There is increasing recognition of the substantial role of urban green space in placemaking for cities. Green spaces provide the physical locations for community participation, social cohesion and neighbourhood exchanges. More profoundly, green space can create, define and maintain a unique sense of place, underpinned by an emotional connection that incorporates senses, memories, and the potential for contact with non-human nature, a sense of being part of something more than human. Urban green spaces are essential elements in cities to provide opportunities for city dwellers in their day to day lives to be part of urban nature and to maintain active links with their placemaking locales.

Planning, design and management of urban green spaces presents a range of challenges, but also opportunities to embed placemaking principles into ongoing practices. This research is investigating the links and opportunities arising by simultaneously addressing objectives for urban governance and placemaking skills development, for current planners and policy-makers, tertiary students (urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture) and for community members, by locating the focus on urban green spaces. Research findings will also contribute towards developing innovative approaches to green space governance that can reinforce and amplify placemaking approaches.

The research aims to address the following:

  • how does sense of place affect policy and governance processes and practices?
  • how do the policy-makers feel connected to the areas that they are working on?
  • how does urban green space affect sense of place (and ultimately influence custodianship and human-nature connections)?

The research methods involve qualitative data collection using a range of focus group workshops with policy makers, students and community members.

The project also provides the opportunity to link with Thrive’s PlaceAgency project https://placeagency.org.au/ and with research of the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub https://www.nespurban.edu.au/ .

Urban green space and sense of place