Community in the garden in the community : the development of an open space resource in Boston's South End
Author(s)Meehan, Angela Elizabeth
Development of an open space resource in Boston's South End
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Sam Bass Warner.
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Now a permanently protected type of open space, the community gardens in Boston's South End began in the early 1970's as an effort to utilize vacant land in what was a predominantly low-income neighborhood. Since then, the South End has experienced steady gentrification and is now one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Boston. Despite these changes, the South End, due in part to its substantial supply of subsidized housing, has retained residents with a mix of income levels and is a neighborhood that is still known for its diversity. Much of the previous literature on the role and value of community gardens has focused primarily on low-income communities, and there has been little research on community gardens in gentrifying or similarly changing neighborhoods. The South End, therefore, is an ideal arena in which to investigate the past development and present-day role of community gardens in a changing neighborhood. This thesis examines the role of the South End's community gardens both as places in and of themselves and as part of the larger urban landscape and community.(cont.) By taking the perspective of the community in the garden and the garden in the community, the study explores both the dynamics of the smaller communities within the gardens and their role as a unique type of open space in the larger neighborhood and community that surrounds them. Through in-depth interviews as well as archival and observational methods, it traces the historical development of a community garden movement in the South End and also examines the specific present-day dynamics of two case study gardens. The research finds that these community gardens reflect the qualities and dynamics of the surrounding neighborhood, both in terms of its positive diversity as well as its conflicts and tensions. Furthermore, community gardens are places where these qualities are uniquely engaged through the interaction of people of different backgrounds by means of their common interest in gardening. Finally, the community gardens hold unique value for non-gardeners both as open space and as gardens, and provide lessons for the potential benefits of developing and maintaining new community gardens elsewhere.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2007.Page 143 blank.Includes bibliographical references (p. 137-142).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.