Urban agriculture does not always result in better neighbourhoods

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

Esther Veen - Community gardens in urban areasWhile urban agriculture is often used as a tool for increasing social cohesion in neighbourhoods, Esther Veen believes that it does not always lead to better relationships between residents. This is the subject of her doctoral thesis, which she successfully  defended at Wageningen University on Monday 15 June 2015.

For her doctoral research, Esther Veen observed various community gardens where people from the same neighbourhood came together. She noted that not everyone participates in these gardens and how there is a tendency for groups to form.

“It is often assumed that community gardens benefit the neighbourhood, but the gardens are also a ‘real world’ in which issues arise,” Veen explains. “Municipalities, initiators of urban agriculture projects and other stakeholders should adjust their often high expectations. A neighbourhood community garden does not break through existing social structures just like that, and it is hard to bring people from different socio-economic backgrounds…

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