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Integrating trans-disciplinary approaches: joined-up working in urban regeneration.

Prowse, AJ and Morrison, KMM and James, P (2010) Integrating trans-disciplinary approaches: joined-up working in urban regeneration. In: The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS) COBRA 2010, 02 September 2010 - 03 September 2010, Paris. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper questions the relationship between biodiversity, planning and governance and highlights physical and organizational barriers that can prevent change. Trans-disciplinary approaches to evaluating biodiverse urban environments are discussed and analysed with particular reference to the role of environmental public art and community engagement projects within urban regeneration. Public art has been integrated into the regeneration of cities. Public artists are capable of delivering interesting ‘greening projects’ that involve local communities in the processes. Such projects appeal to local authorities because they are perceived to address objectives within authority¹s social and environmental policies. An illustrative study is provided: a multidisciplinary team were commissioned to map four miles of the Leeds/Liverpool canal as part of Liverpool Biennial’s Urbanism 2009. The team, led by an artist and a plant ecologist, collected data over six months in the spring and summer of 2009. This data included measurements of the biodiversity of the area, recording and categorising human activity, patterns of dog fouling, ‘landscape preference’ using selected canal-side landscapes, and detailed data on the ‘barrier constructs’ (fencing, walls etc) along the canal which link back to patterns of human activity and can be further related to aesthetics and environmental psychology. The conclusions were that this stretch of urban waterway is an ecological gem within an area of urban deprivation, but for the gem to attract people from across all demographics - to enjoy and foster ongoing use and respect for the environment, changes need to occur in the way that agencies and professionals work together. This vision can only realistically be achieved if professionals from all relevant agencies work collectively, pooling resources and expertise. A series of recommendations for action are suggested: it is not so much about community cohesion - a sense of community in the built environment - but cohesion amongst agencies and professionals.

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