Nature in the city - popular values for a living world.

Melanie Limb*, Jacquelin Burgess, CM Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The conservation movement in Britain is underpinned by a plurality of values and confusion of purpose that is well exemplified by the new urban conservation movement. This new approach advocates that wildlife in the city should be conserved primarily because of the personal and social benefits that stem from regular encounters with the natural world. Some organizations which are concerned with urban nature conservation have been more receptive to this new approach than others. All organizations have found it difficult to discover precisely how popular vallues for nature, as expressed by local people, can be articulated and incorporated into planning for nature conservation. Small-group discussions held with local people and conducted accordig to the principles of group analysis offer a novel means of accessing popular values for nature. This paper reports on the findings of the Greenwich Open Space Project which has employed in-depth discussion groups as part of a social survey designed to evaluate what role open areas play in the lives of people living in the city. The study reveals that nature is valued for a wide spectrum of reasons that are deeply embedded in our culture. Prominent among these reasons are the intrinsic appeal of wildlife through an active involvement with animals on a regular basis, and the symbolic value of wild areas and open spaces as "gateways to a better world".
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-362
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • conservation
  • popular
  • urban
  • values


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