"More than fruits and vegetables "

Community garden experiences from the Global North to foster green development of informal areas in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Authors

  • Alexandra Aguiar Pedro Municipal Housing Secretariat | Sao Paulo City Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Anna Görner Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management | TU Dresden
  • André Lindner Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management | TU Dresden
  • Wolfgang Wende Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development | Dresden

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7480/rius.6.101

Keywords:

urban agriculture, community garden, slum, informal settlement, inclusive urbanism

Abstract

Urban gardening contributes to society in various ways such as by enhancing communities, ensuring food security, improving health, providing places for recreation as well as by raising environmental awareness.

Although urban gardening initiatives have been spreading, the challenge remains to include vulnerable communities, especially in developing countries, which face manifold infrastructural, environmental and social pressures, thereby helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and foster urban inclusiveness.

The study evaluated the performance of urban community gardens in order to verify their potential for implementation in the slums of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Significant assets and drawbacks were analyzed from existing studies and categorized into social, spatial, economic and environmental factors. Additionally, qualitative interviews on societal and motivational issues were conducted with contributors to a community garden in Dresden, Germany.

The results highlight the potential of urban gardening to counteract spatial pressures in informal areas by creating green spaces, improving food quality, raising environmental awareness and, in general, ensuring a higher quality of life. On the other hand, some obstacles remain to be overcome, such as soil pollution, the high probability of further contamination as well as a lack of basic infrastructure.

A top-down implementation of urban gardens within slums is considered feasible if the projects are designed in partnership with the community, and a long-term adaptive management model is applied. Under these conditions, urban gardening will make a significant contribution to ‘inclusive urbanism'.

Author Biographies

Alexandra Aguiar Pedro, Municipal Housing Secretariat | Sao Paulo City Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Architect and urban planner at the Housing Secretariat in Sao Paulo City Hall (Brazil), working with informal settlements and social housing policy since 2006.

Anna Görner, Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management | TU Dresden

Course director at the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management (CIPSEM) at Technische Universität Dresden (Germany). CIPSEM is supported by UNEP, UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). 

André Lindner, Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management | TU Dresden

Ecologist with an emphasis on tropical environments. Since 2014 he is working at the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management (CIPSEM) at Technische Universität Dresden (Germany) as deputy director, lecturer and coordinator of the course programme supported by UNEP, UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

Wolfgang Wende, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development | Dresden

Professor for urban development at Technische Universität Dresden and head of the Research Area Landscape Change and Management at IOER (Germany).

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Published

2020-09-11