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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Lawn as a cultural and ecological phenomenon: A conceptual framework for transdisciplinary research

Ignatieva, Maria; Ahrné, Karin; Wissman, Jörgen; Eriksson, Tuula; Tidåker, Pernilla; Hedblom, Marcus; Kätterer, Thomas; Marstorp, Håkan; Berg, Per; Ericsson, Tom; Bengtsson, Jan


Globalisation and urbanisation are driving the worldwide homogenisation of urban landscapes. The flora and fauna of cities in different parts of the world are very similar, irrespective of geography and climate. One of the most powerful symbols of modern urban landscapes is the lawn. There are just a few management options for urban lawns, regardless of how they are used and where in the city they are situated. Today, lawns occupy much of the green open spaces in cities (70-75%) and are located in private front and rear gardens, public parks, cemeteries, golf courses and along roads. Most people in the Western world view lawns as a 'natural' and even compulsory element of the urban landscape, without questioning their social, symbolic, ecological or aesthetic values. In this article we discuss the conceptual framework and methodological approaches being used in an ongoing transdisciplinary collaboration project including stakeholders to study lawns in Sweden as a social and ecological phenomenon. The overall aim is to understand the role of lawns in sustainable urban planning, design and management. The transdisciplinary approach allows us to exchange knowledge between scientific disciplines in order to influence the studies within each subject throughout the project and to achieve a multi-dimensional understanding of the lawn as a phenomenon. The involvement and close collaboration of stakeholders in the project allows us to obtain first-hand information on planning issues connected to lawns and existing planning data from cities and to focus on true implementation aspects rather than just theoretical recommendations. (C) 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


Globalization; Homogenization; Interdisciplinary; Transdisciplinary; Lawn; Management; Sustainable planning and design

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2015, Volume: 14, number: 2, pages: 383-387