Nicola Dempsey

Nicola Dempsey
The University of Sheffield | Sheffield · Department of Landscape

PhD

About

56
Publications
111,004
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3,423
Citations
Citations since 2017
25 Research Items
2516 Citations
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Introduction
Nicola Dempsey is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on place-keeping which conceptualises the design, planning and management of places as an ongoing process. By applying a long-term perspective to urban landscapes, Nicola’s research contributes to our understanding of the impact of different perspectives held by those who influence, and are influenced by, urban change. This has included the Reflecting on the River project, examining the effect of dramatic landscape change in the Gujarati city of Ahmedabad. Nicola is also working on the IWUN project (Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature) where she is identifying green space interventions to boost the health and wellbeing of Sheffield residents.
Additional affiliations
December 2015 - present
The University of Sheffield
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
October 2011 - December 2015
The University of Sheffield
Position
  • Lecturer in Landscape Planning

Publications

Publications (56)
Chapter
Negative experiences, newer reform trends and local circumstances have challenged the reform doctrines of the New Public Management (NPM) and raised the question of whether reforms have entered a post-NPM era. We explore this question in a comparison of experiences with marketisation—a key doctrine in the NPM—within local park and road services in...
Article
Empirical research has long shown positive connections between urban green spaces and their users’ wellbeing. But compelling evidence does not always lead to appropriate investment. In a study of the contribution of urban nature to mental wellbeing in Sheffield, UK, the authors identified greenspace investments that could lead to improved wellbeing...
Article
With rapid urbanisation has come changes to Ahmedabad’s spatial form, including the decision to transform eleven kilometres of the city’s monsoon river into a Riverfront. The Sabarmati Riverfront project is extensive in scale and ambition, and emerged with strong political support for the ‘environmental improvement … and urban rejuvenation project’...
Chapter
This chapter addresses questions of the decision-making processes concerning investment in urban green spaces. It considers how evidence is deployed in processes of governance, and how nuanced understandings of costs and wellbeing benefits are backgrounded as evidence becomes a bargaining chip in a struggle for resources. Calling on empirical resea...
Chapter
As both a reflection on the book and a proposal for next steps, this chapter emphasises the importance of context in its widest (social, cultural, political, ecological, economic…) sense when seeking to understand the limits to many urban green spaces’ positive contributions to human wellbeing. Exploring the mismatch between policy rhetoric, practi...
Chapter
There is already a plethora of research which amply demonstrates multiple benefits of urban nature for health and wellbeing, culture and identity, biodiversity and a sense of place. Alongside this, political rhetoric and planning strategies make well-meaning and eloquent statements about how important urban green space is, but this is not followed...
Chapter
This chapter outlines the lack of examination of practical attempts to implement policy rhetoric into practice. With a focus on the long-term management of urban green space, this chapter discusses the longstanding gap between what we know about green space and what we do in practice. It will look in detail at the citywide green and open space stra...
Article
There is growing interest in understanding the benefits of parks and green space in financial terms, particularly from policymakers and decision-makers. Applying a financial value is an increasingly popular practice designed to communicate urban green space benefits to budget holders. This is pertinent for local governments who routinely struggle t...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on maintenance as the operational part of managing urban open spaces (UOS). Maintenance differs according to the characteristics of specific UOS but is also dependent on the organisation responsible. Maintenance is organised under different governance arrangements, among which state-, market- and community-centred models are de...
Chapter
This chapter introduces and defines central terms needed to understand and discuss contemporary urban open space (UOS) governance and management. It discusses how governance and management already are, and can increasingly become, related to each other in practice. It describes theoretical models, including ‘strategic management’ and the ‘combined...
Chapter
This chapter outlines how marketization has been driving public service delivery in England since the late 1970s in efforts to increase competition and enhance service quality. We chart the enduring legacy of Compulsory Competitive Tendering which was introduced in the 1980s to ensure that a competitive process was followed by local authorities in...
Chapter
This chapter examines Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the largest new park to be created in the UK for over a century. In the chapter, we study the way in which this high-profile park in London is managed via a long-term contract-based partnership and explore how the 2012 Olympic Games legacy has a bearing on management arrangements. Calling on inter...
Chapter
