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Über dieses Buch

Amsterdamse Bos, Bois de Boulognes, Epping Forest, Hong Kong’s country parks, Stanley Park: throughout history cities across the world have developed close relationships with nearby woodland areas. In some cases, cities have even developed – and in some cases are promoting – a distinct ‘forest identity’. This book introduces the rich heritage of these city forests as cultural landscapes, and shows that cities and forests can be mutually beneficial.

Essential reading for students and researchers interested in urban sustainability and urban forestry, this book also has much wider appeal. For with city forests playing an increasingly important role in local government sustainability programs, it provides an important reference for those involved in urban planning and decision making, public affairs and administration, and even public health.

From providers of livelihoods to healthy recreational environments, and from places of inspiration and learning to a source of conflict, the book presents examples of city forests from around the world. These cases clearly illustrate how the social and cultural development of towns and forests has often gone hand in hand. They also reveal how better understanding of city forests as distinct cultural and social phenomena can help to strengthen synergies both between cities and forests, and between urban society and nature.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Djurgården and Stockholm, Epping Forest and London, Grunewald and Berlin, Bois de Boulogne and Paris, the Amsterdamse Bos and Amsterdam, Forest Park and Portland, Oregon, Stanley Park and Vancouver – these examples all show that over time, close relations between cities and forests have developed. ‘City forest’ is a term that exists in many different languages. Stadtwald (German), stadsbos (Dutch) and byskov or bynær skov (Danish) are only some examples of this. Traditionally, a city forest has been defined as a forest owned and/or managed by a certain city. Gradually the scope of the city forest concept has been broadened, now referring to a forest situated in or adjacent to a city, regardless of ownership. Perhaps more characteristic, however, are the close links between a forest and the local urban society (Konijnendijk 1999). Today, city forests are often treated as part of a larger urban and peri-urban green structure. The term ‘urban forest’ has come into wider use, for example, to refer to the planning and management of all tree-dominated green resources, both publicly and privately owned, in and near an urban area (Randrup et al. 2005; Konijnendijk et al. 2006; Konijnendijk van den Bosch et al. 2017). Like trees along streets and in parks and gardens, city forests are one element of this wider ‘urban forest’. In many cities, woodland plays a very important role, not in the least from a social and cultural perspective, within the overall urban forest and urban landscape.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 2. The Spiritual Forest

Abstract
This chapter looks at the spiritual meanings of forests, and particularly of city forests, over time. The spiritual values of something do not only relate to religion, as explained by Schroeder (2001). ‘Spiritual’ refers to the experience of being related to, or in touch with, an ‘other’ that transcends one’s individual sense of self and gives meaning to one’s life at a deeper than intellectual level (Schroeder 1992). Spirituality thus includes our need to be connected to something larger than ourselves, from divine beings to a forest, as well as how we make meaning in and from our world and our sense of wonder and awe that lies beyond rational understanding. Spirituality also relates to aspects of personal growth and self-reflection (Anhorn 2006, p. 19). A spiritual experience is an intuitive and emotional kind of experience in which a person feels caught up and carried along – or alternatively filled and inspired – by a feeling, an idea, an image or a creative impulse. This can be through religious rituals and disciplines, but also through contact with forests or other parts of the natural environment. According to Holloway and Valins (2002), religious and spiritual matters form an important context through which most of the world’s population live their lives, forge a sense of self, and make and perform their different geographies.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 3. The Forest of Fear

Abstract
Generally, city forests are popular places, as most other chapters of this book will show. Yet, like all forests, they also have a ‘darker’ side. Jones and Cloke (2002) mention that ‘places of trees’ can be places of fear as well as of exclusion. In his account of his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa, author Bill Bryson (2007, p. 159) characterises local woods as follows: “The woods were unnerving. The air was thicker in there, more stifling, the noises different. You could go into the woods and not come out again. One certainly never considered them as thoroughfare. They were too vast for that.” Van den Berg and Konijnendijk (2017) talk of ‘ambivalent landscape’ that evoke feelings of both fear and love.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 4. The Fruitful Forest

Abstract
Forests, including city forests, have always provided our society with a wide range of benefits, starting with meeting the dietary needs of humans and their farmed animals, as well as for fuelwood and construction materials. Jones and Cloke (2002, p. 40) speak of “working trees” which offer a wide range of products and services. This book focuses on the many cultural and spiritual roles of forests. These can be categorised under city forest services, as in the case of forests providing opportunities for recreation and tourism, for learning, and for spiritual enrichment. However, insight in the use of forest products is also very important for understanding the wider socio-cultural importance of city forests.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 5. The Forest of Power

Abstract
Power has been defined as the capacity to control or change the behaviour of others (Ellefson 1992). In a classic sociological sense, power relates to the probability that a person or group can assert his, her or its own will in a social relationship, despite resistance (based on Krott 2005). These definitions seem rather straightforward, but power is a very complex phenomenon (e.g. Mitchell 2002). Michel Foucault taught us, for example, that power is omni-present and not just enforced top-down (e.g. Crampton and Elden 2006). It is about acting upon the actions of others, in order to interfere with them. Power is often considered as being ‘negative’ (e.g. when dictators enforce their will upon people), but it does not have to be repressive, and in fact it can also be highly productive. Without power, for example, governments would have difficulties to maintain law and order. Foucault introduced the concept of ‘biopower’, which among other looks at space as a vital part of the battle for control and surveillance of individuals (Crampton and Elden 2006).
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 6. The Great Escape

