Djurgården and Stockholm, Jægersborg Dyrehave and Copenhagen, Epping Forest and London, Grunewald and Berlin, Bois de Boulogne and Paris, the Amsterdamse Bos and Amsterdam – these examples all show that over time, close relations between cities and forests have developed. ‘City forest’ is a term that exists in many different languages. Stadtwald (German), stadsbos (Dutch) and byskov or bynær skov (Danish) are only some examples of this. Traditionally, a city forest has been defined as a forest owned and/or managed by a certain city. Gradually the scope of the city forest concept has been broadened, now referring to a forest situated in or adjacent to a city, regardless of ownership. Perhaps more characteristic, however, are the close links between a forest and the local urban society (Konijnendijk, 1999). Today, city forests are often treated as part of a larger urban and peri-urban green structure. The term ‘urban forest’ has come into wider use, for example, to refer to the planning and management of all tree-dominated green resources, both publicly and privately owned, in and near an urban area (Randrup et al., 2005; Konijnendijk et al., 2006). Like trees along streets and in parks and gardens, city forests are one element of this wider ‘urban forest’. In many cities, woodland plays a very important role, not in the least from a social and cultural perspective, within the overall urban forest and urban landscape.
This book looks at city forests primarily from a cultural and social perspective. They have developed over time in a close dialogue between the natural landscape and local, urban society. While city forests have been shaped by urban societies according to changing power relations and demands, they have in their turn impacted these societies, becoming part of local cultures and local identity. City forests also represent two important – contrasting but supplementary – concepts for analysing interactions between people and environments, namely those of place and space. Where place refers to home, familiarity and safety, space stands for the unknown, the wild, the adventurous (Tuan, 2007).
KeywordsGreen Space Urban Landscape Urban Forest Cultural Landscape Place Identity
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