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 case of Ortobello Urban Garden

5 Urban gardening and spatial justice from a mid-​size city perspective: the case of Ortobello Urban Garden Giuseppe Aliperti and Silvia Sarti Introduction The concept of justice is strongly related to present-​day conditions that are constantly influenced by class, race and gender, and are able to generate a locational discrimination on certain groups of the population (Soja, 2009). Starting from the 1970s, the term spatial justice has been introduced in order to describe this kind of phenomenon. Spatial justice has been initially investigated by focusing on

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice

urban gardening practices are able and suitable to address social and spatial (in)justice in the urban context. The relationship between urban gardening practices and socio-​spatial justice has been rarely investigated (see for instance McClintock, 2014; Milbourne, 2012; Miller, 2005; and Reynolds, 2014). This book aims to fill this gap through presenting scholarly analyses and reflections that unveil the consequences, potentialities and contradictions of urban gardening practices in the constitution of urban spaces and urbanity and examine their ability to address

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
Securing or denying minorities’ right to the city?

shaping socio-​environmental and spatial justice through such everyday environmentalism (Milbourne, 2012). This chapter contributes to that end by highlighting the contradictory ways in which the dynamic Danish political-​economy, strongly rooted in welfare-​driven policies and increasingly moulded by global pressures of neoliberalism, is shaping urban community gardening practices and their impact on social and spatial justice for minority groups. Community gardening is increasingly used by the Danish Integrated Urban Renewal (IUR) programme as a tool for dealing with

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
Re-inventing open space in Greece and Switzerland

contemporary social and productive urban landscapes by raising important issues, regarding new modes of land-​use management, green space governance and collaborative approaches. This chapter mainly focuses on the shifted meanings of the notion of open public space by referring to its openness to a diversity of uses and users that claim it and relates to spatial justice questions of access rights, power relations among actors, negotiations and the so-​called right to use and re-​appropriate land (Hackenbroch, 2013). The long tradition of allotment gardens in many European

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
Concepts and practice

2 Conflation in political gardening: concepts and practice Lucy Rose Wright and Ross Fraser Young Introduction This chapter introduces the re-​emerging political characteristic of urban gardening (UG) (Certomà and Tornaghi, 2015). Our contribution presents an understanding of the importance process has for a group seeking spatial justice through engagement in UG. The garden’s local political environment shapes the process by which a group seeks to tackle localised spatial injustice. Spatial justice refers to ‘an intentional and focused emphasis on the spatial

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
Abstract only
Creating places of vernacular democracy

green areas and as their necessary complement. Both perspectives refer to the idea of spatial justice and even distribution of goods (Soja, 2009). Wastelands as substitutes of parks Deficiency of public green spaces constitutes one of the many evident negative results thereof. The inhabitants of such deficient areas are much less active, and the clear health consequences of it are emphasised by researchers and scientists (McCurdy et al., 2010). Whereas the lack of contact with nature leads to psychocultural disturbances popularised by means of the term Nature Deficit

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
Abstract only
Why gardening has limited success growing inclusive communities

7 Limits to growth? Why gardening has limited success growing inclusive communities Hannah Pitt Introduction As this collection’s introduction highlights, heavy expectations are placed on urban gardens’ ability to advance social and spatial justice. Community is central to these:  as outcomes of garden practices, it is taken as evidence of social inclusion as people form relationships of trust and mutual-​dependence. As both mode of garden activity and mechanism of its achievements, community is seen to represent an inclusive approach to addressing injustice

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice

less privileged from public space, and urban alienation, among other issues. Urban gardens oppose this state of affairs by representing a demand for spatial justice; for the right to the city; and for open space, community cohesion, diversity and more (e.g. Eizenberg, 2016; Okvat and Zautra, 2011; Schmelzkopf, 1995; Staeheli et al., 2002 for the United States; Ioannou et al., 2016; Müller, 2007 for Europe; and Barron, 2017). The ‘big project’ associated with the seemingly naive practices of seeding and harvesting herbs and vegetables, as well as organising festive

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice
A Capability Approach based analysis from the UK and Ireland

The production of urban space and associated neoliberalisation of urban governance limits opportunities for individual and collective freedoms. Such a socio-spatial approach to uneven urban development has influenced a number of authors in their examination of urban community gardens. The research has shown both positive agency and wellbeing benefits of these spaces and also more critical accounts of how the spaces are limited in their ability to truly enhance political freedoms, overcoming asymmetric power relations. In addition to ongoing issues of insecurity of tenure, such well-intentioned community garden initiatives may be seen as light green, weak approaches to urban sustainability rather than a true oppositional discourse of practice, therefore seen to continue neoliberal forms of both unsustainable and uneven development.

Using qualitative, visual methods, the chapter focuses on the potential of community gardens to enhance both human agency and ecological sustainability of passive adult users, and active youth and child users in urban areas. The sites chosen are specifically designed with ecological principles and associated features. In order to examine the freedoms valued within these sites, Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach (CA) is operationalised in five such sites in the UK and Ireland. Various critiques of the CA are addressed, and a particular approach to evaluating human wellbeing, linking the sustainable and just use of urban resources is developed. Such a re-conceptualisation of the CA is significant in realising the potential role of the sites in enhancing a more expressive mode of being for individuals, along with the enhancement of participative and critical capacity in urban areas.

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice