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  • From the hydrosocial to the hydrocitizen: water, place and subjectivity within emergent urban wetlands

    Gearey, Mary; Ravenscroft, Neil; Church, Andrew; University of Brighton; Royal Agricultural University (SAGE Publications, 2019-03-11)
    This paper argues that the expansion of corporate social responsibility initiatives within the English water sector, and in particular the opening up of privately owned public spaces (POPS) in urban settings, have generated spatially fixed forms of human-environment relationships that we have termed ‘hydrocitizenships’. Utilising empirical fieldwork undertaken within an emergent wetland POPS, we suggest that these novel modes of citizen agency are primarily enacted through the performativity of volunteering, in multiple civic roles such as landscapers, citizen scientists, stewards and storytelling guides. Members of the local community thus effectively curate new civic subjectivities for themselves in response to the site and its organisation, by producing for themselves new modes of ‘hydrocitizenship’. These hybrid intertwined forms of practice prompt us to ask questions about the extent to which these apparently new forms of environmental citizenship are self-directed, or manipulated. As access, control over, and use of, water resources are a synecdoche of structural power relationships within contemporary neoliberal economies, we can go further to suggest that these blue-green POPS are emblematic of a new iteration of hydro-social relations in which water, place and subjectivity become the collateral through which new POPS are secured. For water companies seeking to deploy corporate social responsibility there is, then, a subtle two step move to be made, by building brand loyalty and then developing new forms of resource management in which local communities accept heightened levels of responsibility for sites to which they are offered recreational access. These emergent ‘hydrocitizenships’ thus encapsulate very specific geo-spatial subjectivities and performativities which lock in access to waterscapes with closely scripted conditionalities regarding activity and behaviour.
  • Indicators for relational values of nature’s contributions to good quality of life: the IPBES approach for Europe and Central Asia

    Schröter, Matthias; Başak, Esra; Christie, Michael; Church, Andrew; Keune, Hans; Osipova, Elena; Oteros-Rozas, Elisa; Sievers-Glotzbach, Stefanie; van Oudenhoven, Alexander P. E.; Balvanera, Patricia; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2020-01-10)
    Relational values are values of desirable relationships between people and nature and among people (through nature). We report on the approach to capture relational values of nature's contributions to people in the regional assessment for Europe and Central Asia of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). We present a framework considering indicators along four relational value dimensions about people's relationships with nature: security and sovereignty; health; equity and justice; and heritage, social identity and stewardship. The framework has been operationalized for three nature's contributions to people (NCP): regulation of freshwater quality and quantity, food and feed, and physical and psychological experiences derived from nature. We identify ways to empirically assess relational values of nature's contributions to people at regional and continental scales with social-ecological indicators and proxies, ranging from biophysical indicators to indicators that intersect socio-economic with biophysical data. We conclude that many of the identified indicators can be considered as useful proxies of relational values in a quantitative way. The analysis shows that relational values are essential to consider at the science-policy interface as they are an important set of values that people hold about nature and that go beyond instrumental relations.
  • English wetlands: spaces of nature, culture, imagination