In this chapter we compare patterns and variations in contemporary marketization within park and road services across England, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The comparison draws on comparable survey data and is based on statistical tests of country differences. Analytical we draw on a framework which categorizes features of internal and external mark...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview and discussion of design, materials and methods of the research reported in this book. The research is comparative in its outlook and combines multiple methods and materials. The book’s primary data are based on original country-based surveys and four holistic single case-studies carried out in 2014–2016. The surve...
Chapter
This chapter outlines the book’s overall research setting represented by the UK and the three Scandinavian countries and local park and road services, provides a comparative analysis of relatively stable characteristics of the country and service context(s) and discusses the likely importance for the evolution and diffusion of marketization. The co...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter draws on insights from four case studies on how municipalities work with marketization in combination with survey data for illustrating and discussing a number of general lessons for marketization theory and policies. The discussions highlight: (a) the role of organizational learning and incremental change in the implementation of cont...
Book
This book aims to understand how the wellbeing benefits of urban green space (UGS) are analysed and valued and why they are interpreted and translated into action or inaction, into ‘success’ and/or ‘failure’. The provision, care and use of natural landscapes in urban settings (e.g. parks, woodland, nature reserves, riverbanks) are under-researched...
Article
Full-text available
Policymakers and practitioners working in urban greenspace management want to know what kind of interventions are effective in promoting mental wellbeing. In practice, however, they rely on multiple forms of knowledge, often in unwritten form. This paper considers how such knowledge is interpreted and used by a range of stakeholders to identify gre...
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the health and well-being benefits of urban green spaces. There is less evidence on the effect of the management of such spaces on our health and well-being. This paper attempts to address this gap in knowledge by calling on empirical evidence collected in the United Kingdom (UK) city of Sheffie...
Article
Much has been written about the potential contribution of citizen-science approaches to further urban environmental sustainability, and associated interventions such as nature-based solutions (NBS). Engagements between researchers and stakeholders relying on bottom-up information provision, for instance community mapping, are often purported to pla...
Article
Full-text available
Parks are well-visited sites of an urban nature in our cities where users can gain positive social and ecological benefits from vegetation including trees, grass, flowering plants and shrubs. However, ongoing financial public sector budget pressure is adversely affecting the management and quality of parks in the UK, resulting in changing vegetatio...
Article
Children’s experiences of outdoor environments have been studied now for more than 40 years yet no research has specifically focussed on children’s experiences of water play in constructed spaces of city centres. This article discusses the development of an observational mapping tool, called TOWEC, to record the interaction of children with water....
Article
Full-text available
Urbanisation brings with it increased pressure on land and land uses, particularly green spaces. There has been considerable interest in community food growing in green spaces as part of a wide trend for gardening in the UK, which has been found to bring social, health, and well-being benefits. Such activity tends to take place in community-managed...
Article
Full-text available
In the pursuit of sustainable and liveable cities, Indian built environment practitioners and policymakers are understandably focused on aspects of infrastructure, sanitation and health, given the problems of pollution and environmental degradation are significant urban problems. However, there is little demonstration of understanding of the part t...
Article
Purpose – Different models have been adopted in England over time to organise public service delivery. The purpose of this paper is to explore contracting-out, a prevalent model of public service delivery in England, in relation to parks and roads maintenance delivery by examining private contractors’ performance according to local authority stakeh...
Article
Full-text available
Residents and communities have long been interested in managing their local green spaces. As local authority budgets become increasingly restricted, communities are under pressure to take an active role in green space management in partnerships with the public, and where applicable, private sector. Support for such partnerships has been made manife...
Conference Paper
One of the roles of the landscape architect is to explore the relationship between human beings and the built environment and how planning and design of urban landscapes contribute to human experience. Understanding the experiences of people in urban areas can help planners and designers to create better places for urban residents. In order to un...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the fastest transformations in the global market is the transformation of the deserted towns and seaports of the Arabian Gulf. The Gulf coastal countries transformed into urbanised states in a very short period of two generations. Due to this fast transformation, the Arabian Gulf today represents an excellent research laboratory to investiga...
Article
Full-text available
The provision of recreational opportunities forms an important and long-standing urban planning and management objective. However, considering a range of experiences encountered when in such spaces currently does not form part of existing open space assessment tools in the UK. In this paper, 'rec-mapping', an innovative method of analysing and mapp...
