The long-term development of public green spaces such as parks, public gardens, and recreation grounds in London during the twentieth century is a curiously neglected subject, despite the fact that various kinds of green spaces cover huge areas in cities in the UK today. This book explores how and why public green spaces have been created and used in London, and what actors have been involved in their evolution, during the course of the twentieth century. Building on case studies of the contemporary boroughs of Camden and Southwark and making use of a wealth of archival material, the author takes us through the planning and creation stages, to the intended (and actual) uses and ongoing management of the spaces. By highlighting the rise and fall of municipal authorities and the impact of neo-liberalism after the 1970s, the book also deepens our understanding of how London has been governed, planned and ruled during the twentieth century. It makes a crucial contribution to academic as well as political discourse on the history and present role of green space in sustainable cities.
Dr Matti O. Hannikainen studied history at the University of Helsinki, Finland, where he received his doctoral degree in 2014. He has worked extensively on the history of public green space in London as well as in Helsinki from the 19th century to the present. His research interests include urban history and environmental history. He is currently researching for a comparative history of the formation of modern metropolitan landscapes in the UK and in Germany during the late 20th century.