Documentation and thesis research for a project of proactive urban renewal of ecological awareness.
Pictures, illustrations and text: Beatrice Tamagnini
Over the last year I researched urban gardens, shared spaces in the city’s landscape, and I investigated what was the key for sustainable participation and creation of new Freiraum with the intent to raise awareness among citizens. As I was interviewing people, I quickly noticed a few obstacles that were impeding the implementation of such projects. First and foremost, a lack of communication between these projects even in proximal areas and secondly the market limitations that threaten local biodiversity.
During my research I noticed that the majority of urban gardeners are amateur farmers or botanists, thus with limited professional knowledge of biology and agricultural techniques. Since knowledge is key for them, I feel these communities would benefit from accessing a repository of information that also includes tools to get in touch between each other and then further reaching out to the general public.
My initial finding is that there is no such a infrastructure in Europe. During my visits to the gardens I also discovered that every spring lots of urban gardeners buy new seeds and plants from commercial resellers. This is partly due to lack of knowledge of seeding storage techniques and partly for convenience. However industrial seeds manufacturers only market a limited amount of patented species not necessarily from a specific geographical area. As a result, many local species of vegetables are getting replaced by common mainstream industrial species thus threatening the existence of many local varieties. I feel that the urban gardeners’ communities might benefit from a marketplace to exchange seeds outside of the commercial circuits, in this way contributing to the preservation of local species.
With my bachelor thesis I designed a solution that will tackle the above problems and help urban gardens blossom.