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Urban Agriculture: From a Creative Disorder to New Arrangements in Rome

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Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)

Abstract

As Rome has always been characterised by a strong presence of agricultural activities, we investigate how the most recent forms, on which we focused, are questioning the making of the city. For this purpose, we apply the lens of order and disorder dialectic processes. The aim of this chapter is to address how Roman urban agriculture experiences represent possible creative initiatives in public space. Therefore, we chose to base our reflection on a various set of urban agriculture initiatives: urban hortus (orto urbano), guerrilla gardening, fruit harvest, that is various forms of collective citizen urban agriculture initiatives. The collection of data has been carried out mainly between 2014 and 2015. We carried out sixteen in-depth individual and collective interviews with members or actors linked to the initiatives, and also with municipality personnel. We explore the way these experiences are organised, how they fit in the territory, how they question the city (municipality, neighbourhood, citizens) and its order highlighting new ways of thinking, living and creating the city.

Keywords

  • Urban agriculture
  • Informal planning
  • Public space
  • Collective action

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-72733-2_13
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Fig. 13.1

Source Elaboration from the authors using both Google street map and QGIS, and the figure: “Distribuzione spaziale dei siti di AU nella città di Roma (area delimitata dal Grande Raccordo Anulare)” from Flavio Lupia, Giuseppe Pulighe, Francesca Giarè, realised using database from CREA Centro per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e per l’analisi dell’economia agraria (Lupia et al. 2016)

Fig. 13.2

Source Victoria Sachsé

Fig. 13.3

Source Victoria Sachsé

Notes

  1. 1.

    We choose to use the term green because it covers many kinds of spaces: parks, nature reserve, urban farms, urban gardens, abandoned areas.

  2. 2.

    For example, Paris’ green areas cover 20% of the total city surface.

  3. 3.

    Interview with the responsible of Urban gardens’ office of the Municipality of Rome (Ufficio Orti Urbani), 6 November 2014.

  4. 4.

    Which is an initiative from an architect studio, and participatory tool which has many limits about the accuracy of the data collected and the updates. English version of the website: http://www.zappataromana.net/en.

  5. 5.

    We had two interviews with this person one in November 2014, the other one in October 2016.

  6. 6.

    All the information gathered about the «regulation» comes from interviews with the responsible of the Urban Gardens’ office, founder members of the gardens and Municipality of Rome website.

  7. 7.

    Now they changed the location, and the garden is at the entrance of the park.

  8. 8.

    Rome is divided into 15 municipalities.

  9. 9.

    In the two gardens—Tre Fontane and Garbatella—there is an educational area that the members described as a place dedicated to knowledge transmission. The aim is to grow a variety of species, and to be able to show and explain to people who participate in various activities. The audience is mainly composed of children and schools, but not only.

  10. 10.

    Interview from a founder member, 12 November 2014. The Cristoforo Colombo is a large high-speed road, made of six lanes. It is one of the longest streets of the city, which connects the centre to the sea.

  11. 11.

    The EUR is a residential and service providers’ neighbourhood. It has been built during the fascist era, and it is therefore characterised by a typical fascist architectural style.

  12. 12.

    And also by Bauman (1998) about contemporary cities in general and by Berdini (2008) about Rome in particular.

  13. 13.

    We do not develop the debate about the complementarity or opposition between those forces here, as it opens another great debate about grassroots initiatives, about the risk of becoming a palliative to a weak State.

  14. 14.

    Of course, we do not intend that these experiences are perfectly harmonious and we could observe many conflictual issues in their internal organisation but this should be explored in other writings.

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Del Monte, B., Sachsé, V. (2018). Urban Agriculture: From a Creative Disorder to New Arrangements in Rome. In: Glatron, S., Granchamp, L. (eds) The Urban Garden City . Cities and Nature. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72733-2_13

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