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Local culture: A fundamental factor in biodiversity's contribution to human health and well-being

Tzoulas, K 2006, Local culture: A fundamental factor in biodiversity's contribution to human health and well-being , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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Abstract

Urban biodiversity provides environmental, social and economic benefits, and consequently contributes to the health and well-being of people living and working in cities. However, a critical review of people-nature literature revealed no integrated theoretical framework linking biodiversity and health. The aim of this thesis is to provide such a framework by developing a grounded theory based on a case study combining a critical literature review and desk study, with ecological and anthropological methods. The study was conducted in Birchwood, Warrington, UK, between October 2002 and December 2005. Innovatively, this research used substitute measures for urban biodiversity and human health and well-being: urban habitat structural diversity, and peoples' activities and experiences, respectively. The former was recorded through an index of urban habitat vegetation structure, Tandy's Isovist technique and Domin scale of vegetation cover estimates. Structured observations, opportunistic photograph taking, and content analysis of local archives were employed to evaluate the latter. Non- parametric correlations (Kendal's tau_b) revealed that low trees were associated with bird watching (+ 0.421, p=0.05) and leisure walking (+0.336, p= 0.05), and that amenity grassland was associated with jogging (+0.386, p= 0.05) and cycling for leisure (+0.348, p= 0.05). Local experiences were classified into thematic categories with the most frequently expressed concerns being related to 'local community' (39%, N= 1334) and 'open space' (31%, N= 1334). These empirical data were combined with published theoretical models into an integrative theoretical framework summarised by the grounded theory: local culture is a fundamental factor in biodiversity's contribution to human health and well-being. Consequently, to maximize mutual benefits, both urban nature conservation and public health agencies should jointly develop community engagement programmes. Further interdisciplinary work involving urban nature conservation, public health, landscape architecture and environmental psychology, which can be guided by the integrative framework developed in this thesis, is required.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Bell, D (Supervisor) and Scott, D (Supervisor)
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2015 23:29
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26950

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