Open space on the edge of the city : exploring how people’s perceptions and usage can inform management of peri-urban open spaces, focusing on case studies of Ljubljana and Edinburgh
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis studies peri-urban landscapes (the landscape between the rural and urban setting), which has until recently gained little attention in academia and even less in planning practice and policy. This is largely due to a general view of these landscapes as something transient that will be developed in the future. However, some research has recognised these landscapes as important for the leisure and recreation of urban and suburban dwellers. Thus, this thesis is concerned with the current state of the peri-urban landscape, its characteristics and drivers of change with a focus on accessibility. Accordingly, the interest of the study lies in exploring people’s landscape perceptions and uses in relation to the accessibility of periurban areas and how they change over time. The focus of this thesis is Ljubljana and Edinburgh; these two cities have been selected as the case studies in order to elucidate the spatial and social patterns of the space on the edge of the city. The thesis centres on the perspective of inner-city dwellers’ perceptions, use of, and accessibility to peri-urban green spaces. Guided by the sense of place theory and the landscape planning approach, empirical work is at the heart of this research. A mixed-method approach, comprising questionnaire and focus groups with inner-city dwellers, interviews with authorities and planners and GIS-based analysis, is applied to gain new knowledge of inner-city dwellers’ relationship with periurban green spaces. The research found that people greatly value the established peri-urban green spaces, which have a variety of meanings for them, varying according to people’s socio-demographic and cultural characteristics. Furthermore, the appreciation of extensive semi-natural green spaces and green corridors has been shown to be universal and may imply some clues for further spatial planning of these areas. Conversely, people in general did not use the areas with low intrinsic value that are perceived as messy, ambiguous, etc. It appears that these spaces have lost their sense of place and therefore they are under threat of further development. Their future should thus be considered within long-term planning goals, in order to ensure environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development.