Urban green spaces and social cohesion

Kazmierczak, AE 2010, Urban green spaces and social cohesion , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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Green spaces provide numerous environmental, economic and social benefits to residents of urban areas. One particular notion is that green spaces contribute to social cohesion of urban communities. However, the extant evidence for this contribution is patchy and the mechanisms connecting social cohesion to green spaces are not well recognised. The aim of this thesis is to provide a conceptual framework linking urban green spaces and social cohesion. The critical literature review identified three hypothetical mechanisms that link green spaces to social cohesion: their role as free and accessible amenities; as social arenas enabling interactions between people; and as places relieving stress and aggression by providing contact with nature. These functions were investigated in a multi-method manner with the use of Geographical Information Systems, ecological surveys, questionnaire surveys, focus group discussions and statistical analysis of secondary data. Greater Manchester, UK, was used as a case study area. The results suggest that while green spaces were abundant in the area investigated, their accessibility was limited by unequal geographic distribution, problems with physical access and perceptions of their usability. They functioned as social arenas but this role was dependant on the presence of recreational facilities, qualities of the neighbouring area and personal characteristics of visitors. While contact with nature was valued by users, it was not seen as a priority and intensely managed settings were preferred by respondents. In conclusion, the research identified that a number of criteria need to be met for urban green spaces to contribute to social cohesion. The results have been combined into a conceptual framework of interrelated social and environmental factors affecting the potential of green spaces to provide this contribution. The thesis includes suggestions for further investigations into the socio-ecological functioning of urban green spaces and provides recommendations for green space planning and management.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Armitage, RM (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:25
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26750

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