Establishing ecological and social priorities for urban biodiversity conservation and their alignment through green infrastructure planning; a case study in Swindon, UK

Wilshaw, Jonathan C. (2020) Establishing ecological and social priorities for urban biodiversity conservation and their alignment through green infrastructure planning; a case study in Swindon, UK. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/CRGO3169

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The increasing number of people living in towns and cities across the world places ever growing pressures on, and demands of urban ecosystems. Research indicates that a diminution in the extent, quality and associated functions of urban green networks as a result of development pressure risks decline in urban biodiversity and the potential human benefits to be derived from nature rich urban environments. Adopting a case study approach, this research investigates ecological and socio-cultural priorities for conserving urban biodiversity and how these perspectives align within the theoretical framework and practice of green infrastructure planning. In doing so the research adds to a limited but growing body of evidence that describes the vital contribution of urban biodiversity to place making and how related policy and practice could better respond. The research took place in Swindon, UK, a town undergoing continued expansion and regeneration. Broadleaf plantation woodlands, as a widespread habitat and ubiquitous component of the town’s urban landscape, provided the venue for concurrent ecological and ethnographic explorations of the biodiverse qualities of place. Field studies of the richness and abundance of woodland dwelling beetles ran alongside observation of, and interviews with residents via regular and extended participation in Swindon’s health walks groups. The findings add to previous research highlighting the significance of the intricate and interlacing network of open spaces forming much of urban green infrastructure as wildlife habitats. Critically, the research also reveals the ways and depths to which common-place ‘everyday’ nature encountered in such settings is embedded within residents’ sense of place. The findings imply that urban biodiversity conservation goals should place much greater emphasis on local, small and inter-connecting greenspaces often dismissed in planning policy and conservation practice. Establishing such goals within strengthened green infrastructure planning frameworks and founded on a broader definition of urban biodiversity to encompass socio-cultural dimensions, could realise substantial benefits for environmental, personal and societal well-being.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conservation of urban biodiversity; Ecological priorities, Socio-cultural priorities; Broadleaf woodland habitat; Inter-connecting greenspaces; Swindon, UK
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General) > S900 Conservation of natural resources including land conservation
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2021 17:00
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 17:07

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