Professor Jacinta Ruru (Faculty of Law)
The study is interested in the way local people value two low-lying coastal areas of Dunedin: Waitati and South Dunedin. It investigates how the past has contributed to the development of intangible relationships with these places and how these relationships can play a role in anticipating what the future landscape might be like.
The concept of landscape values, which defines the meanings that people give to a landscape. The landscape values that emerge from present engagement are conceptualised as being influenced by past experiences and knowledge. This implies that our present relationship with the landscape is informed, in part, by the past. However, the future is rarely accounted for in the landscape values literature. The research therefore asks how the predicted landscape of tomorrow contributes to the experienced landscape of today.
To answer this question, walking interviews of residents and kaitiaki will be conducted in both case study areas. This interview technique, which requires engaging with the landscape through the act of walking, is designed to investigate the relationships between people and their physical environment.
The implications of this research are both theoretical and social. Theoretically, one of the benefits of the research is to further investigate the role of future events on the production of landscape values. Directly tied to this theoretical outcome is the social implication of arriving at a better understanding of the way people in the two case study areas respond to predicted climate-change-related landscape modifications. In turn, the social benefit of the research will be to highlight the importance of taking into account people’s landscape values in providing socially sustainable climate change responses.