From 9-10 September 2016, the COST Action TU1201: Urban Allotment Gardens in European Cities, in collaboration with the School of Social Work – University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, organized a conference on “GROWING IN CITIES: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening” in Basel, Switzerland. The conference was hosted by the FHNW School of Social Work (Institute for Social Planning and Urban Development ISS) in partnership with ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Germany.
Two members of the TESS project team, Raffaella Coletti and Filippo Celata, presented their paper, “Public policy and community gardening in Rome: progress and contradiction” in a session chaired by Dr. Maria Partalidou (Aristotle University of Thessaloníki, Greece) on the question of spatial justice and governance. Their paper will be published in the conference proceedings. You can find the citation and the abstract of their paper below.
Public policy and community gardening in Rome: progress and contradiction
Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Abstract: Community gardening has been regarded as a practice through which citizens can challenge dominant power relations and claim back their rights to the city. It has also been considered a form of collaborative government used to reduce state responsibilities in social service provision in a context of neo-liberalization. In any given case, understanding whether public policies are enabling or disabling community gardening initiatives by providing specific regulations, public support or a favorable environment for community organizing, is crucial. This issue has recently garnered much attention worldwide and the aim of this paper is to contribute to this debate by focusing on the case of Rome, Italy. Like many other cities in the world, Rome is witnessing an important diffusion of community gardening initiatives. Thus far, the proliferation of community gardening has taken place in an almost completely spontaneous form and risen from the grassroots level in a lack of a legislative and regulatory framework, both at the national and local scale. In July 2015, the municipality of Rome enacted a regulation in this vacuum which is currently in its initial stages. This paper aims at understanding the aims and expected outcomes of this specific regulation, focusing, in particular, on the extent to which such a policy simply promotes the diffusion of community gardening initiatives, or aims at regulating and disciplining their practices.