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EAUH Conference 2018

Sessions

Session SS22. Urban Gardening: a Historical Perspective, c. 1700 - 2000

Coordinators: Ivaylo Nachev (ivailon@abv.bg), Jill Steward (jill.steward8@gmail.com)

Recent interdisciplinary historical work on green spaces and food production in a number of different cities has shown that this is a rich and important area worthy of further investigation, not least because of the growing public and academic interest in urban gardening in the modern metropolis and the economically less developed societies of Europe. Today’s economically and culturally-driven urban horticulture has strong historical roots, as in the early modern kitchen gardens, 19th century market gardens of Paris, the vineyards of Vienna and the German Schrebergarten, for example.
This session will seek to compare developments in different kinds of European urban gardens and productive landscapes from the 18th century onwards and to identify ways in which they represent examples of the adaptation and resilience of individuals, associations, communities and municipalities to times of rapid urban expansion and population growth, social and economic change, crisis and hardship and the wartime disruption of food supplies, and concerns about health and food adulteration. To what extent was support for commercial and local enterprises, allotments and public and private gardens an effective strategy for increasing the resilience of urban communities to economic hardship and resource constraints, a means of guaranteeing food security and improving the general health of the population? What role did gardening in its various forms play in shaping and revitalizing urban landscapes and economies and maintaining urban-rural connections? Were there transnational influences at play? To what extent were present-day concerns about physical and mental health, the growth of leisure and tourism, sustainability, urban decay and expansion, and fears about the resilience of individuals and communities in the face of social and economic change and environmental and ecological crises foreshadowed in earlier developments?
Keywords: urban gardening; food security; resilience to crisis; revitalization of urban landscapes; urban-rural connections