section to consider international perspectives on the power of parks and themes of diversity and inclusion when writing about particular topics. In addition to contributed chapters and vignettes throughout these three broader sections, the book will include a short introduction that outlines the history of parks and recreation and acknowledge a growing recognition of the broader social outcomes they produce. It will also include a brief conclusion that summarizes the key points and offers recommendations and strategies for leveraging the transformative power of parks across multiple themes to create a more sustainable and prosperous future.

 Anticipated Submission & Publication Timeline:

        February 21, 2020 – Deadline to submit expression of interest (see below for details)

        March 2020 – Invitation to submit full manuscript

        September 18, 2020 – Deadline for contribution authors to submit full manuscript drafts

        January 2021 – Peer reviews and decisions returned to contributing authors for revisions

        May 14, 2021 – Deadline for contributing authors to submit final manuscript

        August 2021 – Editorial team completes compilation of full book

        December 2021 – Final version of book published

 If you are interested in contributing to this edited book with a chapter and/or vignette under any of the themes listed above, please send an expression of interest to Dr. Peter Fix at [email protected]. This expression of interest should include:

·         The proposed title of your chapter/vignette

·         A list of co-authors and affiliations

·         An abstract of no more than 300 words that summarizes core content

If you have questions about the proposed book or the guidelines for contributors, please contact Dr. Peter Fix or any of the co-editors listed above.