I have two current strands of research interest.
Firstly, I have just finished a report for Sustrans, the national cycling infrastructure charity, on some public engagement in the design of their wonderful off-road route, the Fallowfield Loop. The ‘Floop’, as users know it, is an eight mile long green route (and ex-railway) through south Manchester. In the late 1990s local cyclists campaigned for its renovation as a cycle route, so this is a place with its roots in true public engagement with the urban landscape. You can read about it on the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop website. Based on the findings of my thesis about public engagement with transport infrastructure, I have investigated how to increase use of the Floop, through engaging people in designed improvements. This included organising ‘Floopfest’ which took place on the 15th September 2018. Take a look at my draft Floopfest report.
Secondly, through my PhD I have become deeply concerned for the future of the UK countryside. Again, I’m interested in public engagement, and how this can inform more effective and democratic use of spaces and places. I am pursuing links with different organisations with the aim of influencing policy about rural places. As a city person myself, I think we need to change urban-biased preconceptions about the countryside, and also acknowledge how much urban life depends on the quality, and indeed the very existence, of rural places.
As a landscape architect, I’m interested in understanding the complexity of how rural and urban places change and how that change can be steered in the right direction. I also want to look in to how this can be done without the future being decided by commercial interests. And I’m always, always, trying to find a place in all of this for plants!