It is increasingly clear that, alongside the spectacular forms of justice activism, the actually existing just city results from different everyday practices of performative politics that produce transformative trajectories and alternative realities in response to particular injustices in situated contexts. The massive diffusion of urban gardening practices (including allotments, community gardens, guerrilla gardening and the multiple, inventive forms of gardening the city) deserve special attention as experiential learning and in-becoming responses to spatial politics, able to articulate different forms of power and resistance to the current state of unequal distribution of benefits and burdens in the urban space. While advancing their socio-environmental claims, urban gardeners make evident that the physical disposition of living beings and non-living things can both determine and perpetuate injustices or create justice spaces. In so doing, urban gardeners question the inequality-biased structuring and functioning of social formations (most notably urban deprivation, lack of public decision and engagement, and marginalisation processes); and conversely create (or allow the creation of) spaces of justice in contemporary cities. This book presents a selection of contributions investigating the possibility and capability of urban gardeners to effectively tackle spatial injustice; and it offers the readers sound, theoretically grounded reflections on the topic. Building upon on-the-field experiences in European cities, it presents a wide range of engaged scholarly researches that investigate whether, how and to what extent urban gardening is able to contrast inequalities and disparities in living conditions.
The chapter investigates the relationship between urban gardening – as political gesture – and socio-spatial justice. In search for an actually existing just city, gardeners’ everyday initiatives advance a substantive micropolitics of life that point to less visible and sometimes ignored sides of urban governance and planning; and unveil the articulation of different forms of power, dominance and resistance to the unequal distribution of benefits and burdens in space. The critical analysis proposed specifically revolves around the question of whether (and how) urban gardening practices are able to tackle social and spatial injustices. It outlines the consequences, potentialities and contradictions in the constitution of urban spaces and urbanity; and its capability to mitigate material, political and social exclusions, unfairness and inequalities effects. This is complemented with an overview of the contributions comprised in the book.