English Urban Commons: The Past, Present and Future of Green Spaces

Christopher Rodgers, Rachel Hammersley, Alessandro Zambelli, Emma Cheatle, John Wedgwood Clarke, Sarah Collins, Olivia Dee

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book makes a compelling case for ‘urban’ commons as publicly accountable and open green spaces vital for culture, health, wellbeing and biodiversity. It argues that they should be valued in their historical and social contexts, maintained and enhanced for the use of future generations. The book explores how we can do this by drawing on an original and groundbreaking interdisciplinary study of urban commons in England. This research shows that, with different legislative backgrounds and use-value, the definition of ‘common’ used in an urban context is often misunderstood. Whatever their legal status, urban commons have always reflected shifts in social and cultural attitudes and traditions, and have long been sites of debate and negotiation, yet their future in the contemporary metropolitan context is unclear. The Covid-19 pandemic, and associated restrictions on work and travel, have illustrated just how important urban green space is for recreational use, and emphasized the great physical and mental health benefits that access to our urban commons generates. This book explores how we can champion our urban commons and explores new methodologies to engage the public in their protection, use and development as invaluable community resources for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages264
ISBN (Electronic)9781003204558
ISBN (Print)9781032069180
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameEarthscan Studies in Natural Resource Management


  • commons
  • urban commons
  • green space
  • common land
  • creative mapping
  • walking practices
  • health and wellbeing


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