Abstract
City forests have always taken a rather special place within urban societies. On the one hand, they are an integral part of it, while on the other they offer – at least the illusion of – a possibility for escape and retreat. In line with Tuan’s (2007) distinction introduced in Chap. 1, city forests are both safe, familiar ‘places’ and unpredictable, exciting and sometimes challenging and unknown ‘spaces’.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 7. A Work of Art

Abstract
Like the myths and fairy tales described in Chap. 2 ‘The Spiritual Forest’, art is an important part of culture. This chapter looks at the relationships between city forests and art. First, woodlands in and near cities have inspired writers, poets, painters and other artists over the ages, as the next section shows. During the nineteenth century, this artistic interest even led to some of the first citizen movements to protect city forests against urban and other pressures. The second part of this chapter illustrates how city forests can be considered works of art in their own right, providing their owners with prestige and offering attractive environments to recreate. The design and structure of city forests have changed over time according to changing preferences and fashions. In modern times, some city forests have even become part of so-called ‘landscape art’.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 8. The Wild Side of Town

Abstract
In 1986, British broadcaster and environmentalist Chris Baines published the book “The Wild Side of Town”. The book coincided with a popular BBC television series and had a major impact on people’s appreciation of urban wildlife in Britain. Baines wrote: “The green space in towns and cities is much more than a simple, slightly degraded duplicate of pre-war farmland. For a great many species, the town is a much better place to live in than the countryside ever was.” (Baines 1986, p. 29). Various studies have confirmed that urban areas often harbour a perhaps surprisingly high variety of species of plants and animals (e.g. Cornelis and Hermy 2004; Gustavsson et al. 2005; Alvey 2006; Lorusso et al. 2007; Nielsen et al. 2014). An article in Newsweek (Theil 2006) confirms that there is a place for nature even in the most urbanised area. It refers, for example, to research by Munich’s Technical University which found more species and more diverse habitats in selected big cities than in any national park of nature reserve. Berlin is home to two-thirds of all bird species in Germany, while Zurich hosts ten times more foxes, hedgehogs and badgers per square kilometre than the surrounding countryside. Part of the explanation is that cities offer a mosaic of habitats and microclimates, from pond-filled gardens to industrial brownfield sites and, of course, city forests. Moreover, urban green spaces harbour a large number of exotic species. A study of South-African towns, for example, found two-thirds of all woody plant species to be alien species (e.g. McConnachie et al. 2008).
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 9. The Healthy Forest

Abstract
After a stressful day at the office, or when facing a challenge in life, the forest can bring me solace. A walk among the trees, the only sounds around those of nature, often settles my frantic trains of thoughts. Deep breaths of fresh and fragrant forest air have a physical impact on me. I need the Healthy Forest nearby.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 10. The Forest of Learning

Abstract
During my career, I have studied and worked at several universities that have had their own research and training forests, and the immense value of these nearby learning resources has gradually become clear to me. Students enrolled in various programs at the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, learn about hands on forest and conservation practices in the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in the nearby town of Maple Ridge. As a student, tree and shrub identification made so much more sense when I could visit the local arboretum or park to practice and see species ‘in real life’.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 11. A Youthful Forest

Abstract
The apple orchard near my childhood home was my own ‘city forest’ and I spent many hours there, with my friends and sometimes alone. Urban woodlands in many forms and shapes have provided children and youth with adventurous ‘wildscapes’, places to hang out and escape from adult eyes, as well as important exposure to nature. When visiting the world’s city forests today, the sounds of birdsong is often interspersed with that of children’s laughter and screaming. The important role that city forests often have in children’s lives is worthy of a chapter of its own, not in the least in a time when many are concerned that young people are less in contact with nature then before, especially when they grow up in urban areas.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 12. The Social Forest

Abstract
For many of us, a major part of our interactions with forests takes place on an individual basis. However, we also cherish our visits with loved ones, friends, colleagues. As a child, the family trips we made to nearby and more remote forests were always a treat, and the joint experience of discovering something special or encountering an animal was very strong.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 13. A Forest of Diversity

Abstract
Walking through world’s city forests such as Sonsbeek in Arnhem or Stanley Park in Vancouver, one is struck by the omnipresence of diversity. First, despite many city forests having a clear character and identity of their own, they are also often diverse in structure, species composition, recreational use, and the like. More managed, park-like parts that are intensively used for recreation are often a portal to more natural, forest-like settings were human use is less intense, and where at least some wildlife can find peace and quiet. Although some tree species dominate, the observer can often identify a great number of different species of trees and shrubs. The role of many city forests as testing grounds, for example for introducing new trees species, is an important explanation for this (see Chapter 10 ‘The Forest of Learning’). Moreover, city foresters have often introduced greater species diversity to deal with harsh urban conditions or to enhance their aesthetic and other benefits.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 14. A Forest of Conflict

Abstract
As a child, I was fascinated by the fights over city forests that featured prominently in the media. In The Netherlands, the Amelisweerd forest near Utrecht gained strong support from activities and the local community when part of it was under threat from highway development. Other countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, also had their urban forest conflicts. I soon started realising that nature and development were often an unlikely match.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Chapter 15. A Forest for the Future

Abstract
Across the world, city forests are developing in close relation with local urban communities, both facing their respective challenges. When visiting city forests in different countries and cities, I am always amazed by the many roles they play, and about their variety and diversity, from an almost wild forest in Vancouver to the formality of former royal estates in Paris, and from the spontaneous development of new woodland in the Ruhr area of Germany to the highly designed afforestation in the forests of Flevoland in The Netherlands.
Cecil C. Konijnendijk

Backmatter

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