The Lawn project is researching the cultural and ecological phenomenon of lawns - the most common and popular feature of urban spaces around the world.
BACKGROUND · RESEARCH QUESTIONS · PROJECT TEAM · HISTORY OF LAWNS · LAWN QUESTIONNAIRES · NEWS · POPULAR SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS
The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS and runs from 2013 until 2016. The project is led by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (in Uppsala).
» See the movie Lawns - a master's project by students at the Landscape architect programme, Uppsala.
» See documentation from the Demonstration trail at Ultuna April-Sept 2014
» On Sustainable lawns, related to the Demonstration trail 2014
» Folder on the Campus Lawn project - in Swedish
Today, lawns cover a significant part of all green open spaces in cities (up to 70%) in, e.g., the front- and backyards of private gardens, public parks, cemeteries, and in addition golf courses and along roads. Most people of the Western world view lawns as natural elements of the urban landscape, without questioning their functional, ecological or aesthetic value. There are very few studies of the biodiversity, environmental impact, public opinion about and the historical and contemporary motives for planning and management of different types of lawns.
The present project is an interdisciplinary collaboration, including stakeholders, to study lawns from different perspectives as social and ecological phenomenon in order to understand their roles in sustainable urban planning, design and management. Ecological knowledge, values and norms influence the management of urban green areas and may thus influence the environmental impact of, biodiversity in and ecosystem services provided by lawns. Potential alternative solutions are impossible to find without an understanding of the social motives behind the strong attachment of the modern Western society to lawns. The interdisciplinary approach allows us to exchange knowledge between disciplines and to achieve a multi-dimensional understanding of the lawn as a phenomenon.
- To examine the motives for decisions about establishment and management of lawns among different stakeholders
- To research historical roots, perceptions, norms, aesthetical and design values of current management practices of lawns
- To examine general coverage of lawns in Swedish cities
- To analyse environmental impact (carbon balance) and biodiversity (plants, pollinators and earth worms) of lawns. Read more
- To understand how to establish and manage lawns in Sweden to promote their provision of ecosystem services in cities.
Long term objectives:
- To deliver results in the form of an urban greening manual, demonstration sites, and different management packages for municipalities and communities with recommendations on how to establish and manage sustainable lawns
- To be a model for future interdisciplinary studies of lawns in Europe.
History of lawns
The lawn prototypes are probably the European floodplain meadow vegetation and secondary meadows after clearing and grazing. In Medieval time it was mostly cut turf with a lot of flowers and grass from meadows which was transported to castle gardens. Lawns as decorative entity with domination of European meadow grasses were used in the formal parterres of French gardens.
It was an essential element of English landscape parks of the 18th century and the Victorian Gardenesque parks from the 19th century, where lawn was used for recreational purposes and became a symbol of social status.
During the 20th century the maintenance of lawns created a commercial multibillion industry with production of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, lawnmowers and irrigation technology and today, e.g., North Americans spend an estimated $100 billion on lawns annually.
» Lawn questionnaire in English
» Lawn questionnaire in Swedish
TV 1 Uppsala: http://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/uppsala/de-planterar-alternativ-grasmatta
Alternative Lawns in Ultuna Campus Folder
A flowering campus: http://resurs.slu.se/ett-blommande-campus/
Lawn as a social and cultural phenomenon in Sweden
Poeplau C., Marstorp H., Thored K., Kätterer T. 2016. Effect of grassland cutting frequency on soil carbon storage - A case study on public lawns in three Swedish cities. Soil discussion http://www.soil-discuss.net/soil-2015-78/
Eriksson, F., Eriksson, T. & Ignatieva, M., 2015, Golf courses as part of urban green infrastructure: social aspects of golf courses and extensively managed turfgrass areas from Nordic perspective, Proceedings from 52nd IFLA Congress, June 6-7 2015, St. Petersburg Russia.
Ignatieva, M., 2015, Alternativa grönytor - hur man designar för biologisk mångfald i staden, Biodiverse Nr 2 2015, s. 20.
Ignatieva, M., Ahrné, K., Wissman, J., Eriksson, T., Tidåker, P., Hedblom, M., Kätterer, T., Marstorp, H., Berg, P., Ericsson, T., Bengtsson, J., 2015, Lawn as a cultural and ecological phenomenon: A conceptual framework for transdiscipilinary research, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 14 (2015), pp. 383-387.
Wissman, J., Norlin, K. & Kall, Ann-Sofie, Klippa Gräsmattan - självvald skötselmetod? Biodiverse Nr 1 2015
Publication in professional journal “Urban Magazine” in Russian and English, January 2014