Helen HoyleHelen Hoyle


Research Associate Urban BESS Project
PhD Research Student, Department of Landscape (Supervisors: Professor James Hitchmough, Dr Anna Jorgensen)

Academic Qualifications and Awards:

2014 Winner White Rose Doctoral Training Centre doctoral research collaboration essay competition

2011 University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Science Scholarship to study for PhD in Landscape

2009 – 2011 MA (Distinction) Landscape Architecture University of Sheffield

Landscape Institute Award Highly Commended for Student Dissertation

1985 – 1988 BA Geography (2.1) Oxford University (St Edmund Hall)

Biography and Research Interests

My research focuses on the interface between human well – being and happiness related to cultural ecosystem services, specifically aesthetics, and biodiversity – related ecosystem services, specifically those delivered by invertebrates such as pollinators, in the context of a warming climate.

PhD Title: Human happiness v urban biodiversity? Public perception of designed urban planting in a warming climate

I gained my first degree in Geography at Oxford University, where I specialised in urban and social Geography, before spending time teaching in the secondary sector. As Head of Geography at first Forest School, London, then Queenswood School, I placed a particular emphasis on fieldwork, organising expeditions to Iceland, Costa Rica and more accessible UK destinations such as the Dorset Coast and North Wales. In 2009 I started a masters course in Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, where my real interest in ecological planting design was sparked. I was invited to work for Professor James Hitchmough on the London perennial meadow trials. In 2012 my dissertation on, ‘the Use of Cutting and Irrigation to Delay the Flowering of Native Wildflower Meadows’, focussing on this work, was awarded Highly Commended in the Landscape Institute annual awards. As a landscape architect I believe strongly in the importance of design for the ‘ordinary Joe or Joanne’ rather than for design elites, and for the need to reconcile human aesthetic preferences and ecological objectives.

My main role in the Urban BESS project is to manage the urban meadow manipulation experiment (WP4) on the ground in Bedford and Luton, liaising with local authority stakeholders and members of the public.