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Let It Grow? Social Representations of Nature on Contaminated Brownfields

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Abstract

This study focuses on social representations of nature in the case of contaminated brownfield sites in France. Data were collected using an open-ended questionnaire in a French national cross-sectional survey administered to people living in municipalities impacted by contaminated brownfields. We use lexical methods to examine how respondents perceive nature in the case of contaminated brownfields. Three complementary software for text analyses were used (IRaMuTeq, Hyperbase, and Tropes). This strategy allows us to identify and understand, in-depth, different dimensions related to nature in the case of contaminated brownfields. The results show that respondents associate different forms of nature, from wild gardens to more domesticated forms such as vegetable gardens and crop fields, with contaminated brownfields. Knowledge of these types of nature that are distinguished by respondents is important in designing brownfield redevelopment projects and in improving the management of urban green spaces such as brownfields, which are an important source of biodiversity in the city.

Keywords

  • Contaminated brownfields
  • Nature
  • Social representations
  • Temporary nature
  • Textual analysis

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Notes

  1. 1.

    https://www.georisques.gouv.fr/risques/sites-et-sols-pollues/donnees#/type=instructions.

  2. 2.

    Contaminated brownfields hereafter.

  3. 3.

    Antoine Bailly and Lise Bourdeau-Lepage to refer to people who consider nature and the preservation of the environment as important components of their well-being used the expression homo qualitus. This expression is a pun on the expression homo economics used to describe rational economic agents in economics.

  4. 4.

    The cities of “Louviers” and “Val de Reuil” in France, for example, are pioneers in testing the donkey school buses thanks to the “Le chemin du halage” organization.

  5. 5.

    https://www.limesurvey.org/.

  6. 6.

    See https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/2011101?geo=FRANCE-1.

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Acknowledgements

The University of Montpellier, the SRUM 2015, and the CEE-M (Center for Environmental Economics—Montpellier; formerly Montpellier Laboratory of Theoretical and Applied Economics) supported the implementation of this survey. We would like to thank Jean-Marc Rousselle (CEE-M) who administered the survey. We thank participants of the international symposium “Urban wastelands: a form of urban nature” which was held in May 2019 for valuable comments and suggestions. We also thank Francesca di Pietro and Amelie Robert for their remarks on a previous version of this chapter.

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Tendero, M., Bazart, C. (2021). Let It Grow? Social Representations of Nature on Contaminated Brownfields. In: Di Pietro, F., Robert, A. (eds) Urban Wastelands. Cities and Nature. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74882-1_8

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