Comparing community garden typologies of Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City (USA) to understand potential implications for socio-ecological services

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Apr 26, 2019
Elsa C. Anderson, Monika H. Egerer, Nakisha Fouch, Mysha Clarke, Melissa J. Davidson



Urban community gardens offer unique social and ecological benefits in cities. However, given the dynamic nature of cities andthe profound effects of variable land uses on green space provisioning for people and wildlife, investigating community gardensfrom a landscape perspective offers valuable insight into the functions of these spaces in terms of ecosystem services andsustainable development. In this study, we use garden locations provided by stakeholder groups and fine-scale spatial data tocompare community gardens across three cities: New York City, NY, Chicago, IL, and Baltimore, MD (USA). In each city, weassess the spatial distribution of gardens and compare the natural vegetation and impervious surface cover within these gardens tothe surrounding neighborhood and landscape. We then compared these cities to clarify the role of community gardens inmetropolitan development. Our findings demonstrate that gardens cluster in neighborhoods in New York City and Chicago,but they are more spatially distributed across the landscape in Baltimore. The distribution of Baltimore’s community gardens ismore likely to be contributing to a greater network of ecosystem services across a broader urban landscape. Moreover, at thegarden scale, gardens in NYC and Chicago have more canopy cover and built infrastructure than the more herbaceous gardens inBaltimore. This suggests that our case study cities exhibit different garden typologies, histories, and potential for ecosystemservices. This work provides critical insight into the typology in and around community gardens in different cities, which is usefulin understanding the potential ecosystem services and planning trajectories of these cities.

Read the article in Urban Ecosystems.

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