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Responsive urban fringe management. Thames Chase Community Forest and the defining of urban fringe

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 12:47 authored by Richard Mabbitt, Simon H. Evans
The following paragraphs put forward some tentative discussion of the nature of the urban fringe, intended mainly to highlight the complexities of the areas around towns which must be addressed by policymakers. The work derives from ongoing research carried out by the authors into the nature, definition and management of urban fringe areas . A central theme of this work is that the urban fringe can be modelled as the geographical manifestation of socio-economic and physical reflexive links between urban and rural areas. The growth of cities has been accompanied by a variety of problems. These have occurred at various time scales and situations in all zones of the urban landscape. Urban environments are complex both in terms of their internal structure and in their relationship with their wider setting. Consequently their planning and design is by no means a simple process. Recognising the evolving characteristics of urban fringe environments and taking their dynamic nature into account as a policy consideration is a necessary adjunct to the effective management of more established urban centres. However, although problems investigated here are spatially located where town meets country, they nevertheless have ramifications throughout the urban whole. In the UK stringent development control policies have limited the spatial extent of the built fabric of towns and cities.1 Green belts have attempted to retain an essentially open character around many urban areas. Until recently, policies of agricultural primacy have dictated land use patterns although demands for urban infrastructure have also played a major role.2 Within this context, pressures generated over time by urban areas have moulded urban fringe landscapes to a distinct character. This paper discusses some characteristics of peripheral urban environments as they have evolved in the UK, with special reference to the East London/South Essex Fringe (see figure i ) . It goes on to discuss the effectiveness of an important policy tool which addresses the problematic aspects of this peripherality: the Thames Chase Community Forest (TCCF), and to recommend broad strategies by which management of the urban fringe can be made more responsive to the needs and aspiration of local populations.



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Nordic Journal of Architectural Research




SINTEF Academic Press


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