Connective Cities and the Berlin districts of Mitte, Pankow, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Lichtenberg invite municipal practitioners to the Dialogue Event on Urban Gardening hosted by Berlin, Germany, to be held online from the 20th to the 22nd of April 2021. This event was originally planned for April 2020 and postponed having in mind the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
The event is geared towards both German and international municipal actors working on different aspects of urban gardening and its inclusion in city development strategies and plans. As a special feature of this event, the first day is open for a broader audience that may be interested in following the specialists’ presentations and municipal good practices.
Urban gardening is becoming a more and more important issue when talking about sustainable urban development. Stakeholders’ objectives to promote urban gardening are multi-layered: For a greener city, for social inclusion and integration, for winning back public space, for supporting climate-proofing urban development. Urban gardens are part of a liveable, lively, and sustainable urban society. Furthermore, urban gardening is a cross-cutting issue that calls for the involvement of stakeholders across sectors and therefore should be addressed with a cross-departmental approach and incorporated at different levels in the urban development plans and projects of cities.
To be able to discuss the broad field of urban gardening at a practical level, the Connective Cities dialogue event in Berlin will focus on three specific aspects:
Anchoring urban gardening in urban planning
Urban greenery and urban gardening are part of a liveable and sustainable urban community. “Green” planning approaches emphasize urban-nature relationships and patterns, through green belts and land-use zoning (UN-Habitat, World City Report, 2016). As cities grow worldwide, the urban spaces become increasingly dense and competition for land purposes arises. Urban planning that integrates the vital need for green spaces in the cities is an important tool to sustain existing green spaces and to be able to continue to promote urban gardening. Urban gardening more than traditional parks or green spaces offers potential for innovative usage for urban spaces. It comes possibly into consideration in contexts of conversion or temporary usages.
Urban gardening: Social and intercultural learning in urban nature
Urban gardens are considered as modern community hubs (Urbact, Are Urban Garden the place for modern Community hubs? 2019) where new forms of neighbourhood, (inter-) cultural exchange and active citizen participation take place. Gardens are also places of learning about nature and food production for both adults and children. Schools, kindergartens and community groups are important stakeholders in urban gardening projects. The municipal administration can act as a multiplier for the mediation of the topic, promote acceptance and create opportunities for cooperation through its various offices and institutions. The practical contribution of the municipalities can consist in promoting appropriate gardening schools and school gardens as well as in considering the approach from an urban development perspective in the design of parks and green spaces.
Urban agriculture and regional value creation cycles
Besides the above-stated relevance of urban gardening for sustainable urban planning and its potential for social and intercultural learning, urban agriculture has various economic potentials. Urban agriculture can make an important contribution to household income and household food security, especially in poorer urban areas (RUAF Foundation, Urban agriculture: what and why, 2019). This said urban food production cannot sufficiently provide food for entire urban areas. Peri-urban and rural agriculture remains the main source of food production. Here, regionally focused production chains are of special interest: regional products need less transportation, less refrigeration and can supply cities with fresher food at competitive prices. The creation of economically, environmentally and socially sustainable regional value chains is of great interest for both the cities and their surrounding peri-urban and rural areas. (FAO, on Urban agriculture, 2019)
The exchange aims to get to know best practice examples from municipalities with different local conditions. Here, the interest is mainly in pragmatic solutions and approaches that can be applied or adapted to the different regional contexts. Furthermore, the event will offer a platform to discuss the challenges around the theme of urban gardening and support municipalities in developing new joint project ideas among peers that can be further implemented in the respective home communities or the framework of existing or new thematic municipal partnerships.
If you wish to participate and actively contribute to the dialogue event with a project you are planning or implementing that fits in the thematic focus of the event, we warmly invite you to apply for a participant spot at the event. Participation on the first day is open for a broader audience interested in the topic.
If you have any queries about the event and the participation process, we encourage you to contact us:
Thiago Garcia, thiago.garcia(at)engagement-global.de, +49 (0)228-20717-2633
Alexander Wagner, alexander.wagner(at)engagement-global.de, +49 (0)228-20717-1371