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Dr. Christopher Young



chercheur invité


Institut fédéral de recherches sur la forêt, la neige et le paysage WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi HV E 06


Current position

In recent years I have been investigating processes of urban change with a focus on allotments and other gardens, as semi-public green spaces. Who uses these spaces? How are they contested? How is their use related to psychological restoration and health?

Research interests

  • Urban green spaces and social inequality
  • Social networks, exclusion, health
  • Restoration and health effects of green spaces
  • Urban inequality, gentrification, social class
  • Subjectification, narrative identities
  • Community-supported agriculture
  • Contemporary penality, prisons, prison staff

Completed research projects

Better Gardens (link), an interdisciplinary project examining the effects of gardening and gardens on individuals and urban neighbourhoods in regard to well-being, social identity, social capital and the aesthetic perception of urban spaces (2015-2018)

Agricultural history research on regimes of plant breeding and property rights on seeds 1950 – 2000, at the Archives of Rural History, Bern (2012-2013)

Nationwide survey of prison staff in Switzerland, at Fribourg University (2010-2014)

Evaluation of BiST, an educational pilot programme introduced in 8 Swiss prisons, at Fribourg University (2010-2011)

Online survey of intermediate academic staff at Swiss universities (2007-2008)

Academic education

Post-doc at WSL on the project Better Gardens (2015-2018)

PhD thesis in sociology, University of Fribourg Switzerland, with the title „Between punitivity, precarious normality and therapeutic optimism: narrative identities of prison staff “. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. M. Budowski. (2007-2015)

M.A. in sociology, economics and art history, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Master thesis on communes in the canton of Zurich and their use of private security services (1997-2006)

Licence in sociology, University René Descartes, Paris V, France (2001-2002)