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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Gentrifying Nature : An Investigation of the Social Use and Modification of Nature in a Leicestershire Village

This interdisciplinary study addressed rural environmental change through integrated approaches and methodologies derived from the social and biological sciences. The main focus of the study was the impact of rural gentrification on the enrolment and modification of nature within village space.

Previous studies have demonstrated the heterogeneity of rural gentrification, which has social, economic, political and cultural dimensions, but have failed to explicitly consider the 'extra social' or 'natural' dimensions. These environmental aspects of rural gentrification provide the innovative focus for this study.

A key component of research was to document the range of 'agencies of nature' drawn upon in creating a desire for rural residency in one gentrifying village, and to consider their significance against a range of social agencies identified in earlier studies.

The project explored the degree to which differing conceptions of and relations to nature are held by rural social groups, including those identified as gentrifiers, and assessed these in the light of data obtained from ecological field surveys of land within and around the village envelope. It is argued that the process of rural gentrification can involves transformation of both rural built and 'natural' environments, and gentrification can hence transform rural biodiversity.