I'm a Research Associate working on the Nature Smart Cities project within the Centre for Environmental Policy. My research will investigate the benefits, barriers, processes and funding that drive green infrastructure delivery in local authorities, with research taking place in seven cities in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Supervised by Dr Alex Collins, the project is EU-funded through the INTERREG 2seas programme, and will run for a year, producing outputs that will inform the production of a toolkit for local authorities as well as a published paper on the research and its findings.
I worked for over thirty years in social research and public consultation, initially in the charitable sector but later with local authorities. I was the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's first research manager, and after a spell as a director of a private sector research provider I set up my own research consultancy, working almost exclusively with councils, which I ran successfully for ten years until 2016.
I completed a PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2018, in Landscape History, studying the origins and evolution of Scotland's country parks. These parks were mainly created in the era of the Countryside Commission for Scotland, from 1967 -1992. Originally intended as recreational provision for casual motorists, they rapidly evolved a more holistic role embracing heritage, environment and conservation, active sport, and/or education. They are all very different: only the terminology unites them, and while some are wonderful spaces, others are pretty ordinary. But they are all valued by those who use them, and as budgets come under pressure, local authorities are having to find new ways to ensure quality and sustainability.
Back P, 2020, Land Reform in Scotland: History, Law and Policy, Scottish Historical Review, Vol:99, ISSN:0036-9241, Pages:325-327
Woudstra J, Back P, 2020, Culzean country park - how an iconic Scottish landscape used designation to secure a sustainable future, Landscape Research, ISSN:0142-6397