Urban Gardening as Politics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Urban Gardening as Politics

1st Edition

Edited by Chiara Tornaghi, Chiara Certomà


220 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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While most of the existing literature on community gardens and urban agriculture share a tendency towards either an advocacy view or a rather dismissive approach on the grounds of the co-optation of food growing, self-help and voluntarism to the neoliberal agenda, this collection investigates and reflects on the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of these initiatives. It questions to what extent they address social inequality and injustice and interrogates them as forms of political agency that contest, transform and re-signify ‘the urban’.

Claims for land access, the right to food, the social benefits of city greening/community conviviality, and insurgent forms of planning, are multiplying within policy, advocacy and academic literature; and are becoming increasingly manifested through the practice of urban gardening. These claims are symptomatic of the way issues of social reproduction intersect with the environment, as well as the fact that urban planning and the production of space remains a crucial point of an ever-evolving debate on equity and justice in the city. Amid a mushrooming over positive literature, this book explores the initiatives of urban gardening critically rather than apologetically. The contributors acknowledge that these initiatives are happening within neoliberal environments, which promote –among other things - urban competition, the dismantling of the welfare state, the erasure of public space and ongoing austerity. These initiatives, thus, can either be manifestation of new forms of solidarity, political agency and citizenship or new tools for enclosure, inequality and exclusion. In designing this book, the progressive stance of these initiatives has therefore been taken as a research question, rather than as an assumption.

The result is a collection of chapters that explore potentials and limitations of political gardening as a practice to envision and implement a more sustainable and just city.

Table of Contents

1. Politics and the contested terrain of urban gardening in the neoliberal city Chiara Certomà and Chiara Tornaghi 2. Everyday (in)justices and ordinary environmentalisms: community gardening in disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods Paul Milbourne 3. A practice-based approach to political gardening. Materiality, performativity and post-environmentalism Chiara Certomà 4. Cultivating food as a right to the city Mark Purcell and Shannon K. Tyman 5. Public-access community gardens: A new form of urban commons? Imagining new socio-ecological futures in an urban gardening project in Cologne, Germany Alexander Follmann and Valérie Viehoff 6. Challenging Property Relations and Access to Land for Urban Food Production Gerda R. Wekerle and Michael Classens 7. UK allotments and urban food initiatives: (limited?) potential for reducing inequalities Wendy M. Miller 8. Contesting the politics of place: Urban gardening in Dublin and Belfast Mary P. Corcoran and Patricia Healy Kettle 9. Exploring guerrilla gardening: gauging public views on the grassroots activity Michael Hardman, Peter J. Larkham and David Adams 10. The making of a strategizing platform: from politicising the food movement in urban contexts to political urban agroecology Barbara Van Dyck, Chiara Tornaghi, Severin Halder, Ella von der Haide, Emma Saunders 11. Contesting neoliberal urbanism in Glasgow’s community gardens: the practice of DIY citizenship John Crossan, Andrew Cumbers, Robert McMaster and Deirdre Shaw 12. Political gardening, equity and justice: a research agenda Chiara Tornaghi and Chiara Certomà

About the Editors

Chiara Tornaghi is Research Fellow in Urban Food Sovereignty and Resilience at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR), Coventry University, UK, and Chair of the AESOP Sustainable Food Planning group

Chiara Certomà is Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Development (CDO), Ghent University and affiliate Researcher at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa

About the Series

Routledge Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City series

This series positions equity and justice as central elements of the transition toward sustainable cities. The series introduces critical perspectives and new approaches to the practice and theory of urban planning and policy that ask how the world's cities can become ‘greener’ while becoming more fair, equitable and just.

Routledge Equity Justice and the Sustainable City series addresses sustainable city trends in the global North and South and investigates them for their potential to ensure a transition to urban sustainability that is equitable and just for all. These trends include municipal climate action plans; resource scarcity as tipping points into a vortex of urban dysfunction; inclusive urbanization; "complete streets" as a tool for realizing more "livable cities"; the use of information and analytics toward the creation of "smart cities".

The series welcomes submissions for high-level cutting edge research books that push thinking about sustainability, cities, justice and equity in new directions by challenging current conceptualizations and developing new ones. The series offers theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances that can be used by professionals and as supplementary reading in courses in urban geography, urban sociology, urban policy, environment and sustainability, development studies, planning, and a wide range of academic disciplines.

To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected], twitter: @BrennanRebecca1), or the Series Editors, Julian Agyeman ([email protected], twitter: @julianagyeman) and Stephen Zavestoski ([email protected]).

Julian Agyeman, Tufts University Boston-Medford, USA

Stephen Zavestoski, University of San Francisco, USA

Editorial Advisory Board:

Dr Antwi Akom, Professor & Founding Director, Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab, University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco State University, USA

Dr Jayne Engle, Director, Cities, McConnell Foundation, Adjunct Professor, McGill University, Canada

Dr Ayona Datta, King’s College London, UK.

Dr Jenia Mukherjee, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India 

Professor Cheryl Teelucksingh, Ryerson University, Canada

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
NATURE / Ecology
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy