August 28, 2019

With Christopher D. Ives, Nicole Porter and Richard Irvine

Abstract: Spiritual meanings and values of ecosystems have been an integral part of human’s experience of nature across times and cultures. While spiritual values for nature were subsumed into the category of cultural ecosystem services in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and more recently conceived of as nonmaterial, intrinsic dimensions of Nature’s Contributions to People, there remains little research on how spirituality informs people’s experiences of nature and relates to other tangible landscape features. Drawing on qualitative interviews with decision-makers, activists and civil society stakeholders, we present insights into how spirituality is conceptualised and lived in the context of a bioculturally diverse greenspace in Birmingham, UK. We find a variety of spiritual interpretations in relation to this site, and that spirituality is often a vital component of place attachment. However, many interviewees find this difficult to articulate. Our research points towards key considerations that can be used to develop a planning framework.


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