Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 229–239

The nature of urban gardens: toward a political ecology of urban agriculture


DOI: 10.1007/s10460-014-9540-4

Cite this article as:
Classens, M. Agric Hum Values (2015) 32: 229. doi:10.1007/s10460-014-9540-4


With a few notable exceptions, urban garden scholarship tends to be either celebratory or critical of the role urban gardens play in wider political, social, cultural, economic and ecological dynamics. Drawing on urban political ecology scholarship, this article explores the question of nature within scholarship on urban gardens. I argue that failing to adequately scrutinize the co-constitutive character of nature and society has led some scholars to overlook the potential for urban gardens to achieve broader socio-political goals, and led others to overstate the potential. Employing a political ecology approach to urban garden analysis clarifies the material and discursive role of nature in urban garden practice, and ultimately contributes to untangling the potential and limits of urban gardens as sites of socio-political change.


Urban agriculture Community gardens Political ecology Socionature 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Environmental StudiesYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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