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Title: Public uses, preferences and perceptions of urban woodlands in Redditch.
Author: Bussey, Shelagh Christine.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3512 0705
Awarding Body: University of Central England in Birmingham
Current Institution: Birmingham City University
Date of Award: 1996
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The urban woodlands in Redditch are integral elements of greenspace that are highly valued as an informal recreational resource, and for the physical and spiritual benefits that the community derives from visual and physical contact with them, on a daily basis. However, that they are cherished community assets, rather than places to be avoided, depends on contextually specific requirements being met, in regard to their siting and design. The thesis discusses these key criteria from the perspective of the Redditch urban community. It is identified that a choice of woods should be located within 300 and 700 metres of the home, to enable access by people, including those with restricted home range, mobility or with limited time to visit, and to provide a moderate walk to woods more distant, as an integral part of the 'recreational experience'. Convenient access to, and familiarity of these urban woodlands increases people's confidence to use woods more frequently and more distant from the home. Woodland size, preferably between 2 to 7 hectares and a good network of well lit, hard surfaced paths are also important factors influencing the attractiveness of woodland. Otherwise, visitors' demands regarding woodland type and facilities are modest. Plantations are as much valued and enjoyed as ancient semi-natural woodland. However even where the physical requirements for woodland are met, social and cultural factors limit many people's access to, and uses of the urban woodland. By exploring the personal, social and cultural values, and interpretations of these woods, the thesis analyses how the community reacts to change to the woodlands introduced by woodland management works, and identifies that it ascribes them a plurality of meanings and contextual relationships; as a woodland garden, a doorstep recreational area, a symbol of the pastoral idyll, a wildlife sanctuary and a gateway to the natural world. The theoretical framework of the thesis draws on multi-disciplinary perspectives including; landscape deslqn, town planning and the social and cultural perspectives of cultural geography. The evolution of the urban woodlands as elements of urban greenspace, people's recreational uses, and their attitudes and feelings towards them are explored by diverse methodological procedures, which include a longitudinal study and use of both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. The research both builds on and adds to the existing body of knowledge by addressing the value and significance of providing urban woodlands within the urban fabric, and the key criteria which need to be observed to provide such areas close to where people live, and close to what they need.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Urban planning & rural planning