The underutilized role of community gardens in improving cities’ adaptation to climate change: A review

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Feb 11, 2019
Mysha Clarke, Melissa Davidson, Monika Egerer, Elsa Anderson, Nakisha Fouch



Green infrastructure is a salient approach to address climate change adaptation in cities. However, some green infrastructure like community gardens are rarely incorporated in resilience and adaptation plans. In this paper, we argue that community gardens should be a prioritized element of green infrastructure to improve adaptation to climate change. Community gardens can reduce urban heat islands, provide various ecosystem services, and increase storm water retention. From a socioeconomic perspective, these gardens also build trust, facilitate participation, improve responses to natural disasters and food security – all vital components of effective adaptation and resilience to climate change. Yet, our qualitative analysis of 18 policy documents for Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City, U.S.A, found that green infrastructure to improve climate change adaptation prioritizes rain gardens, bioswales, and green roofs, but seldom acknowledge the role of community gardens. Furthermore, community gardens historically emerged in these cities to respond to stressors like economic, social, and political instability. Therefore, policies that address climate change should explicitly incorporate community gardens. 

Read the article in People, Place, and Policy.

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