Accepted paper:

Imaginations and uncertain futures: urban gardening in Germany

Authors:

Annalina Buckmann

Paper short abstract:

Urban gardens in Germany promoting sustainability establish places that allow for an altered experience of urbanity. Changing the contemporary, they inspire imaginations for the future. However, their own future is often uncertain, as they depend on the benevolence of their respective environment.

Paper long abstract:

Urban garden communities in Germany are promoting and enabling sustainability by creating places for 'citynature'. More than allowing the urban dweller to grow and obtain locally and ecologically produced food, urban gardens create materialities that often drastically differ from other city gardens and 'common' urban environments in Germany. As the established places allow for a fundamentally different experience of dwelling in the city, this paper thus argues, urban gardens help inspire and facilitate imaginations for the future, which are rooted in the present - as well as the challenges urban garden communities face. This paper focuses on urban garden communities which are openly accessible for the public, actively engaging and encouraging the visitor to participate or to dwell and linger. Many adress the public through their online presences and connect with other garden projects, forming a network of support and mutual sharing of knowledge and skills. Through these activities and more, urban garden communities in Germany present local attempts to facilitate a change of the contemporary, while creating places for imagining, and negotiating a different future. However, their own prospects are often uncertain. Most of these projects are run by volunteers and have to compete against powerful players within an urban environment that is growing denser and denser. As such, the future of urban gardens hinges on many various factors - the goodwill of city planners being a powerful of them.

panel P023
Moving towards a future sustainable life - attempts to change the contemporary world