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Sustaining place through community walking initiatives

Stephen Dobson (Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 28 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to summarise findings from collaborative research with Sheffield City Council to help contribute to a national healthy walks initiative. The primary purpose of the initiative is to help encourage a more active lifestyle through the uptake of regular walking. Highlighted here are some of the Sheffield urban walks which aimed to engage specifically with those living in more deprived urban communities. Reawakening the participants’ sense of enquiry and motivation to explore their everyday historic urban surroundings was an important stage in increasing the potential sustainable impact of the walking programme.


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project used an Action Research/collaborative approach to help develop the English Heritage GIS tool (Historic Landscape Characterisation) as both a catalyst for exploring the temporality of space and as a practical desk‐based means for defining potential walking routes.


The healthy walking initiative is used to illustrate how cross‐domain working can provide a powerful means to engage new audiences and it is asserted here that any form of community walking has the potential to increase the sense of custodianship of place.


(Re)awakening of attachment is explored here through engagement with an embedded and everyday material time‐depth. There are many urban residential areas which are not formally addressed by the urban designer, landscape architect, conservation officer or heritage professional and so require the engaged citizen to recognise the potential impacts of incremental change upon their surroundings.



Dobson, S. (2011), "Sustaining place through community walking initiatives", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 109-121.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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