PeopleScapes Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre
Exploring society-environment interactions, from cultural heritage management to sustainable landscape managementView content
PeopleScapes is an interdisciplinary group of social, economic, health, behavioural and environmental scientists, whose research and knowledge exchange expertise spans the breadth of society-environment interactions. Our activities commenced in 2013 and in 2021 they led to the launch of PeopleScapes. Our aim is to be a Centre of Excellence, producing innovative and internationally significant research on people and place relationships. For more details of our research and knowledge exchange, explore the tabs below.
We work closely with a range of professional practitioners from public, private and charitable sectors, nationally and internationally, to ensure our research achieves positive outcomes for the common good. For details of who we work with, see below.
Who we are
Prof. Denise Hewlett, Professor of Knowledge Exchange, Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technologies
Prof. Niall Finneran, Professor of Historical Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Dr Debra Gray, Reader in Social Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
If you are an external organisation or individual seeking to join us or to tap into our expertise, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We encourage early career and postgraduate membership and can provide development and monitoring opportunities, and constructive feedback.
Background image: Corfe Castle by Martin Dolan
- To increase academic insight on key challenges at the interface of people and environments
- To provide methodological evidence to achieve practical solutions, enhancing professional practice, policy formulation, its implementation, and strategic planning
- To create interdisciplinary approaches and solutions that transcend and blend traditions of social, economic, natural, and health sciences, and humanities
- To work with international, national, regional, and local levels of policy-making and strategic planning
- To engage communities in projects, including citizen science approaches, enabling external capacity development
- To promote our work to wider audiences at public forums and network opportunities
- To engage with students, and, through training opportunities, enhance their skills in research and knowledge exchange (RKE)
Who we work with
Knowledge Exchange partners
- Chambers of Commerce and a number of corporate private sector organisations
- Community Groups, Charities and Community Interest Companies
- Government authorities including Natural England and county and local councils
- European Union Global Diaspora Facility
- International Union for Conservation of Nature & World Commission for Protected Areas
- Landscape Institute
- National Trust
- National Park Authorities
- NHS Trusts
- Public Health England
- Royal Geographic Society
- Wildlife Trusts
Higher Education partners
- Bournemouth University
- University of Buckingham
- Flinders University, Australia
- Pernambuco State University, Brazil
- University of Plymouth
- University of Seville, Spain
- Tongjin University Shanghai, China
- University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados
Our worldwide research and knowledge exchange
Our research interests are wide-ranging and cover a variety of aspects of people/place/environment relationships. Cross-cutting themes are:
- Sustainable development
- Place, identity and attachment, and the group-based dynamics of people/place relationships
- Society-environment interactions
- Multifunctionality of spaces
- The values and health benefits of public spaces including natural environments, urban greenspaces and workspaces
- Nature-based solutions to socio-economic and environmental challenges, in areas of cultural and environmental importance such as National Parks, World Heritage Sites and coastal areas in the UK and internationally
- Heritage as a tool for social justice, education and empowerment
Other key research strands:
- Children's engagement strategies around natural heritage (National Trust) sites (read the Phase 1 report: PeopleScapes Centre National Trust Audit)
- Place and memory of the Old Jewish East End of London using digital tools
Much of our research, and our engagement with institutions, takes place at the international level of policy making.
We are members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the IUCN's World Commission for Protected Areas (WCPA) and the IUCN/WCPA COVID-19 Protected Areas Task Force. The Task Force aims to collate information and insights on the impacts of COVID-19 on protected and conserved areas and to collate and disseminate principles and good practice for rescue, recovery and rebuild, to strengthen and expand systems of protected and conserved areas which contribute to human health and welfare. We also play a key role in the IUCN Health and Wellbeing Specialist Group which promotes the health and wellbeing benefits of nature across the conservation, health and other sectors.
Key recent activities:
- IUCN Technical Note, urging increased support and investments in protected and conserved areas as part of COVID-recovery strategies, along with guiding principles encouraging effective, equitable, and durable outcomes.
- PARKS Journal Special Issue on COVID-19: COVID-era policies and economic recovery plans, a TED-style video highlighting findings of a study in the early pandemic on rollbacks and economic recovery plans during the onset of the pandemic that supported and/or undermined conservation areas.
- IUCN and WCPA at COP26: video on protected areas as solutions for climate change and biodiversity crises.
For further information, contact Prof. Denise Hewlett.
Other key international research strands:
- Digital toolkits for community heritage in West Africa and the Caribbean
- Urban heritage and community in Shanghai, China
- Digital heritage strategies among youth diaspora groups from Barbados, Brazil and Rwanda
Our projects have a strong citizen science aspect. They include:
PeopleScapes Centre launch, date TBC.