Thesis: Studying the social effects of community gardens on the wider neighbourhood

3973780265_157e56b55fThis thesis concerns community gardens and their influence on the wider neighbourhood, especially people not involved in the gardens. The starting assumption is that people maintaining and working in community gardens meet others by doing so. That way these gardens create or strengthen their social relations. However, not all residents of the local community are involved in the community gardens and the gardens may be maintained by people from outside of the direct neighbourhood. To what extent does the social cohesion that exists and is grown at the community garden ‘spread’ beyond that garden, into the neighbourhood? Do local residents that are not involved benefit from the social cohesion created by the gardeners? (I.e. because they see the neighbourhood being beautified, because they stop and talk to those working in the garden, because they feel that something is brooding…).

Relevant research questions: How do the residents of the neighbourhoods in which these gardens are situated feel about the gardens? Do they perceive any benefits? Are there any negative sides to the gardens? Did they get to know more people? Do they look differently to the neighbourhood in which they are living, and its inhabitants? How do they look at the people maintaining the gardens?

Potential methods include surveys and possibly semi structured interviews. Participant observations can also be useful. The community gardens have already been selected. The two gardens are situated in Leeuwarden and in Amsterdam. As the thesis involves many contacts with local resident, the student has to be able to speak Dutch. Budget is available for travel and printing costs.

This thesis is part of the research of a third-year PhD student. The PhD student will supervise and guide the thesis and will work in close cooperation with the student.

For more information: Esther Veen, esther.veen@wur.nl

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