Bachelor of Science, Human Geography (Honours)
Professor Gordon Waitt and Associate Professor Natascha Klocker
Shaw, Maddison, Samoans and ‘outdoor nature’: spaces of wellbeing in South West Sydney,
Bachelor of Science, Human Geography (Honours),
University of Wollongong, 2019.
Greenspaces are increasingly promoted for their wellbeing benefits. However, the design of urban greenspaces is based on western colonial ideologies. The extent to which the demand or preference for greenspaces accord with the priorities and needs of ethnic migrants living in Minority World cites from the Majority World is questionable. Informed by a talanoa approach and cultural liaison, a mixed-method qualitative research design gathered experiences from first-generation Samoan migrants living in South West Sydney (SWS). To interpret the experiences of what participants named as ‘outdoor nature space’, the thesis draws upon Fleuret and Atkinsons’ (2007) spaces of wellbeing framework. The framework explores how spaces may, or may not be, experienced as integrative, secure, capacitating and therapeutic. The analysis employs a ‘portrait’ approach and focuses on outdoor nature spaces that participants identified at different geographical scales. The thematic analysis illustrated that backyards in SWS were at odds with participants’ wellbeing for older and younger participants. However, specific neighbourhood spaces facilitated wellbeing for older participants by offering possibilities to socialise and relax, although limited to daylight hours. The more mobile younger adults identified sites across Greater Sydney as spaces of wellbeing. Like older adults, younger adults underscored the importance of environmental characteristics of outdoor nature spaces such as water, climate and plants as enhancing their capability to relax and sustain social relationships. Attention is drawn to how the outdoor nature space of the beach embeds performance of exclusionary gendered and racialised norms. The thesis concludes by considering how ethnic minority migrant ontologies can help to inform urban planning decisions in the Minority World for neighbourhood-scale greenspaces and address wider questions of liveability for diverse groups.
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.