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Strategies for better gardens

Integrated analysis of soil quality, biodiversity and social value of urban gardens

 

Despite increasing recognition of its social and ecological importance, and the considerable proportion of urban land under cultivation, there has been insufficient study of urban gardens. Consequently, the relationships between urban gardens and both the well-being of residents and the provision of habitats and corridors for plants and animals are new and important fields in which knowledge gaps exist.

 

New strategies are needed to strengthen arguments for the preservation of urban green spaces, which should include how to maintain or enhance the sustainability of green space management so that biodiversity, soil quality and a positive effect on the population are secured. The main goal of this study is to contribute to development of these strategies by examining the policy driven and intrinsic motivations of producers to adopt particular production concepts, such as organic and conventional; and productivity oriented and minimum maintenance; in three different urban production types: allotment gardens, private gardens, and alternative gardens. Furthermore, the social value, along with the biodiversity and soil quality, with particular attention to the island character of gardens, will be evaluated and cross-referenced with the various production concepts.

The project consists of four interlinked subprojects that will examine:

Subproject A: the motivations for choosing particular production concepts;

Subproject B: the social value of, attitudes towards, and aesthetic assessment of urban gardens

Subproject C: the impacts of production strategies on soil quality

Subproject D: above-and-below ground biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Subproject B: Urban gardens

The subproject B Urban gardens: social value, attitudes and aesthetic assessment will analyse the attitudes of the garden users, the general public and the planning experts towards urban gardens and their aesthetic assessment of these areas. The findings will contribute to strategies aimed at fostering a sustainable management of urban green spaces.

The social value of urban gardening, the attitudes towards urban gardens (incl. the aesthetic valuation) will be assessed by a combination of qualitative and quantitative social science methods.