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RE: Realism about the study: ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COMMUNITY GARDENS

  • Subject: RE: [cg] Realism about the study: ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COMMUNITY GARDENS
  • From: "Gwenne Hayes-Stewart" Gwenne.Hayes-Stewart@mobot.org
  • Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2006 10:28:48 -0500
  • Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
  • Thread-index: AcZik3jE4aT1xzajTBCmXAL4+5sn0gBK/lIQ
  • Thread-topic: [cg] Realism about the study: ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COMMUNITY GARDENS

Hello All,

I wish there were piles of studies out there.  Two does not constitute a
pile.  

We have found that using the charts and graphs with as few research-y
terms as possible is effective in dealing with civic leaders. When we
spike the stats with stories, the combo turns heads.

Researchers are careful in the terms they use as their professional reps
are tested by their peers, eager to use the methodology and replicate.
Ours is the only one that we know of that can be used by other
communities and is strictly based on actual numbers from 1990 - 2000.  

Jonathan, do not underestimate the value of opening the community
garden.  Research does absolutely show a strengthening in economic and
neighborhood stability in garden impact areas.  Our study is based on 53
community gardens in areas that had a sufficient base to gather enough
people to be successful.  The poverty rates in these areas was and
remains high but income diversity increased, with garden areas
attracting people with a higher income.  Most agree a wider range of
income levels is a good thing, helping to dilute problems stemming from
concentrated hard core poverty.
And if the poverty rates are high around our gardens, it shows we are
working in the right places and not cherry picking the better nabes.

Our study is soon to be published in the Journal of Urban Affairs,
titled, Metromorphosis, Documenting Change.  It was not toned down one
iota but rather was placed in the theoretical context of urban
development.  It proposes that while the results are not instantly
dramatic, highly localized volunteer involvement in community gardening
is one tool that can change things for the better.  All in all, we come
off pretty damn well.  

Gwenne
Gateway Greening

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam36055@aol.com [mailto:Adam36055@aol.com] 
Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 9:46 PM
To: Jonathan.Brown@kpchr.org; community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: Re: [cg] Realism about the study: ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COMMUNITY
GARDENS

Jonathan, 
 
The reason  why this NYU and the Whitmire Study out of St. Louis's
Gateway 
Greening
(_http://stlouis.missouri.org/gatewaygreening/WhitmireStudy.htm_ 
(http://stlouis.missouri.org/gatewaygreening/WhitmireStudy.htm) )  on
the Economic 
Impact of Community Gardens are important to us in  the real world is
this: 
 
When community gardeners are going to highly politicized zoning
meetings,  
when they're trying to justify their existence to folks who want
something else  
built on these lots having tomes of studies which the staffers will
read and 
summarize for the electeds and appointed is really important. Piles of  
studies, bore the suckers to tears - with great digestable quotes - you
really  
want these. 
 
I mean, stories like mine, when the classic blood-sucking  landlord
walked up 
to me, bent over gardening in NYC's Clinton Community Garden  and handed
me a 
couple of twenties and said, " Keep it up kid, I'm making  more money
off of 
the apartments with garden views than I though I ever would,"  are
considered 
anecdotal in a legislative setting. 
 
But dollars for donuts, well kept, accessible, community managed public

space is an excellent amenity, ad I'm really happy about any pile of
academic 
studies that I can bore a legislator and her staff with.  
 
Keep those cards, letter, footnoted studies coming. It's called baffling

them with bull$#@&
 
Regards, 
Adam Honigman
Hell's Kitchen, 
NYC
 
 
 

It's  great to have this study and the researchers should be thanked for

putting in  a lot of hard work.  But, honestly, they are wrong to
conclude that 
"the  opening of a garden has a statistically significant positive
impact on  
residential properties" or that "gardens have the greatest impact in the
most  
disadvantaged neighborhoods."  The reason is that an "observational"
study of 
this kind cannot show causality...as the authors say themselves (on
page 7) 
while criticizing other authors' studies.  Property values are  likely
to have 
the strongest percentage growth in the places that have the  lowest
values to 
start with.  These are also the neighborhoods that were  likely to have
to 
most abandoned land where gardens could take  root.

I'm not saying that starting gardens did not have an  impact!  I'm just 
saying this study, while a definite contribution, does  not prove it one
way or the 
other.  If these authors want to publish  their work in a peer-reviewed 
scientific journal, they will have to tone down  their conclusions, be
forthcoming 
about the limitations of their study, and  consider other explanations
for 
their findings.

Why do I stick my neck  out to say these unpleasant things?  I'm a
community 
garden manager and  volunteer in Portland, Oregon.  We just went through
a 
tough period of  defending our Portland gardens from budget cuts and 
privatization.  Most  community gardens face these fights periodically,
if not 
perennially.  I  think we lose credibility when we quote whatever seems
favorable to our 
cause  and ignore anything that seems negative.  Any gardener knows you
can't  
grow plants that way.  The same goes for gardens--and  gardeners.

Now back to the seedlings!

Jonathan  Brown


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______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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