Conflation in politicalgardening:
concepts and practice
Lucy Rose Wright and Ross Fraser Young
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
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.
determine how those spaces get
used. (Tracey, 2007: 32)
It seems that there are plenty of reasons to separate the humble, simple, minimal act
of planting tomatoes from the noble and ambitious act of contesting the multiple
manifestations of injustice. Consequently, urban gardening practices have been
considered a trivial object of research for a long time, far from serious societal
and political studies. Nevertheless, by seeing everyday practices as a form of political resistance (de Certeau, 1984), cultural geographers, urban planners and social
Securing or denying minorities’ right to the city?
community development projects,
casting those who are unable to participate as undeserving of citizenship rights
(Ghose and Pettygrove, 2014). While sufficient research on community gardening
and its relevance to civil society –especially within the current market-driven
economic condition –exists, the subtle similarities and differences
between the extensively explored US (and to some extent UK) experience and
that from the rest of the global North is only beginning to unfold as more scholars
focus on these issues in the European State context (Certomà et
space in the inner city through the
development of long-term scenarios of densification (Nikolaidou et al., 2016).
Hence, new flexible forms of small-scale and temporary urban gardens are gaining
popularity in green planning practices, especially within dense metropolitan centres
where population and economic decline create brownfields (Hula et al., 2016).
At the same time, harsh political and economic conditions and globally
induced economic crisis, urban poverty and food insecurity empower the importance of subsistence gardening by enhancing its contribution to
various benefits to even the mere exposure to nature (in a picture, through
a window or by sitting in a park), i.e. a passive consumption of nature, if you will.
The ‘practice’ of nature or deep involvement with it (as defined by Kaplan)
through hiking, protecting, gardening and so on, produces an additional set of
advantages. Advantages of ‘practising nature’ include exercise, community life, political development and place-identity. This list presents only a few of the ways
people experience nature, but we will get back to this topic later.
Despite these advantages
2015/16 (MIUR, 2017).
Urban gardening and the struggle for justice
The ‘Ortobello Urban Garden’ project
In order to tackle the depopulation issue and seek to increase spatial justice for
all citizens, multiple initiatives for the revitalisation of the inner city have been
conducted both at institutional and citizen levels. For instance, local authorities
are trying to combat this unpleasant phenomenon by defining a political strategy
that recognises the crucial role of individuals and their rights in the community
(Regione Umbria, 2015). At the same time
Critically evaluating the role of the Incredible Edible movement in the UK
Michael Hardman, Mags Adams, Melissa Barker and Luke Beesley
worldwide. From the ‘trendy’ and relatively ‘soft’
intransigent political movements in North America and Europe, to those pursuing it for survival in Africa and other global South nations, the activity is very
broad (Adams et al., 2014; Reynolds, 2008). In the case of Africa, most of the
UA practised across the continent could be viewed as guerrilla gardening, as
city authorities and national governments often discourage the practice of UA
(Chipungu et al., 2013). In a similar manner, residents of Havana, Cuba –one of
the most frequently cited exemplars of UA
Why gardening has limited success growing inclusive communities
-centred action will not necessarily impact
them. Whilst some may be content to focus on immediate garden tasks, others
aspire to target root causes of injustice (e.g. Reynolds and Cohen, 2016). Making
progress with this requires alliances between sites and with other progressive
movements (Tornaghi, 2017). Viewed spatially, this means making connections
across garden boundaries by building outward-looking relationships. It requires a
Urban gardening and the struggle for justice
garden community to move beyond the present, towards the future as collective
Reconstructing modernity assesses the character of approaches to rebuilding British cities during the decades after the Second World War. It explores the strategies of spatial governance that sought to restructure society and looks at the cast of characters who shaped these processes. It challenges traditional views of urban modernism as moderate and humanist, shedding new light on the importance of the immediate post-war for the trajectory of urban renewal in the twentieth century. The book shows how local corporations and town planners in Manchester and Hull attempted to create order and functionality through the remaking of their decrepit Victorian cities. It looks at the motivations of national and local governments in the post-war rebuilding process and explores why and how they attempted the schemes they did. What emerges is a picture of local corporations, planners and city engineers as radical reshapers of the urban environment, not through the production of grand examples of architectural modernism, but in mundane attempts to zone cities, produce greener housing estates, control advertising or regulate air quality. Their ambition to control and shape the space of their cities was an attempt to produce urban environments that might be both more orderly and functional, but also held the potential to shape society.