Investigating the Cultural Ecosystem Services of Urban Water Bodies and their use in Environmental and Land Use Planning


Supervisor: Dr Alexandra Collins

Non-accademic partner: The Environment Agency

Natural environments within towns and cities has been shown to have positive effects on health inequalities, mental health, recreation and life satisfaction. Therefore, designing towns and cities with this in mind could help to overcome the unhealthy lifestyles and increased chronic diseases that are associated with increased urbanisation, whilst at the same time protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. However, to date most investigations of the health benefits of natural environments have typically not differentiated between blue and green space. Therefore, this interdisciplinary PhD project will investigate the use of Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES), the “nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences” to improve understanding of how urban blue space contributes to health and wellbeing. The project will be in collaboration with the Environment Agency, helping to address a key research gap they have identified regarding the value of water quality and management in towns and cities in order to assist with the management of these resources and sustainable land use planning.