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Landscape Experience and Migration: Superdiversity and the Significance of Urban Public Open Space

Rishbeth, Clare (2016) Landscape Experience and Migration: Superdiversity and the Significance of Urban Public Open Space. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis examines how first generation migrants experience urban outdoor places, detailing significant findings and methodological development relating to two research projects. The research is located in Sheffield, England. The first research project (Viewfinder) focuses on young refugees and asylum seekers exploring citywide greenspaces and parks. The second project (Walking Voices) addresses a neighbourhood scale of interest, working with first generation migrant residents to communicate their own stories and experiences of their local area. Creative and participatory research methods were developed for on-site work, using photography and independent audio recording. The research found that spending time outside is an important means by which first generation migrants feel a sense of agency and belonging in a neighbourhood context. Though the research supports use of urban greenspace as beneficial to individual and collective wellbeing, it underlines the critical importance of understanding cultural dimensions – motivations and barriers - to visiting parks and other types of greenspace. Evaluation of a local environment is often shaped by migrants’ experiences of past places, and previous expectations of life in the UK. Place attachment is strengthened by participation and familiarity in a local located community, and often by recognising transcultural connections. The overlapping use of public space by people from different ethnic communities offers opportunities for gradual informal contact and gives a visual shared recognition to the diversity of a neighbourhood. However, the ability to make choices about when to engage with one’s own ethnic group, and when to retreat from the expectations of this ‘public gaze’ was also valued. The thesis examines the implications of these findings for landscape architecture practice, and emphasises that the profession needs to become more culturally literate in responding to the superdiversity of urban contexts, and to difference in social and cultural values with regard to recreation, socialising, and natural places.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Landscape (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.689331
Depositing User: Dr Clare Rishbeth
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 15:00
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13580

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