    Gearey, Mary; Church, Andrew; Ravenscroft, Neil (Palgrave Pivot, 2020-06-11)
    The origins of this book are drawn from a research project entitled WetlandLIFE: Taking the Bite Out of Wetlands, which ran from July 2016 to July January 2020, funded by the Valuing Nature Programme, supported by a number of UK Research Councils. The research team are from a consortium of UK universities alongside public and third-sector organisations and independent creative practitioners. The overall ambition of the project has been to improve wetland management by delivering national ecological guidance for managing insect populations, particularly mosquitoes, as part of healthy wetland environments, and to encourage the recreational use of wetlands to support the health and wellbeing of local populations. To do this, 12 English wetlands were selected for an ecological survey of mosquito species on each site. We then selected three of these case study sites, in Bedfordshire, Somerset and the Humber Valley, to research human use, experience, value and perception of local wetlands. This book draws on all elements of the project and other influences taken from our combined research portfolios concerned with water and the environment.Thinking widely about the ways in which humans have shaped landscapes across time, and conversely the ways in which landscapes have sculpted human lives and cultures, this book seeks to celebrate the beauty, and complexities, of English wetlands from a contemporary purview. Attention is given to the ways in which these waterscapes have been much maligned, particularly in historical cultural representations, and how these waterscapes are increasingly understood as essential components for enabling transitions towards sustainable futures. Whilst the empirical fieldwork data which appears in all six chapters of the book is taken from the WetlandLIFE project work, the book also uses a range of materials drawn from other perspectives, including palaeoenvironmental archaeology; landscape architecture and environmental planning; human geography; ecosystem services; eco-criticism; literary, cultural and critical theory; environmental history; and natural resources management. As a result the book will appeal to a diverse audience. For those readers who feel an affinity with English wetlands and are keen to discover more about these spaces, the case study sites afford detail and nuance which are in turn particular to these places and local communities, and also emblematic of wider changes and trends across these waterscapes at a generic level.In order to provide clarity of focus, the book only reflects upon English wetlands, though readers are signposted to the work of other writers, both practitioners and theorists, throughout the book, for further reading and to enable considerations of other ways of { extquoteleft}knowing{ extquoteright} wetlands that are outside the remits of this work. We hope that by the end of the book, our readers will feel sufficiently engaged and curious to visit the case study sites that we have so grown to admire and to feel encouraged to explore other wetlands, armed with novel insights which will hopefully enable them to view these landscapes in an entirely new way. So don your welly boots and get out into the great outdoors; you won{ extquoteright}t regret it.
  • Understanding the diversity of values of “Nature's contributions to people”: insights from the IPBES Assessment of Europe and Central Asia

    Christie, Mike; Martin-Lopez, Berta; Church, Andrew; Siwicka, Ewa; Szymonczyk, Pawel; Sauterel, Jasmin Mena (Springer, 2019-07-17)
    Assessments of the value of nature (e.g., TEEB. The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity: ecological and economic foundations, London, 2010) have tended to focus on the instrumental values of ecosystem services. However, recent academic and policy debate have highlighted a wider range of values (e.g., relational and intrinsic values), valuation methods (e.g., socio-cultural methods), and worldviews [e.g., indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) systems]. To account for these new perspectives, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has developed the concept of ‘Nature’s contributions to people’ (NCP), which aims to be a more inclusive approach to understanding and accounting for the diversity of values held by different stakeholders. In this paper, we aim to critically appraise the merits of the IPBES conceptual framework by reviewing of the findings the IPBES Europe and Central Asia (ECA) assessment. Our objectives are: (1) To review and assess the instrumental and relational values of NCP in Europe and Central Asia? (2) To consider what additional insights into the value of NCP are gained through the inclusion of socio-cultural valuations and ILK? Our analysis demonstrates that the ECA assessment captures a wide range of instrumental and relational values of NCP; however, we acknowledge variation in the availability of this value evidence. We also highlight new insights that can be uncovered through the adoptions of socio-cultural valuation methods and analysis of ILK knowledge. We conclude that the NCP paradigm, with its focus on instrumental and relational values, treats values more holistically than previous assessments such as TEEB (2010). For example, by giving a ‘voice’ to ILK holders, we demonstrated new types of NCP such as carrion removal, along with evidence of relational values including sense of place, identity, symbolic values and sacredness. While the ECA assessments may be defined as an example of a ‘Multiple evidence base’ approach to valuation of ecosystem assessments, the ECA assessment fails to demonstrate how to incorporate this wider range of values in decision-making processes.
  • Layered and linking research partnerships: learning from YOUR World Research in Ethiopia and Nepal

    Johnson, Vicky; Admassu, Anannia; Church, Andrew; Healey, Jill; Mathema, Sujeeta (Institute of Development Studies, 2019-05-01)
    This article draws on learning from the YOUR World Research project in Ethiopia and Nepal, which uses the socioecological Change‑scape framework to understand how participants in research need to be understood within a landscape of changing institutional, environmental, and political contexts. The article explores whether trustful relationships, ownership, and commitment can bring about more effective societal change through research. Through group discussion and reflective perspectives, the authors draw out possible indicators of successful partnership from the different contexts in which YOUR World Research was working. These include histories of interpersonal relationships; shared vision and motivations; building ownership; shared platforms and spaces for dialogue; and flexibility to respond to shocks and changes in context. The article suggests that whilst being realistic about the power and politics of partnership, there are mechanisms in partnership models that can help support high-quality rigorous research whilst creating impact at local, national, and international levels.

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