R. Bisgrove
The term ‘urban horticulture’ implies a paradox, the contrast of an urban environment devoted to industry and commerce with the tranquillity of a garden. However, in every great civilisation the pleasures and sustaining powers of the garden have extended into the public domain to the benefit of its citizens and to civilised life. In the late 19th and 20th centuries the healing powers of green landscape were increasingly recognised. By the late 20th century the value of landscape in anchoring people in time and place and in developing a sense of community also became apparent. In 2009, therefore, urban horticulture encompasses at least seven inter-related aspects: a revival in exciting public horticulture from elaborate bedding schemes to wildflower meadows; the convergence of horticulture and applied ecology in the creation of new public landscapes; awareness of ‘ecosystem services’ aspect of green space for flood control, environmental amelioration and biodiversity; benefits to human health; the use of ‘gardening’ as a catalyst for social cohesion; environmental education to give children a sound understanding of their place in nature; appreciation of the economic benefits of green space rather than the traditional focus on its costs. There are six key factors which will shape urban horticulture in the 21st century and which will determine its contribution to civilised life: climate change; decreasing oil supplies; population growth; the countervailing attractions of town and country; social order or disorder; global finance. The black cloud of the credit crunch could have a silver lining if the reassessment of our true wealth becomes the butterfly wing redirecting our society into a more sustainable way of life in which urban horticulture will have a key role to play.
Bisgrove, R. (2010). URBAN HORTICULTURE: FUTURE SCENARIOS. Acta Hortic. 881, 33-46
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.881.1
community horticulture, ecosystem services, garden festivals, horticultural therapy, public parks, social horticulture, transition towns

Acta Horticulturae