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Title:Fertile ground: Community gardens in a low-income inner-city Chicago neighborhood and the development of social capital among African Americans
Author(s):Williams, Douglas
Director of Research:Sullivan, William C.; Jarrett, Robin L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sullivan, William C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Jarrett, Robin L.; Dash, Leon D.; Lawson, Laura J.
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Urban
Community
Garden
social
capital
African American
Abstract:This study used interviews to investigate the social connections among low-income African Americans who were developing and maintaining community gardens in an inner-city Chicago neighborhood. Despite a variety of barriers (e.g., limited resources, violence, moral dangers, toxic soil, transient, and aging population), residents come together to care for garden plots on vacant lots. These spaces, adjacent to abandoned housing, become social capital builders. By engaging in activities that require weekly teamwork, community members come to trust, share, and actively envision the transformation of bleak circumstances into places of opportunity for a better life. These activities include site selection, land appropriation, building, growing, harvesting, preparing and distributing the crops they have grown. This research contributes to our understanding of the range of social and economic benefits that community gardens provide. In particular, this research provides insight into how low-income African American community gardeners form social networks that leads to a greater quality of life. The study offers place-based recommendations for block clubs, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, companies, landscape architects, city planners, parks and recreation departments that focus on local assets.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/49541
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Douglas Williams
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05


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