Thesis (Ph.D)

Individuals cultivating edible plants on buildings in England


Food production, particularly local production, is a key component of sustainable urban environments, given the resilience of the supply and disposal of food are major concerns in cities worldwide. Due to the lack of land for food production in dense urban areas, people have explored possibilities for food production on walls, rooftops, balconies, windowsills and inside buildings. The technology for the integration of food production on buildings is continuously being developed, where plant and building technology have been the main focus. But at present there is a lack of understanding about the users of such technology and how they relate to systems for cultivating edible plants on buildings. This work attempts to fill this gap in understanding, examining a primary research question: “What affects individuals to cultivate edible plants on buildings in England?” To this end, this research utilizes a two-phase sequential mixed method. In phase 1, a questionnaire was formed to test hypotheses based on the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW), behaviour theory. In phase 2, semi-structured interviews were undertaken in order to further explore the findings of phase 1. Primary data were collected from 65 participants who completed Surveys in phase 1 of the research, and in phase 2 from 30 interviewees from England who have varying levels of experience of cultivating edible plants and/or cultivating edible plants on buildings. Findings identified forty-one parameters that affect the behaviour to cultivate edible plants on buildings. These parameters offer a comprehensive framework for understanding what affects users to cultivate edible plants on buildings. They highlight that the following are important for an individual to cultivate edible plants on buildings; cognitive capacity available to implement and maintain the system, knowledge of how and why to cultivate edible plants on buildings, motivation to cultivate edible plants on a building, the outcomes obtained from undertaking the behaviour and the individual’s community. These parameters were further conceptually linked with constructs from two behaviour theories (the Theory of Planned Behaviour and BCW), links that lent further validity and theoretical reach to these data. Parameters were also linked to intervention functions and policy categories from BCW in order to explore how they can be addressed, indicating that education, training and modelling are key interventions that can help promote behaviour. This research offers a framework for understanding the parameters that affect individuals to cultivate edible plants on buildings. This knowledge can be used in the development of technologies for cultivating edible plants on buildings and the implementation of these systems, where the relevant parameters can be established on a case-by-case basis for the target users. This research also contributes new empirical knowledge to the behaviour theories and their application, and offers ideas for practical interventions.

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Samangooei, Mina


Supervisors: Stevenson, Fionn; Lack, Andrew; Sassi, Paola

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment
School of Architecture


Year: 2016

Published by Oxford Brookes University
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