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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 96; doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010096

Gardener Well-Being along Social and Biophysical Landscape Gradients

1
Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
2
Integrative Biology Department, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
3
Biology Department, Reed College, Portland, OR 97202, USA
4
CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, Aspendale, VIC 3195, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 27 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 2 January 2018
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Abstract

Increasing human populations are challenging cities to grow sustainably while maintaining green spaces that deliver ecosystem services and well-being benefits. Community gardens are green spaces that provide food, community, and health benefits, but gardens often are non-permanent due to development and green space loss. Thus, investigating their significance and benefit across urban regions is critical for research and policy alike. This study investigated the role of community gardens in providing human well-being benefits across three counties in the California Central Coast—a region undergoing massive urban transformation in the last century. We measured how multiple aspects of self-reported gardener well-being varied in relation to the social opportunities of surrounding neighborhoods and the biophysical features of the landscapes in which the gardens were embedded. The results document improvements in gardener well-being through gardening across social and biophysical gradients. Gardeners are motivated by diverse reasons, varying from gardening in order to connect to nature, to gardening for improved food access, or to enhance time spent with family. Community gardens are therefore important for supporting many well-being benefits. Policies to maintain and protect gardens should prioritize neighborhoods with needs for connecting to nature and enhancing social interaction within the community. View Full-Text
Keywords: green space; ecosystem services; environmental justice; social opportunity; urban planning green space; ecosystem services; environmental justice; social opportunity; urban planning
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Egerer, M.H.; Philpott, S.M.; Bichier, P.; Jha, S.; Liere, H.; Lin, B.B. Gardener Well-Being along Social and Biophysical Landscape Gradients. Sustainability 2018, 10, 96.

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