Securing or denying minorities’ right to the city?

This chapter presents a case study from Copenhagen on a community-based, but state-initiated, urban gardening effort to examine what such efforts mean for the minorities’ (the homeless and the ethnic minorities’) right to the city (Purcell, 2002; 2013), especially within the context of a traditionally welfare-driven, but increasingly neoliberalised urban context. David Harvey has described the right to the city as ‘not merely a right of access to what already exists, but a right to change it after our heart’s desire’ (Harvey, 2003). As such, in this chapter the concept of the ‘right to the city’ is operationalised as a measure or proxy for social and spatial justice to explore how the state-initiated community gardening effort in the Sundholm District shapes/secures/denies the homeless and the ethnic minorities’ ability to: (a) use and just be in the physical space of the garden (a public space); and (b) to translate this into access to the political space of urban governance (and governance of the garden space) where they can voice their needs/concerns.

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice