Community gardens are not yet embedded in place or institutions – their immediate future is precarious in many cases.
Dr John Crossan
Professor Deirdre Shaw
Professor Andrew Cumbers
Professor Robert McMaste
University of Glasgow 2015
The potential for community gardening is high in old industrial cities where the loss of manufacturing industry has resulted in vast areas of unused spaces. Glasgow is a particularly pertinent case with 1300 hectares of vacant and derelict land, representing 4% of its total land area and comprising 925 individual sites. As a result over 60% of Glasgow City’s population lives within 500 metres, and over 90% within 1000 metres, of a derelict site. This is important when considering issues of social and environmental justice, as most of the vacant and derelict land can be found in the most deprived areas of the city, thus, disproportionately affecting the poorest citizens (see Map 1).
These communities “are already suffering from higher than expected rates of many diseases, do not enjoy long life expectancy, and have to bear the stress of poverty and other forms of deprivation” (Maantay 2012). As well as brownfield sites Glasgow’s community gardens are located on underused public and private green spaces. These include grassed areas, city meadows and locations within existing public parks.
A number of funding initiatives in recent years have made community gardening projects more accessible to Glasgow’s residents. Funding initiatives are geared towards a variety of outcomes. These include: initiatives aimed at ‘grassroots’ regeneration of derelict and underused city spaces; initiatives concerned with environmental sustainability, such as increasing biodiversity in the urban environment and increasing carbon catchment areas through tree planting and local food growing projects. Also pertinent to community gardens are a number of initiatives aimed at promoting healthy eating and “green-exercise”. The main organisations funding community gardens in Glasgow are listed in Table 1.