Chapter
As urban areas grow over time, the green areas that once surrounded them change, often absorbed by the encroaching urban environment. Some of this green space becomes commons, parks, and cemeteries and other green spaces, often created, designed, or set aside to provide a space for residents to get fresh air and escape urban life, albeit temporaril...
Chapter
The urban outdoors is experienced both individually and at a collective scale. The urban outdoor experience of a young boy playing in the local park will be very different from an older woman’s experience walking past the same park after dark. In order to shed light on the different experiences, different theoretical approaches that conceptualise h...
Article
Full-text available
Cities around the world have marked differences in spatial form and structure. To some extent this can be attributed to cultural differences. However, the impact spatial form has on the interactions within and between residents of different neighbourhoods is unclear. This paper calls on empirical evidence collected in the Walled City of Ahmedabad,...
Article
Full-text available
Sustainable development is a widely used term, which has been increasingly influential on UK planning, housing and urban policy in recent years. Debates about sustainability no longer consider sustainability solely as an environmental concern, but also incorporate economic and social dimensions. However, while a social dimension to sustainability i...
Article
Full-text available
There has long been a focus in urban landscape planning and design on the creation of highquality public spaces, or place-making. Large amounts of capital continue to be spent on creating such spaces without adequate thought or resources for their long-term maintenance and management of public spaces, or place-keeping. While there may be continued...
Article
In the second of a short series of three articles on place-keeping and open space management, Alice Mathers, Nicola Dempsey and Mel Burton look at the changing landscape of delivering place-keeping in the UK, and examine the effect of devolved power and economic constraint on the delivery of long-term open space management through partnerships
Article
Full-text available
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter provides a common platform for the research presented in this book and is divided into two parts. The first section examines the elements of urban form identified for the purposes of the research and explains how they were measured. The second section profiles the five case study cities and fifteen case neighbourhoods which were the fo...
Chapter
Full-text available
Urban forms cannot be considered ‘sustainable’ in the full sense if they are not acceptable to people as places to live, work and interact. This chapter focuses on the relationship between urban form and social sustainability, and has four main aims. First, drawing upon a wide-ranging literature we advance and clarify an understanding of social sus...
Article
Full-text available
Planning and urban policies emphasise ‘sustainability’, but claims that ‘compact cities’ are more socially sustainable and acceptable have been controversial and subject to limited empirical testing. After a brief review of the concepts and debate, we set out new empirical evidence based on household surveys linked to neighbourhood physical, map-ba...
Article
While much media focus is on the rise of China as an economic powerhouse, less attention is being paid to the current unprecedented urban growth in India. The rapid demographic growth in and around India's urban areas is changing the physical dimensions of cities such as size, shape, density, land use, layout and building types. Planned and unplann...
Article
Full-text available
The provision of good-quality places in which residents enjoy living, now and in the future, is a chief objective of built environment professionals and policy makers the world over. While the claimed associations between good-quality neighbourhoods and social cohesion might seem obvious, there is little empirical research that examines them in det...
Article
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It is widely claimed in UK policy, practice and research that high quality built environments have positive social benefi ts for residents. This claimed association is, however, not supported by an evidence base, nor is there consensus on how high quality or social cohesion are defi ned. This paper aims to provide defi nitions of both concepts, cal...
Article
Full-text available
Two consequences of the continued urbanisation of the human population are that a growing proportion of the landscape is less hospitable to, and that a growing proportion of people are disconnected from, native biodiversity. One response of the UK government has been to establish a goal, and an associated baseline indicator, of increasing the exten...
Article
Full-text available
The neighbourhood is often referred to, and used, as a viable, relevant and important setting for empirical research. However, it is an ambiguous term and there is no consensus on its definition. Nor is there agreement on how to identify it spatially. Following a review of existing interpretations of neighbourhood, this paper draws on research whic...

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Projects

Projects (11)
Project
MP4 was a large project bringing together partners from Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the UK. It introduced the concept of 'place-keeping' - the long term management and maintenance of green spaces. MP4 demonstrated how open space improvements offer positive socio-economic benefits, and how the benefits offered to key communities can be maintained in the long run. See: https://www.keep.eu/project/6400/making-places-profitable-public-and-private-open-spaces?ss=75600bc03186fdfebb0946c01d27b343&espon= Project website: https://web.archive.org/web/20160322080148/http://www.mp4-interreg.eu//