A PUBLIC GARDEN PER RESIDENT? THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONTEXT OF HOUSES AND GARDENS IN THE INNER CITY
During times of economic boom a city with weak planning regulation expands along transportation routes. Urban residents move to the new suburbs - attracted by the agricultural-romantic concept and by a better open space access and infrastructure. The real estate market is making use of this attitude, to move more affluent residents into certain district, while moving residents of lower income into their former neighborhoods. There the housing situation declines. When economy picks up, low-income districts in the city center are turned into profitable areas by upgrading housing standards to move in another group of tenants. Thus the cycle of urban development that guarantees investors a maximum of profit is restarted over again. That cycle was especially vicious until the mid-1980s in the United States, because tax-delinquent properties were transferred after one year of non-payment to the city not to banks, as it is the case today. The result was that in low-income neighborhoods in the 1970s many buildings were abandoned, burned down and demolished, leaving large tracts of vacant public land. To the few impoverished resident remaining suddenly open space became accessible next to their apartments. They began to appropriate the vacant lots to turn them into privately used gardens. In self-help actions residents started to renovate buildings and to organize neighborhoods. The socially, economically and structurally reviving districts attracted media and public attention - and renewed the interest of the real estate market. Suburban development was re-introduced and succeeded by more densely built housing. Soon buildings again reduced open space in general and community gardens in particular. This scenario of urbanization is analyzed at the exemplary development of the community gardens in New York Citys South Bronx in the last 30 years to prove the necessity to provide public gardens next to housing in urban low-income districts.
Mees, C. (2010). A PUBLIC GARDEN PER RESIDENT? THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONTEXT OF HOUSES AND GARDENS IN THE INNER CITY. Acta Hortic. 881, 1057-1062
community gardens, low-income neighbourhood, urban planning, housing and privately-used public open space, land use