Academic paper explores perennial urban meadows as an alternative to amenity mown grass

Local authority perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of introducing perennial urban meadows on local authority-managed land are explored in an article in academic journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

Perennial meadows have been introduced by several councils. Image: Richard Smith
Perennial meadows have been introduced by several councils. Image: Richard Smith

Not in their front yard" The opportunities and challenges of introducing perennial urban meadows: A local authority stakeholder perspective has been researched and written by academics from the Department of Landscape and the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, with the help of two parks departments - Luton Parks Service and Bedford Borough Council.

The authors - Helen Hoyle, Anna Jorgensen, Philip Warren, Nigel Dunnett and Karl Evans - conducted semi-structured interviews with eight stakeholder managers between 2013 and 2015.

They identified three dominant factors when introducing the meadows in their areas: aesthetics and public reaction, locational context, and human resources and economic sustainability. 

Additional factors, such as local politics, communication, biodiversity and existing habitat and physical factors varied in importance according to personal values and managerial role, the article said.

According to the study, managers perceived perennial meadows as a realistic alternative to amenity mown grass that in specific contexts could increase local biodiversity and enhance aesthetics if implemented in consultation with the public and local councillors.

It said: "Changes in management practice such as the introduction of perennial meadows have significant political, strategic, economic and practical implications and cannot be viewed purely as a technical challenge."

Not in their front yard" The opportunities and challenges of introducing perennial urban meadows: A local authority stakeholder perspective is published by Elsevier under open access online.


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