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Request - Community Garden Research Projects

  • Subject: [cg] Request - Community Garden Research Projects
  • From: "Amelia Clapton" ameliaclapton@gmail.com
  • Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 17:46:30 +1000

Hello all

I am interested in any existing, past or future academic research
projects relating to community gardens.

Last year I graduated at the University of Melbourne, Australia after
completing an honours thesis on the planning and use of urban green
space in Shenzhen, China.  This project prompted me to question the
limited use of green space in a highly urbanised and densely populated
Chinese city - not to mention cities in other countries.  Why is that
landscape architects and planning policies continue to repackage, and
present urban green space with such a narrow human oriented focus.
Majority of urban green spaces are designed to be aesthetically
pleasing and provide limited recreational use for a small percentage
of the population.  I acknowledge that this space does, in part,
contribute to lowering C02 levels, urban air temperatures and an
assortment of other environmental benefits.  I also acknowledge the
invaluable physiological, psychological and social benefits urban
green space has on the growing number of individuals living in cities,
especially those people aided by the CG at Bellvue Hospital for
example.

However, one aspect that has not featured very prominently in much of
the material I have come across or discussions I've heard is
maintaining / increasing the biodiversity of insects, birds, small
mammals up to larger species etc that have played such an important
role in the overall health of natural ecosystems.

For most of the recently developed city parks and green corridors I've
seen - and that hasn't really been that many so I'm just questioning
here - it does not appear as though these spaces are very habitable by
many of the smaller creatures that have a better chance for survival
in urban environments than larger mammals.  I don't really believe
that, in the long term, humanity can exist very
healthily/successfully/happily/productively if we design the 'natural'
places in our cities without more clearly including the complex
relationships between plant/animal species that have a greater
potential to continue in less micro-managed and aesthetically
maintained gardens and parks.  Sorry  hope you got what I was trying
to say.

With those thoughts in mind I've turned my attention to community
gardens, urban agriculture and permaculture as a way forward.  I
believe these spaces and approaches create greater opportunities for
lower level animal/bird species to continue existing and contributing
to the overall health of the planet  and ultimately us.

Still my primary  and more strategic interest in community gardens is
food security.  I endeavour to begin a Masters program in North
America next year and as I have only just recently discovered this
email listing I would appreciate any news or links to existing,
present or future academic research projects involving community
gardens.

Sincere thanks and kind regards

Amelia Clapton
BA with Honours, Geography
Tutor - Urban Planning
The University of Melbourne, Australia


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