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A New Design for Urban Gardens: Being Framed in the Green Infrastructure

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Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)


Green infrastructure and urban gardens seem to have an intertwined destiny, biodiversity constituting for both of them a new order that guides their legitimization, their inscription in the urban space, the modalities of their organization and management. How do gardens, and urban agriculture in general, contribute to biodiversity in cities and are integrated into the development of the green infrastructure for that specific matter? How are they taken into account in the planning of such infrastructures, in the discourses and design of the latter? How, finally, do they become an element of the discourses and the awareness of the inhabitants about the question of the green infrastructure and could constitute elements of anchoring of the policy to associate/sensitize the citizens to this urban project? By varying the focal length and observation scales of the green infrastructure, from a bird eye view to a ground view (worm view), we will see in this chapter how urban gardens are integrated into the design, political and ideological objectives of green infrastructures as well as into the practices of city dwellers in relation to biodiversity through various European examples.


  • Green infrastructure
  • Urban gardens
  • Biodiversity
  • Multifunctionality
  • Urban planning
  • Strasbourg
  • Marseille

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-72733-2_10
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Fig. 10.1

Source Various sources, among which environmental

Fig. 10.2

Source Consalès et al. (2012)

Fig. 10.3

Source Urban atlas and Strasbourg Eurometropolis

Fig. 10.4
Fig. 10.5
Fig. 10.6
Fig. 10.7
Fig. 10.8


  1. 1.

  2. 2.

    Law 2010-788 «portant engagement national pour l’environnement (ENE)» so-called Grenelle 2, was adopted on 12 July 2010.

  3. 3.

    The Grenelle 2 law Stipulates in Article L.121, transcribed in the article L371-1 of the Code of the Environment: “I. The green infrastructure and the blue infrastructure aim to stop the loss of biodiversity by participating in preserving, managing and restoring the milieu, as much as necessary for ecological continuity, while taking into account the human activities, and in particular agricultural activities, in rural areas”.

  4. 4.

    Principles set out in the National Biodiversity Strategy (2011–2020), a programming and action document originally published in 2004, which reflects one of the major thrusts of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development. This Strategy is set out after the French ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1994) established at the Rio Summit in 1992. This Strategy has been revised in 2011 (2011–2020) after Grenelle 2 was promulgated.

  5. 5.

    In this paper, we don’t deal with the controversial alimentary function of the urban gardens, as the main focus is on biodiversity.

  6. 6.

    Trames Vertes urbaines, Evaluation des trames vertes urbaines et élaboration de référentiels: une infrastructure entre esthétique et écologie pour une nouvelle urbanité (Urban Green infrastructures, Assessment and development of references: an infrastructure between aesthetics and ecology for a new urbanity); research project founded by the French National Research Agency—ANR—Villes durables (2008, 2009–2012) with Nathalie Blanc (CNRS, LADYSS) and Philippe Clergeau (CNRS, Muséum d’Histoire naturelle) as leaders.

  7. 7.

    Biodiversity in urban gardens studies. For some findings, see for example

  8. 8.

    Loi n° 2000–1208 du 13 décembre 2000 relative à la Solidarité et au Renouvellement Urbain (SRU).

  9. 9.

    «Several specific ecosystem services that could be relevant for evaluating current and future urban green spaces include the following: plant biodiversity, food production, microclimate control, soil infiltration, carbon sequestration, visual quality, recreation and social capital».

  10. 10.

    Agreement for the provision of a fenced-in area for the community garden use,

  11. 11.

    Student work in progress: Valdez Achucarro I, Master of Geography, June 2017. Results to be consolidated.

  12. 12. et

  13. 13.

  14. 14.

    Loi n° 2015–992 du 17 août 2015 relative à la transition énergétique pour la crossiance verte

  15. 15.

  16. 16.

    S. Brolly interview, Responsible for the Nature mission at the city-council, 26 June 2015.

  17. 17.

    Submitted to the Senate on 2001, the French law on collective gardens highlights this function in its first chapter: “Collective gardens contribute to the conservation of the biodiversity of crops, fruits, vegetables and flowers by promoting their knowledge, culture, their nonprofit exchange between gardeners”.

  18. 18.

    The researchers «identified three levels of management intensity matching gardening association code enforcement classification: high-intensity (compliant) plot, medium-intensity (non-compliant) plot and vacant plot. A high-intensity plot is defined as a plot with a high apparent level of maintenance (weeding, mowing and pruning on all available land), a medium-intensity plot is usually characterized by a small (or non-existent) lawn and no evidence of mowing, i.e. significant amount of weeds, occurrence of spontaneous vegetation on pathways or even non-managed patches of land, and a vacant plot is defined as an abandoned, over-grown plot» Cabral et al. (2017, p. 46).

  19. 19.

    The research project Jardins ASSociatifs URBains et Cités Durables (community gardens and sustainable cities): Practices, Functions and Risks (JASSUR) brought together 12 partners who studied in an interdisciplinary way the uses and management of collective gardens (mostly allotments) in seven French cities, between 2012 and 2016.


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Correspondence to Sandrine Glatron .

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Glatron, S. (2018). A New Design for Urban Gardens: Being Framed in the Green Infrastructure. In: Glatron, S., Granchamp, L. (eds) The Urban Garden City . Cities and Nature. Springer, Cham.

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