The environment is hotting up, but is it our political climate that is bad for street trees?

Camilla Allen


How is it possible that in a period where climate warming is one of the major issues affecting the survival of humanity that street trees are not considered as a vital part of the urban ecosystem, and thus integrated in the political debate?

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Debating the financial future of Sheffield’s parks

Dr Nicola Dempsey


This is the second of two blogs sharing the debate we held as part of the recent The Great Outdoors exhibition in the Winter Gardens, Sheffield.

Co-hosted with colleagues Jill Dickinson and Will Easdon at Sheffield Institute of Policy Studies, Sheffield Hallam University, we asked four speakers to debate the financial future of urban parks. The speakers were Councillor Mary Lea (Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, Sheffield City Council), Sue France (Green Estate which is custodian of Manor Fields Park), Peter Neal (landscape architect and environmental planner), Andy Jackson (Heeley Trust which is custodian of Heeley People’s Park). The debate was chaired by Dr Julian Dobson (Department of Landscape Architecture) who asked the following questions:

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Debating the future of urban parks

Dr Nicola Dempsey


I recently co-convened The Great Outdoors exhibition in the Winter Gardens, Sheffield with the Sheffield Institute of Policy Studies (Sheffield Hallam University), Drink Wise: Age Well and Sheffield City Council (Parks & Countryside). As part of this I hosted a debate on the future of urban parks with Hallam colleagues Jill Dickinson and Will Easdon.

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Cataloging by the book

Bristol entry

Playing the Archive Team

Playing the Archive: Memory, Community, and Mixed Reality Play, which is an ESPRC collaborative project, aims to explore the nature of play through the ages, and bring together archive material with modern technology. A key part of this project is to digitise and catalogue substantial sections of the Opie manuscript, held at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries.

The Sheffield cataloguing team are currently constructing the Place Name Authority in their catalogue of the Iona and Peter Opie Archive. Read more…

Green spaces help combat loneliness – but they demand investment

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Filipe Frazao /

Julian Dobson, University of Sheffield

Urban green spaces – including parks, woodlands, riverbanks, and gardens – are an essential part of a web of physical and mental well-being. They provide spaces to socialise and opportunities to connect with the natural world. They are restorative enclaves in stressful cities.

The UK government’s first strategy on loneliness, recently launched, recognises the importance of green spaces in supporting this web of connections. But England’s urban natural environment is increasingly at risk, jeopardising the ambitions of the loneliness strategy from the outset. Read more…

Peace through Purpose: A week with Scottish rewilding charity, Trees for Life

An area of the Caledonian Forest where the scots pine and birch trees are not being replaced by new growth. Camilla Allen, 2018.

Camilla Allen

In late September I was standing at Inverness station two hours before I was meant to be there. A pause which afforded a moment of reflection on the rush of the preceding week: writing, starting teaching, going to talks, delivering a lecture… It had been busy, and suddenly I was on the cusp of something different and unknown: a week volunteering for Trees for Life in the Highlands of Scotland, working to restore the Caledonian Forest. But was a week in the wilds really a good idea, considering that I am aiming to have my thesis written by Christmas and done and dusted early next year, ready for submission? One might think that it all was a bit of a distraction from the major task at hand… that it might even *gasp* be considered a holiday. Read more…

Focus on Trusts: Urban Parks Management Around the World

Dr Nicola Dempsey

Peter Neal, landscape consultant and Fellow of the Landscape Institute came to the Department to lead two informative sessions on the challenges facing landscape managers today. Peter’s talk took us through the changes over generations in how we manage our parks. He showed how closely some parks still replicate park management practices that Edwardian park keepers in straw boaters were doing to sustain manicured lawns that were not to be walked on (keep off the grass!) and bedding areas.

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Sheffield Woodland Connections



A small team of the Department of Landscape’s alumni organised four interpretive walks in Ecclesall Woods in 2017 to celebrate the launch of the Woodland Charter

The team, Sheffield Woodland Connections (SWC), consists of five post-graduate alumni from the Landscape Department. SWC is part of the national Tree Charter campaign, which celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest (issued in the same period as the Magna Carta). Coordinated by the Woodland Trust, the goal of the Tree Charter campaign is to instil understanding, engagement and fascination in trees and woodlands. The interpretive walks that SWC has offered in Ecclesall Woods since April 2017 have been met with consistent enthusiasm and interest. In addition to learning about woodland ecology and ID skills, participants are invited to measure trees, and to share their sketches and poems. Read more…

Green infrastructure in reducing urban runoff – does size matter?

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Siti Nur Hannah Ismail

At a recent Flower Show held in Chatsworth (The RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2017),  the Royal Horticultural Society and the Landscape Department designed a garden specifically to address the effects of climate change, The Garden for a Changing Climate. Various types of shrubs and low-growing plants were displayed in the garden to increase awareness of the need to adapt gardens to a changing climate. Selection was based on functional traits that contribute to reducing negative effects associated with extreme weather events, such as flooding. The displays were very popular, and attracted much attention from gardeners and visitors to the show – most saying that they would like to have these in their own garden because not only are they beautiful and colourful, but they can also help save the environment!

Displays such as this are made possible from results of focussed research. The PhD research presented here looked into the role of low-growing plants for rainfall interception. Aimed at contributing to the scientific knowledge that supports the application of small-scale green infrastructure in mitigating flood risks, this research investigated how different leaf traits affected moisture retention. Read more…

Students learn to explore layers of landscape

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0020.JPGFirst-year students explore the dimensions of the landscape of Loxley Valley through various media

Olaf Schroth

At the beginning of their second semester, our students explore the various dimensions of landscape through time, from history and geology to current planning policy and future landscape change. In addition to the lectures and workshops in our studio, students undertake two field trips to Loxley Valley near Sheffield. Learning Technologist Paul Buck supported them on site this year with 360’ photography and drone-based imagery (read the full story ). Read more…

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