Dépôt numérique

Reclaiming the city one plot at a time? DIY garden projects, radical democracy, and the politics of spatial appropriation

Bach, Claire E. et McClintock, Nathan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3634-3799 (2021). Reclaiming the city one plot at a time? DIY garden projects, radical democracy, and the politics of spatial appropriation Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space , vol. 39 , nº 5. pp. 859-878. DOI: 10.1177/2399654420974023.

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Unsanctioned guerrilla gardens, long a feature of North American cities, are frequently planted as radical challenge to conventional urban land use. Over the past decade, a number of community-led garden projects – projets citoyens – have appeared on sidewalks and in vacant lots, and alleys of Montreal, Quebec’s inner-core neighborhoods under the banner of “appropriating” or “reclaiming” urban space. In this article, we examine the rise of these DIY (do-it-yourself) garden projects and the extent to which they have been institutionalized via municipal agencies and NGOs. We find the distinction between institutionalized and guerrilla projects to be quite blurry, and ask whether such spaces – and the social relations forged within and between them – are able to effectively challenge hegemonic abstract space (as conceived by Lefebvre) and contribute to a radical democratic urban politics (as conceived by Rancière). We conclude that the power of these projects to transform capitalist urban space and challenge the dominant socio-spatial order is limited. We argue, however, that their transformative potential lies instead in their functioning as spaces of political subject formation, where participants collaboratively articulate counter-hegemonic imaginaries and master the skills of collective autogestion – albeit only for a small and relatively homogenous group of Montrealers. Critical attention to absent and silenced voices and self-reflexive awareness of historical and contemporary processes of exclusion and displacement are crucial in order for these projects to become truly radical democratic spaces.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: agriculture urbaine; jardin communautaire; jardin collectif; potager; démocratie;
Centre: Centre Urbanisation Culture Société
Date de dépôt: 30 nov. 2021 14:52
Dernière modification: 28 janv. 2022 18:56
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/12091

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