Refuges of Local Resilience: Community Gardens
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy community gardens functioned as multi-purpose community refuges which hosted meaningful and restorative greening practices, and developed supportive communities.
Chan, Joana, DuBois, Bryce, and Tidball, Keith G. (2015). Refuges of local resilience: Community gardens in post-Sandy New York City. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 14(3): 625-635. doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2015.06.005
Community gardens have historically played an important role in the social–ecological resilience of New York City (NYC). These public-access communal gardens not only support flora and fauna to enhance food security and ecosystem services, but also foster communities of practice which nurture the restorative and communal aspects of this civic ecology practice. After NYC communities were devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the topic of resilience has surfaced to the top of the city's disaster planning and policy agenda.
This paper explores the role of community gardens in coastal “red zones” of NYC by analyzing the meaning and relevance of community garden spaces in the resilience and recovery of local residents and community garden members post-Sandy.
From April 2013 to February 2014, ethnographic analyses, including participant observation, exploratory and in-depth interviews, and archival research, was undertaken at five community gardens post-Sandy.
Our findings indicate that community gardens functioned as multi-purpose community refuges which hosted meaningful and restorative greening practices, and developed supportive communities. This paper seeks to add to our knowledge of post-disaster greening, public spaces, and social–ecological resilience.