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Publication Date

2010-01-01

Availability

UM campus only

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2010-04-02

First Committee Member

Jan Nijman - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Richard Grant - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Jean-François LeJeune - Outside Committee Member

Abstract

Community gardens (CGs) have been well studied in several North American cities, but less is known about them in places with emerging CG movements. There are no existing studies on CGs in Miami and the total number of CGs in Miami is unknown, but in the past five years there has been rapid increase in interest on this topic from a variety of stakeholders and organizations. To add to the empirical knowledge of CGs, the author conducted case studies on the six highest profile projects. This exploratory research consisted of 12 semi-structured interviews and analysis of government records and published documents. The findings indicate CGs are very diverse in both their locations across socio-economic areas as well as the spatial strategies of their organizers. The multiple meanings of community and the multiple scales at which CGs are organized illustrate the complexities of such projects. Although CG advocates promote them as ways to achieve community self-reliance, recent critiques have argued that CGs offer some benefits but cannot redress large-scale inequalities. Perhaps these inadequacies are due in part to assumptions that localities are produced exclusively by their residents. This study draws on geographical theory to argue that a relational approach to scale may lead to a more accurate practice and help establish CGs as permanent parts of cities. It concludes that CGs are highly complex and are not simple solutions for community development, and that more care is needed in their advocacy.

Keywords

Miami; Local Autonomy; Networks; Scale; Community Gardens; Urban Agriculture

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