Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
  • Publication
    Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure as a Health-Promoting Asset
    (Town and Country Planning Association, 2019-05) ; ;
    Drawing on recent policy and practice in Ireland, particularly as promoted by the National Planning Framework, Mark Scott, Mick Lennon and Owen Douglas look at green infrastructure’s potential as a health-promoting framework.
  • Publication
    Eco-Health: Ecosystem Benefits of Greenspace for Health
    (Environmental Protection Agency, 2020-07) ; ; ;
    The Eco-Health project explores the health benefits of ecosystems services as a means to supply evidence and tools for developing health promoting environments or ‘healthy places’.
  • Publication
    Social and community dimensions in cutaway peatland policy
    Industrial scale harvesting of Irish peatlands has been described both as a technical challenge and a socio-economic opportunity. While these are widely discussed, and thus better understood, a third issue, the relationship of local communities to cutaway peatlands, is less so. Throughout history, peatlands were 'developed' in order to help alleviate unemployment in disadvantaged regions, and this driver is a key influencer of policy and outcomes. But as the resource exploitation in Ireland approaches completion, the new challenges beyond wise use are now being posed: should we conserve some of the endowment undeveloped? Should we restore the cutaway so as to provide recreation and amenity, and other environmental services? How should national policy and local and community policies be reconciled? As part of the transdisciplinary Irish Bogland Project, these dimensions have been examined. Using a combination of focus groups, national and local surveys, and personal interviewing new light has been shed on the social-ecological interface in cutaway peatland areas. In this paper, we will review the relevant literature, and report our methodologies and findings, including the implications for policy.
  • Publication
    Mortgage-related issues in a crisis economy: evidence from rural households in Ireland
    (Elsevier, 2013-05) ;
    The recent economic crisis has demonstrated the extent to which households are exposed to the financialisation of advanced economies. Much of the debate surrounding the reasons for the crisis has centred on the role of neoliberal policies and particularly lax mortgage lending practices among financial institutions. This paper explores how neoliberal ideas were applied to property and development during the Irish house-building boom. Drawing on questionnaire survey data across five case study locations, it examines the mortgage practices of rural households during the boom period and their existing conditions in the current burst. In addition, the impacts and consequences of the neoliberalisation of the rural mortgage market for rural households within the context of the failure of these policies, a major housing crash and a neoliberal policy fix based on severe austerity measures is examined. Our results point towards the extreme hardship and stress being felt by rural households and highlight, through the lens of rural housing, the extent to which the practices and consequences of neoliberal policy in the mortgage arena are varied spatially in rural areas.
      1028Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    Industrially harvested peatlands and after-use potential: Understanding local stakeholder narratives and landscape preferences
    (Routledge, 2008-08) ;
    Recent years have witnessed much debate on the turn towards community within landscape management and planning. This is particularly evident in the European Landscape Convention which asserts the legitimacy of local preferences and citizen involvement in policy processes. This paper explores a bottom-up perspective on people-place relationships in a changing landscape, through assessing the after-use potential of industrially mined peatlands in Ireland and the rehabilitation of degraded landscapes. The mining of the peatland resource has a longstanding tradition in Ireland, however, significant attention has now focused on exploring market and non-market uses of remains after harvesting has finished resulting in a cutaway landscape. We argue that local people's everyday experiences of the landscape is a legitimate form of knowledge and should provide a key input into deliberative planning and management processes. Drawing largely on an interpretive research approach, we assess key local narratives in relation to harvested peatland landscapes and explore local people's after-use preferences. There appears to be strong support among the local community for amenity/biodiversity after-uses, which are currently not reflected in public policy debates. We review people-place relationships and discuss the role of ethnographic research in a peatland context as well as defining the relevant stakeholders. Finally, conclusions are developed to identify wider lessons for people/place relationships within the context of landscape management and planning.
      1158Scopus© Citations 23
  • Publication
    Defining 'Official' Built Heritage Discourses within the Irish Planning Framework: Insights from Conservation Planning as Social Practice
    Conservation of built heritage is a key planning process and goal which shapes urban development outcomes across European cities. In Ireland, conservation of the built heritage is a key part of the planning framework, albeit one that is, in comparative terms, only recently established. While it is widely recognized that the underlying rationale for conservation of built heritage varies considerably (from cultural priorities to place marketing), the literature suggests that heritage and conservation professionals perform a key role in controlling decision-making through an official or 'authorized' heritage discourse (AHD), emphasizing expert values and knowledge and based around selective heritage storylines often reflecting elite tastes. Drawing on policy and practice in Ireland, in this paper, we contribute to these debates by further unpacking the AHD, exploring tensions within the heritage policy elite through examination of competing views and representations relating to the purpose of built heritage protection. Based on a discourse analysis following interviews with key national actors, we identify two key narratives—a ''museum-curatorial' discourse and an 'inclusive heritage' discourse—which in turn frame conservation practices. We argue that subtle variations of heritage meanings have the potential to either reproduce (museum-curatorial discourse) or challenge (inclusive heritage discourse) conventional modes of practice, particularly relating to the relationship between built heritage and identity and the role of public engagement.
