Anna Jorgensen BA MA PhD
Head of Department
Telephone: 0114 222 0621
Floor 12, The Arts Tower
I aim to challenge professional ideas about publically acceptable landscapes and test established frameworks from academic disciplines such as environmental psychology, social anthropology & cultural geography
My research interests focus around the ways in which different people experience, interact with, understand and represent landscape, and especially wild or natural-looking vegetation; and the desire to see a more holistic and environmentally friendly approach to planning and designing urban greenspace and green structure. My aim is often to challenge professional ideas about what might be publicly acceptable, and to test/explore established theoretical frameworks from different academic disciplines that are relevant to my field of enquiry (such as environmental psychology, social anthropology and cultural geography). Alongside my role as researcher I am a Professor and Head of Department.
Module co-ordinator for:
LSC 6113 Landscape Planning
Modules to which I contribute:
My research interests have shaped the following main outputs and research projects:
MA research project looking at different spatial arrangements of various woodland edge treatments in an urban park setting, and their impact on local residents´ preference and perception of personal safety. This study employed a quantitative research design, using digitally manipulated photographs to elicit participants´ responses. The dissertation received the Landscape Institute Award for best student dissertation in 2001 and the findings were published in Landscape and Urban Planning (Jorgensen et al, 2002).
Ecological woodland style
Doctoral research examining the use of the "ecological woodland style" as a setting for housing and new settlements, using Birchwood in Warrington New Town, UK, as a case study, employing a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, and funded by the award of an Economic and Social Research Council studentship. The thesis was submitted in 2003 and the main findings are summarised in a paper in Landscape and Urban Planning that helps develop an integrative conceptual framework for understanding the role of streetscapes and local landscapes in residential satisfaction and place identity (Jorgensen et al, in press).
An ongoing interest in theories of human/nature interactions and understandings and the contrasting and sometimes conflicting roles of evolutionary and cultural explanations. These ideas were first explored in a book chapter containing a review of the literature relating to the social and cultural context of ecological plantings (Jorgensen, 2004); and further developed in the previously mentioned paper summarising the outcomes of the doctoral research (Jorgensen et al, in press). More recently I have been exploring the cultural meanings of spontaneously occurring woodland within urban brownfield sites, by means of a review of literary and historical sources dealing with woodland and wilderness. I am currently revising a paper for Landscape Research, summarising the findings from this review.
Urban green structures
I am interested in exploring the environmental, social and economic potential of urban green structure towards providing a multi-functional vehicle for more sustainable urban development. For 5 years the Urban Planning Project (an elective component of the 2 year MA in Landscape Architecture) has focused on different aspects of this area of research. Working in partnership with Heeley Development Trust, in Sheffield, the students have collected data and mapped it using a GIS, and have used this data as the basis for strategic planning in the Heeley area. For example, in 2004, the students focused on the hydrological impact of different residential morphologies, and the data they collected was presented in a paper to the Third National Conference of Sustainable Drainage at Coventry University in 2005 (Stovin et al, 2005).
I am interested in supporting a broad range of research methodologies and in integrative multi-disciplinary approaches drawing on environmental psychology, social anthropology and cultural geography in the areas of:
• The perception of natural or wild-looking vegetation/plantings/landscapes in urban areas (especially woodland). This might, for example, consist of focusing on the perceptions of a particular group of people or looking at the role of urban wild spaces as restorative environments.
• The cultural significance of different planting styles in private gardens.
• The relationship between environmental value orientations and landscape preference in an urban context.
• The environmental, social or economic functions of urban green space.
My main area of teaching is Landscape Planning in both urban and rural contexts, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. My aim is to enable students to develop the generic transferable skills of research, analysis and strategic thinking and decision making, as well as specific planning methodologies such as Landscape Character Assessment and PPG17 Strategic Green Space Planning. I believe that these generic skills are useful and relevant at different scales and in widely differing contexts.
In terms of my approaches to the activity of landscape planning I seek to integrate the policy, theoretical and spatial aspects of planning. I prefer to deliver most of my teaching through a combination of participatory, workshop-based sessions focusing on particular skills or subject areas, site visits and external speakers. I see Landscape Planning as an equally "creative" process to Landscape Design, imaginatively integrating a complex array of different factors in strategic decision making.
