Past results and future directions in urban community gardens research
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Globally, rapid urbanisation has substantially reduced the amount of viable agricultural land - a food security issue. Food security is bringing a renewed scholarly interest in community gardens. This paper reviews the extent of English academic literature on community gardens, including: who has undertaken the research, where it has been published, the geographical location of the gardens studied, and the various methods used to undertake the research. The characteristics of the community gardens are summarised, including what types of plants are grown, who is involved in the gardens, and who owns the land. The motivations, benefits and limitations of community gardening are also examined. Finally, potential directions for research into community gardens are highlighted. Academic literature on community gardens is dominated by studies investigating gardens in low-income areas with diverse cultural backgrounds. Research based in cities in the USA also dominates the literature. Scholars from a wide diversity of disciplines have examined community gardens but research is mostly concentrated in the social sciences. The natural sciences are notably under-represented, yet they have much to offer including assessing gardening practices to better understand the agro-biodiversity conservation potential of community gardens.
Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Global Change Biology