From Ephemeral Garden to Green Facility, Community Embedding of Empty Spaces

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Renato MARIN LOPEZ, University of Barcelona - CRIT, Spain
Within a context of ecological crisis, involvement in community gardens enables daily life to make sense. Community gardens allow the emergence of new narratives of the city, changes in the conception of time and urban rhythm and relations among citizens and heterogeneous social actors. Community gardens in Barcelona are transitioning from pioneering to maintenance phase in part thanks to a program of ceding spaces for non-profit entities. The criteria are: ephemeral and temporary nature, social involvement and self-management capacity and high social impact. Pla BUITS has proved to be a socially innovative formula for regenerating vacant spaces and produce news social relations. It has a low cost for the municipality and it offers a resource with high social value for organizations that in another way would not be able to afford it. Pla BUITS owes its success to a particular mix of top-down policy instrument with bottom-up initiative. We conduct a case study of the program to answer why most of the projects were born as community gardens and how they get embedded into neighbourhood social life and local institutions (formal and informal). Following a qualitative approach, we go deeper in three spaces which have strong neighbouring component and they have become intergenerational spaces. The results show how a temporary cession might become a permanent green facility due to the creation of bridging relations. In some cases, erase it could generate a conflict. Despite the projects are, a priori, open to external players, some of them do not necessarily become open spaces with public outcomes. A statement of openness can accompany endogamous dynamics. The discussion around “community” essence, collective efforts or on an individual level is complex. They are different non-hierarchical spheres.