Head of Department; Postgraduate admissions tutor; member of Teaching and Learning, Research and Knowledge Transfer, Admissions and Recruitment and Departmental committees; MA in Landscape Studies year tutor and personal tutor; research seminar convenor; Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Architectural Studies.
Like a large number of people involved in the discipline and practice of Landscape Architecture I converted to Landscape as a mature student, and have brought a range of different skills and understandings to my teaching and research practice.
I studied English Literature for my first degree at Cambridge University, reflecting my interest in creative, intuitive and fictionalised ways of understanding and representing the world. On completing my undergraduate degree I was attracted to the legal profession as a means of participating in political and social justice, taking a conversion course in Law and qualifying as a solicitor in 1984. I practised for 13 years until 1987, gaining experience of criminal, family, industrial, employment and personal injury law in a South Yorkshire Legal Aid practice. I became a partner in the practice but by the late 1980´s I had become keen to develop my creative abilities and my interest in social equity in a different arena.
Throughout my life I have been privileged to enjoy a close relationship with a number of particular landscapes, most notably a suburban brownfield site, a royal park, my grandmother´s allotment in Copenhagen, a Danish rural/coastal landscape and the Pennine Peak District. Eager to develop this relationship I took the MA/Dip in Landscape Design at Sheffield. During the MA I was successful in obtaining temporary employment in public arts administration, working for Public Arts in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
On completion of the MA I was torn between a desire to practise Landscape Architecture and the possibility of continuing to study. The award of an Economic and Social Research Council studentship to undertake PhD research in the Department convinced me that this was the appropriate way forward. After 2 years PhD study I successfully applied for the position of Lecturer in the Department, and have held this full-time, permanent post since 2001.
My career to date has therefore provided me with a combination of creative, analytical and research skills and interests, which continue to inform my approaches to teaching and research.
- Population-level linkages between urban greenspace and health inequality : the case for using multiple indicators of neighbourhood greenspace. Health & Place. View this article in WRRO
- What determines how we see nature? Perceptions of naturalness in designed urban green spaces. People and Nature. View this article in WRRO
- Is more always better? Exploring field survey and social media indicators of quality of urban greenspace, in relation to health. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 39, 45-54. View this article in WRRO
- Domestic gardens and self-reported health: a national population study. International Journal of Health Geographics, 17. View this article in WRRO
- Perceived species-richness in urban green spaces: Cues, accuracy and well-being impacts. Landscape and Urban Planning, 172, 1-10. View this article in WRRO
- Attractive, climate-adapted and sustainable? Public perception of non-native planting in the designed urban landscape. Landscape and Urban Planning, 164, 49-63. View this article in WRRO
- All about the ‘wow factor’? The relationships between aesthetics, restorative effect and perceived biodiversity in designed urban planting. Landscape and Urban Planning, 164, 109-123. View this article in WRRO
- Parkwood Springs – A fringe in time: Temporality and heritage in an urban fringe landscape. Environment and Planning A: international journal of urban and regional research, 49(8), 1867-1886. View this article in WRRO
- “Not in their front yard” The opportunities and challenges of introducing perennial urban meadows: A local authority stakeholder perspective. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 25, 139-149. View this article in WRRO
- Biodiverse perennial meadows have aesthetic value and increase residents’ perceptions of site quality in urban green-space. Landscape and Urban Planning, 158, 105-118. View this article in WRRO
- Forty years of Landscape Research. Landscape Research, 41(4), 388-407. View this article in WRRO
- Evaluating restoration in urban green spaces: Does setting type make a difference?. Landscape and Urban Planning, 127, 173-181. View this article in WRRO
- Increasing the resilience and adaptive capacity of cities through entrepreneurial urbanism. International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 6(3/4), 149-149. View this article in WRRO
- Beyond the view: Future directions in landscape aesthetics research. Landscape and Urban Planning, 100(4), 353-355.
Conference proceedings papers
- TOWARDS COST-EFFECTIVENESS ANALYSIS OF THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING BENEFITS OF URBAN GREEN SPACE: A MAPPING REVIEW. VALUE IN HEALTH, Vol. 14(7) (pp A343-A343)