Prof James Hitchmough is Professor of Horticultural Ecology and Head of the Department. His research interests focus on the reinterpretation of ecologically based herbaceous vegetation within the cultural context of urban public greenspace. This has resulted in a large volume of research on the creation of various native and non-native meadow, steppe and prairie vegetation landscapes. As the interest in these new vegetation types has developed so has the desire to interrogate the relationship between aesthetic values and preferences of the public. This has resulted in the development of a complementary strand of research based on the application of Environmental Psychology methodologies to designed urban vegetation. James has produced a number of books relating to the design and management of urban green space as well as peer-reviewed papers covering the development and impacts of ‘naturalistic’ plantings.
Quote from new book, soon to be published by Timber Press – “Sowing Beauty: Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed”
“in urban open spaces the key objective is to get it right for people first and then to shoe-horn in as many biodiversity benefits as possible. This is because, ….if you don’t get people who view or use the site on board, the political pressure for removal will often be too great for the sowing or planting to persist, and sooner or later it will be replaced by mown grass or similar. Everyone loses in this scenario”.