The aim of our project was to understand and explain appropriation, how it can be enhanced through ‘being with nature’, and the possibilities for cross-fertilisation with other main activities identified by the DPU.
We interpreted ‘appropriation’ as a ‘sense of belonging’ displayed by the residents of Hackney. Using age and history as a starting point, we examined the preferences in the structure of green spaces across generations. A divergence was uncovered between generations regarding their preferences for structure within green spaces as well as differences in opinions in the way Hackney Marshes ought to be managed. The research highlighted the gap between Hackney Council’s aspirations for the Marshes with those of the community.
It was found that there is a different sense of belonging amongst different age groups – with older community members feeling a greater connection with the space
There was, as well, a difference in preferences for structure of green spaces among different age groups. This leads us to believe that structure may impact the individual and community development of ‘sense of belonging’ among other factors (eg, value, usage, social interaction, history, etc).
In hopes of increasing usage the Council drafted the Hackney Marshes Master Plan to define usage by introducing extensive infrastructure. This contrasted with the communities preference for wilderness and the flexible use that it allows.
The Development Planning Unit (DPU) at the University College London (UCL) is an international centre specialising in academic teaching, practical training, research and consultancy in the field of urban and regional development, planning, and management