Green Leisure: Resistance and Revitalization of Urban Neighborhoods

Wonjin Jeong, William P. Stewart, Paul H. Gobster, Carena J. van Riper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many cities have addressed urban population shrinkage by adopting strategies to re-purpose vacant lots in ways that leave them beautified and groomed. This study investigates leisure behavior resulting in beautified and groomed vacant lots that resist dominant discourses–referred to as green leisure. We applied a mixed-methods research design with property owners who purchased vacant lots through the Chicago Large Lot Program. Our focus group findings (n = 25) indicated that participants framed their activities as resistance tied to (a) vacant lot beautification, (b) providing places to socialize, (c) efficacy, and (d) neighborhood transformation. Using survey data (n = 197), results from a path model show that behavioral investment in greening–as measured by a Cues to Care Action Scale–is influenced by social normative beliefs, collective-efficacy, self-efficacy, and perception of gardening as leisure. Our findings lend support to policies that encourage resident-based private ownership of vacant land to revitalize urban neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-763
Number of pages21
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023


  • Beautification
  • collective efficacy
  • urban greening
  • urban leisure
  • vacant lots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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