chapter  5
16 Pages

A parable

The emergence of ruderal ‘communities’ on former military bases in the UK
WithFen B. Kipley

This chapter provides a practitioner's perspective and a reflective overview of some of the abridged primary data findings from ongoing research regarding rural community engagement in former military sites. Royal Air Force bases, by their very nature, tend to be remote, and many redundant sites also have a number of inherent contamination issues, such as drift of aviation fuel and previous long-term storage of chemical, radioactive and nuclear equipment. Ministry of Defence policy with regard to surplus military estate disposal and appropriate regeneration to gain added value for all stakeholders. Through the adoption and adaptation of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), an action research method focusing upon 'what works' rather than a purely problem-oriented perspective, the findings from the earlier fieldwork research were used. Despite the positive outcome of the AI Summits in formulating a workable forward plan and a commitment from the various agencies to assist, the abiding barrier remains the lack of the necessary infrastructure to create a resilient community.