Framing and researching the psychological in World Heritage Areas
The presentation addresses the role of psychology in the research, planning, and management of World Heritage Areas in the rainforests of Far North Queensland. Psychology and protected area management requires not only a bringing together of relevant theory, research and applied areas of psychology and social science (e.g., environmental perception, place attachment, restoration, leisure studies, natural and cultural heritage interpretation, behavioural design, crowding, risk management, and environmental impact assessment) but collaborating and communicating with natural scientists, resource managers, government bodies, the tourism industry, conservation groups, the catchment community, and national and international visitors. Environmental psychology has the reach and breadth and body of knowledge and research findings to make a substantial contribution in such protected area and natural and cultural heritage management contexts, but requires a thoughtful and transdisciplinary approach, and a strategic and informed framing of both the research and the discourse when working in this multi-disciplinary but rarely interdisciplinary space. The presenters provide a number of windows on managing and communicating their research and 'management' roles and status as environmental psychologists in the Wet Tropics along with addressing the people side of World Heritage Area management. Noteworthy challenges included an appropriate and ecological framing of a transactional approach, bringing the human landscape into the frame, designing a methodology which captures all visitors and 'users' of such landscapes and places, working through serious language and meaning fault lines, reframing restoration and ecosystem system services conceptualisations, designing for experiences and encounters, developing a psychosocial impact assessment framework and indicators, managing virtual environments and representations, and addressing 'the role of the World Heritage Area in the life of the community'.
Abstracts of the 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology