The history of public parks is intertwined with ideas of health and disease. From 2006 to 2009 I taught a unit for the MA in Garden History at the University of Bristol on the Social History of English Open Spaces from 1800. This course, designed and delivered by myself, explored a variety of public spaces ranging from nineteenth-century garden cemeteries and public parks to the role of green spaces as part of the Garden City Movement and mid-twentieth-century legislation concerning country parks and picnic sites. The course concluded by discussing contemporary developments in the creation and design of urban green spaces and issues concerning the restoration of historic sites.
In October-November 2009 I spent a one month residency in Tokyo, Japan, as a park historian and keynote speaker at a symposium at the Tokyo Agricultural University. This was a collaboration between Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo with Wimbledon College of Art and funded as a group project by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. It was a wonderful opportunity to visit over 25 parks in Tokyo as well as other historic gardens both in Tokyo and Kyoto.
My teaching and research has led to the following publications:
2014 ‘Healthy Cities: Medical practitioners and the creation of public parks & garden cities’ for the Remedia Network
2012 “‘To brighten the aspect of our streets and increase the health and enjoyment of our city”: The National Health Society and urban green space in late-nineteenth century London’ for a special edition of Landscape and Urban Planning focussing on health and green space
2011 ‘Guinea Gardens, Allotments and a Public Park’ in Historic Gardens of Warwickshire by Tim Mowl and Diane James (Bristol: Redcliffe Press, 2011), 179-200
2006: Review of Death Redesigned. British Crematoria: History, Architecture and Landscape by Hilary Grainger, Landscape History 28, 2006, 13