I have two current strands of research interest.
Firstly, I am working as a consultant 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, or have a look at a draft research proposal I wrote about the past, present and future of the route. Based on the findings of my thesis about public engagement with transport infrastructure, I am investigating how to secure increased use of the Floop, through engaging people in designed improvements. This includes organising some public engagement events on the Fallowfield Loop, including bike rides for school children used as prompts to creative responses, and ‘Floopfest’, to take place on the 15th September 2018. You will soon be able to read more about this event, but you can contact me to find out more, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 government policy about rural land use and green infrastructure. As a city person myself, I think we need to change urban-biased preconceptions about the countryside, and recognise 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 how these places, rural and urban, 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!