'Not in our Front Garden': Land use conflict, spatial meaning and the politics of naming place

N C Nash, Alan Lewis, Chris Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


Strategies aimed at reducing land use conflict often stress the need to make planning decisions moredemocratic. However, this goal is obstructed by overly-narrow conceptual perspectives that neglectthe symbolic significance of place. We illustrate this by examining place names, which function asrepositories of socio-political meaning. Drawing on elements of discursive and rhetorical psychologyand subject positioning theory, we investigated the variety of meanings associated with place namesin the context of a proposed housing development in Swindon, in the South of England. Thirtyinterviews with different stakeholders were conducted to gauge their opinions towards the proposal.Noting differences in the way the proposed site was named, we analysed the range of meaningsassociated with each name in relation to participants’ stances towards development. Our results showhow, in naming place, spatial meanings are negotiated and contested in ways that support contrastingpolitical objectives. We conclude that planning professionals should exercise greater sensitivitytowards existing spatial meanings, especially place names. In addition, socio-political understand-ings of subjective spatial relationships can serve as a basis for achieving more productive dialogueand improving development designs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-56
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


Dive into the research topics of ''Not in our Front Garden': Land use conflict, spatial meaning and the politics of naming place'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this