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change climate crisis greenspace nature

Will connecting with nature make enough difference?

The idea that connecting with the natural world is good for human health and wellbeing has become of a commonplace, underlined by many people’s experiences during the lockdowns of the last two years.  ’Nature connectedness’ is now influencing thinking among landowners such as the National Trust and healthcare practitioners who are testing how ‘green social […]

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cities greenspace nature Uncategorized

Why the mundane is magical, and how we can keep it that way

Governments like ambitious plans. They love to talk in terms of billions of pounds and ‘moonshot’ aspirations. The shiny and spectacular make better headlines than the everyday labour of caring for what we already have. But that everyday work of caring is foundational to our quality of life, as new research on urban green spaces underlines. The […]

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community greenspace nature

The rhythms of a park

How best to value a siskin, blackcap or whitethroat? Their wealth, the wealth they distribute or embody, is imperceptible unless you recognise that half-seen movement or half-heard song as part of what makes you alive, more in tune with the world, perhaps – part of a music you mostly only catch in snatches.  The music […]

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change cities nature place

Sand martins, saints and speculators

  Kelham Island is a tale of regeneration, of an industrial landscape now buzzing with human life. Last year it won the Academy of Urbanism’s Great Neighbourhood award. In the last decade property prices have increased by a quarter. New flats are going up and new restaurants are opening. This is the dominant story. If […]

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community creativity nature public policy sustainability

Why we need imagination in the face of ethical inaction

When Greta Thurnberg addressed members of Parliament a couple of weeks ago, she didn’t mince her words. ‘You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in the answers that will allow you to carry on as if nothing has happened,’ she told them. It’s easy to see how that conclusion could be […]

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cities nature

Beyond ‘green is good for you’

A while ago a joiner was doing some work in our flat, and asked me what I did for a living. I explained that among other things, I’m working on a research project about how green spaces enhance our wellbeing.  Of course they do, he snorted. Everybody knows that. His tone suggested it was ridiculous […]

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cities community nature place social justice

Plants, cyborgs, and the future of nature

Does nature have a future? If so, what kind of future will it be and how will humans shape it? These huge questions dominated proceedings at a conference to mark 50 years of the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield. Drawing together renowned speakers from around the world, the agenda was ostensibly the […]

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cities creativity nature place

Greetings from Utopia

We can only answer the question of what we should do, the philosopher Alistair MacIntyre said, if we can answer the question of which stories we are part of. We aren’t authors of our own lives so much as weavers of tales that extend before and beyond us. This week I was at Chester’s new […]