Urban community gardens as new spaces of living

Authored by: Rina Ghose , Margaret Pettygrove

The Routledge Handbook on Spaces of Urban Politics

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138890329
eBook ISBN: 9781315712468
Adobe ISBN:


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Manufacturing cities in the Global North have struggled with de-industrialization, disinvestment and poverty since the decline of Fordist-Keynesian economies in the late 1970s. In the USA, central city neighbourhoods occupied primarily by African Americans were particularly devastated. As ‘inner-city’ neighbourhoods, these are highly segregated spaces, characterized by high levels of poverty and unemployment, and are synonymous with decay, despair and ‘urban blight’. The emergence of vacant lots caused by the razing of ill-maintained and abandoned buildings is particularly symbolic of such blight, as these are sites of garbage accumulation, crime and vice. Further, food insecurity in US cities tends to be most acute in central city neighbourhoods (Zenk et al. 2005). These neighbourhoods face significant disparities in access to nutritious food for urban residents, as corporations in charge of grocery stores and food industry resolutely avoid establishing stores in impoverished areas, on the basis of race and class divisions (Frank et al. 2006; Sharkey et al. 2009; Zenk et al. 2005). These ‘food deserts’ put residents at greater risk for food insecurity and diet-related disease (Larsen and Gilliland 2008; Larson and Moseley 2010).

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