Accepted Paper:

Dwelling in the city: urban allotment gardening in England  


Kathryn Wood

Paper short abstract:

This poster studies allotment gardening in the UK as an urban dwelling activity. It studies improvisational construction and tool-making, organic gardening, and social norms and sharing. Institutional threats, especially land-use changes and housing pressure, are also discussed.

Paper long abstract:

This poster explores the unique practice of British allotment gardening, a community-based land use practice, and reflects on its role as a dwelling activity. Allotment gardening in Great Britain is historically a subsistence activity, introduced as a way to allow violently urbanized workers to supplement their food supplies following enclosure and industrialization. Today, allotment gardeners have a complex view of the practice as an emotional, social, and even quasi-religious means of engaging with the land in addition to its subsistence role. Allotments are now under threat, as land-use conflicts and changing government priorities make the previously marginal 'waste ground' given over to allotments valuable resources. Thus, the practice of allotment gardening as an urban dwelling activity is time-bound and constantly changing, and must be understood in a particular time and place. This poster explores views of allotment gardening from a dwelling and making perspective. It examines the activities and perceptions of allotment gardeners and the role of the allotment garden as an urban place. Key aspects of British allotment gardening practice examined include improvisational construction and tool-making, organic gardening practices, and social interaction and sharing. These practices contribute to the formation of the allotment garden as a unique place in which members create and construct a physical and social environment.

Panel Post01
POSTERS: Ways of Dwelling: Crisis - Craft - Creativity