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Nature and Well-Being in the French City: Desire and Homo Qualitus

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Over the last century, the discovery that human activities are adversely aff ecting the biosphere appears to have had an impact on the way individuals envisage their living space and conduct their day-to-day activities. They have become aware of the essential role played by nature, in particular on their well-being, becoming Homo qualitus. In this global context, French society has become greener. Nature and the city appear to be forging new links. This paper explores these diff erent hypotheses. Firstly, it seeks to show how French society is developing an ecological conscience, and how plants and vegetation are occupying an ever more important place in French cities. Secondly, the paper focuses on the representation of nature in society and the evolved forms of nature throughout French urban history. Thirdly, it explores the hypothesis that nature is a significant component of city dwellers' well-being, using the results of two field surveys conducted in spring 2012 and spring 2017. It also analyses the meaning of, and desire for, nature by the inhabitants. Lastly, the conclusion will underline the way in which the satisfaction of the desire for nature and the willingness to preserve the environment exposes nature to a real risk to be instrumentalized.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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