Jennifer Pierce - PhD Prospectus Defence

Hello everyone,

PhD student Jennifer Pierce will be defending her prospectus on Friday, January 25th. Details of the defence are below:


Communicating Biodiversity: How cities mobilize support for conservation across different viewpoints

Time and Date:

Friday, January 25th at 2:30PM


Room 140, West Mall Annex, 1933 West Mall

Exam Chair:

Alex Bigazzi

External Examiner:

Jordi Honey-Roses


Maged Senbel


Mark Stevens


Cecil Konijnendijk (Forestry)

Communicating Biodiversity:

How cities mobilize support for conservation across different viewpoints

by Jennifer Rae Pierce


As biodiversity loss continues without major public outcry, conservation professionals need better ways to increase support for biodiversity in the public discourse (Biggs et al. 2011). Since urban local governments address a growing and diverse local population in a human-oriented landscape, they may offer innovative approaches to biodiversity communications, through media and interactive activities that could play a key role in connecting socio-cultural and environmental issues in the public eye.

This study explores how cities around the world convey support for biodiversity conservation to many audiences through activities and message framing. I will investigate what groups cities are targeting, via what activities, activating which attitudes, values, and morals, and how these messages build support for biodiversity conservation across differing worldviews about nature. To do this, I will apply academic frameworks in parallel that have each been well tested by several previous studies, each one pertaining to a specific measure related to worldviews: attitudes about nature by Stephen Kellert (1979; 1981; 1982; 1984; 1991; 1997; 1999) and conservation frames from Common Cause (Blackmore 2013). The study will include a mixed methods content analysis of municipal documents and websites by cities in 27 countries, as well as a field study of activities associated with the Week of Biodiversity in Singapore, a leading city in both public campaigning and urban biodiversity with a dedicated campaign for biodiversity. The data sources include biodiversity materials from 65 cities in 27 countries, and, in Singapore, direct observations of events, surveys, and interviews.

The results of the study will test the applicability of the analytical framework for discourse by cities around biodiversity, build a database of techniques for biodiversity planners to convey support for biodiversity across a plurality of viewpoints, and identify the range of techniques in practice. This work will fill important gaps in our understanding of how biodiversity conservation is communicated today across cultures and will further the understanding of how practitioners build support for biodiversity conservation in increasingly diverse cities.

The defence is open to the School and the public.

Friday, January 25, 2019