PhD for Dr John Flannigan
Over the course of several years Dr Flannigan has been carrying out research into residents' perceptions of street trees in several towns across the UK. Many arboriculturists and others involved in tree management will have seen Dr Flannigan presenting his interim findings at seminars. These have challenged the view widely held amongst arboriculturists that the public don't like trees much, and he has been keen to encourage professionals to put themselves in the public's place and view the trees that they manage on the public's behalf in the way that the public do. To quote from Dr Flannigan's thesis:
Findings reveal that a complex, generally positive, relationship exists between urban residents, the road in which they live and the street trees growing within it; that residents express strong opinions about street trees demonstrating a relationship that is both complex and profound; such describes how street trees are considered as significant territorial symbols of residents' home life offering a wide ranging list of benefits meeting their spiritual, aesthetic and practical needs. In the context of current UK arboricultural practice the findings are revelatory for the arboricultural mindset which, in the UK, has tended to focus on the environmental, biological, legal and maintenance issues of street treesather than the needs of the people who live alongside them.