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Title: Barriers to naturalistic planting in inner city parks
Author: Taylor, Jemima
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 6101
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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The last few decades have seen an increasing popularity in naturalistic planting. It is widely accepted to be attractive and beneficial to wildlife. It is, however, still unusual to see it in inner city parks, where mown grass, trees, shrub beds and colourful annual planting still predominate. This two-part study aims to identify where barriers are to naturalistic planting. Firstly, it explores park users’ attitudes to naturalistic planting, both in the broadest sense and at vegetation level. It uses quantitative survey methods to explore how demographic factors such as age, gender and occupation, and behavioural factors, such as park visit frequency, reason for being in the park and access to other types of open space, might influence preference and acceptance of naturalistic planting. Park users in two cities were asked about areas of naturalistic vegetation specially grown for this study. The second part is an exploration of the attitudes of professionals within the Green space sector; both local authority employees and professionals from specialist organisations. This qualitative study takes an ethnographic approach; attitudes towards naturalistic planting are explored within the context of the personal, professional motivations of employees within the Green space sector. It is hoped that by probing deeper into the culture of organisations, and the individuals that work in them, a greater understanding of naturalistic planting, in inner city parks, might be gained. It was found that park users almost universally embrace the idea of naturalistic planting, that factors such as age, familiarity and context influence park users’ views about planting. Diversity and “wildlife” were found be important to park users generally and the more familiar they are with these the more it influences their preference. Local authority employees were found to hold professional attitudes about naturalistic planting that did not reflect the attitudes held by the park users. Greenspace managers, while expressing approval of naturalistic planting, did not prioritise it as a vegetation choice. This study found that barriers to naturalistic planting are environmental and institutional. These can be overcome by champions for naturalistic planting within local authorities and outside them, strong relationships of trust between experts in the field and local authorities which incites motivation to innovate in vegetation management.
Supervisor: Hitchmough, J. D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available