      854Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Urban green space for health and well-being: developing an 'affordances' framework for planning and design
    (Taylor and Francis, 2017-06-19) ; ;
    A vast literature exploring environmental influences on human health and well-being has provided renewed interest in connecting planning for the built environment with health initiatives. In response, planners and urban designers have been tasked with translating this knowledge into spatial planning and design schemes. This paper responds to an identified need for a conceptually-informed framework for green space planning and design for health and well-being that moves beyond attribute-descriptive studies. The notion of an 'affordances star' is proposed as a means to maximise the functionality and inclusivity of green space for health and well-being.
      1028Scopus© Citations 42
  • Publication
    Household vulnerability in rural areas: results of an index applied during a housing crash, economic crisis and under austerity conditions
    (Elsevier, 2014-01) ;
    The emergence of the economic crisis in 2007/2008 has increasingly exposed rural localities to exogenous shocks and ruptures within the globalised economy. Rather than focusing on economic growth alone, many commentators have begun examining how regions and localities can cope with economic crises by enhancing place resilience and reducing the vulnerability of places to global economic uncertainty. However, scant attention has been given to assessing economic vulnerability at the household scale. This paper attempts to marry and relate the global processes at work in both the literature on financialisation and vulnerability to facilitate understanding of and provide a framework for financialisation research at the household scale. In this context, we develop and apply a Household Vulnerability Index (HVI) to rural areas. Drawing on survey data, the index utilises both objective indicators (e.g. household income) and subjective indicators (e.g. household perceptions of future job insecurity) to provide a nuanced account of living conditions and life satisfaction among rural households in Ireland during a housing crash, economic recession and the widespread adoption of austerity measures across public policy. By adopting a vulnerability approach (rather than providing a ‘snapshot’), the HVI enables an assessment of not only current conditions for households, but also the probability of continued declining living standards and the exposure of households to further exogenous shocks. This provides a useful tool in assessing the potential impact of a range of public policies at the household level. In the case of Ireland, a link emerged between increased household vulnerability and rural localities that experienced an oversupply of houses during the recent speculative housing bubble, suggesting that the failure to effectively regulate development and finance has increased household exposure to financial risk.
      1047Scopus© Citations 33
  • Publication
    Focus group discourses in a mined landscape
    (Elsevier, 2010-04) ;
    Focus group research is rarely used for examining environmental discourses other than when conflict arises. This study looks at local citizen perceptions in relation to mined (or 'cutaway') industrial peatland landscapes in Ireland, and seeks to shine a light on the opinions of potential actors, and the degree of willingness to participate in after-use strategies, through focus group sessions. Data are analysed using two mechanisms - content and discourse analysis. It is shown that there is a high degree of reflective perceptions on issues of quality of life and the environment with a low level of concern about further use of peatlands as places of employment - a shift from a productive, utilitarian perception to a post-productive, non-utilitarian perception. It is also shown that, when presented with a scenario that sees cutaway peatlands being used for amenity and biodiversity, there are no negative issues and some degree of enthusiasm. This paper will conclude with remarks on focus group methodologies.
      467Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Competing discourses of built heritage: lay values in Irish conservation planning
    Built heritage conservation has traditionally been shaped by professionals through an 'authorised heritage discourse', emphasising expert knowledge and skills, universal value, a hierarchy of significance, and protecting the authenticity of tangible assets. However, while the purpose of built heritage conservation is widely recognised to be broad, encompassing cultural, social and economic benefits, it takes place in the presence, and on behalf, of a wider public whose values and priorities may differ starkly from those of heritage power-players. Drawing on the perspectives of a range of built heritage actors in three small towns in Ireland, this paper contributes to these debates, exploring the competing values and priorities embedded within lay discourses of heritage. Based on critical discourse analysis of interviews with local actors, the paper identifies that collected memory and local place distinctiveness, contributing to a sense of local identity, are of central importance in how non-experts construct their understanding of built heritage. In the Irish context, this is particularly important in understanding social and cultural statutory categories of heritage interest. The paper concludes on the implications for policy and practice and, in particular, the need to more effectively take account of non-expert values and priorities in heritage and conservation decision-making.
      724Scopus© Citations 23