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Places and People of Urban Gardens. Elements for an Introduction

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Gardening in urban spaces refers to different meanings, depending on the context and circumstances. In this introductive chapter, we first synthesize the academic and intellectual debate in which our questioning about urban gardens raised. “Order and disorder in the garden: social and ecological stakes” was the complex issue we addressed in a colloquium held in Strasbourg in March 2016. During two days, we explored how, through history, some social groups used gardens as an instrument of contestation of a political, economic, aesthetical, or ecological order in urban areas, but also as an instrument of creation of new norms and new prioritization of values. In the past few years, the emergence of the food but also the biodiversity issues created a context of competition between opposed conceptions of order and disorder in the garden and of the garden in the city. This context contributed to increase the diversity of forms and meanings of gardens. This chapter intends to expose some key elements to analyze it through a basic framework.


  • Order/disorder
  • Kitchen garden
  • Social norms
  • Social practices
  • Planning
  • History of urban thought

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-72733-2_1
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Fig. 1.1
Fig. 1.2


  1. 1.

    This terminology is a little different in the Roman countries and in the Saxon ones where the term allotment does not exactly show this particular shift in meaning and naming from one garden «type» to another (working class to family).

  2. 2.

    Notably the wife of the former President of the USA, Michelle Obama, who decided to create a vegetable garden in the White House to “set an example” and encourage vegetable crops as an antiobesity tool; see also WHO report (WHO 2012).

  3. 3.


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Correspondence to Sandrine Glatron .

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Glatron, S., Granchamp, L. (2018). Places and People of Urban Gardens. Elements for an Introduction. In: Glatron, S., Granchamp, L. (eds) The Urban Garden City . Cities and Nature. Springer, Cham.

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