The project focuses on (bio)diversity in allotment gardens. Rather than proposing solutions the project reveals different notions of (bio)diversity with a short film/documentary exploring various creatures in their habitat “Kleingarten”. It is supposed to shake the image of allotment gardens as either “Gardens of Eden” or rather “horti conclusi”.
The access to green space, to a garden, and to horticulture is highly unequal in the urban context. The current crisis has made the notion of “private green” and its relation to societal privilege and monetary power structures an even more pressing topic. Various projects and initiatives claim land for community gardening and wellbeing. Research on biodiversity in urban areas discusses issues, such as the mitigation of climate change (and how to gain allies for it), and of the trend of permanently decreasing biodiversity. Allotment gardens can have positive effects on the urban climate, both the protection of species and biodiversity, greening and health. At the same time the so-called middle class discovers allotment gardens to fulfill desires for a family home amidst greenery, by sealing ground and diminishing biodiversity.
This process opens a discussion about the contradictions and ambivalences that emerge when “invading” green areas. The historical auspicious aim of allotment gardens was to counteract the disadvantageous, bad living conditions of workers by providing land that is leased long term and not for profit. The objectives were to offer possibilities to recover and to recreate in nature as well as to cultivate vegetables to secure food in times of crisis.
What has become of the original idea of allotment gardens and its socio-ecological aspects? How diverse are the (living) creatures in allotment gardens in Vienna today? Do they matter? What is their impact on ecosystems, (bio)diversity and existing communities and how does that relate to privilege? Are there subversive agents to be found?
- Summer Semester 20/21
- Susanne Gutsche