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Research Case studies

Urban Forestry/Landscape Urbanism


The urban forestry/landscape urbanism work carried out at Leeds Beckett University started in earnest in 1997 with the EU’s COST Action E12 Urban Forest and Trees, led by Alan Simson, Leeds Beckett, on behalf of the UK.

COST stands for ‘European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research’. E12 was in operation from 1997 until 2002, and had as its main objective to improve the knowledge base needed for better planning, design, establishment and management of forests, woodlands and other tree resources in and near urban areas, and by so doing, establish urban forestry as a specific scientific domain in Europe. The Action achieved its objective, and developed into one of the largest COST Actions ever, with nearly 100 experts from 79 institutions from 22 countries being involved. Alan Simson of Leeds Beckett was appointed by the then DTI to lead E12 on behalf of the UK, partially because he was one of the authors of the COST proposal, and partially because of his previous involvement with the then Department of the Environment [DoE] as designer of the urban forest infrastructure of Telford New Town.

Numerous outputs emanated from the COST Action E12, including the first European reference book on urban forestry, an EU FP5 research project entitled ‘NeighbourWoods’ and a number of subsequent presentations given at conferences in the UK, mainland Europe and in China.

The impact of this work has been to assist in the definition and promotion of a specific brand of European Urban Forestry, as distinct from the American version, the acceptance by the EU of urban forestry as a specific scientific domain, the incorporation of urban forestry into various national green infrastructure strategies, assisting the Forestry Commission, Yorkshire & The Humber Division, in developing its urban mission, the setting up of the White Rose Forest in Yorkshire and inputs into several undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Leeds Beckett University.

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