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Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041085

Social Sustainability through Social Interaction—A National Survey on Community Gardens in Germany

1
Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Policy, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, 06120 Halle, Germany
2
Department of Food Nutrition Facilities, Münster University of Applied Sciences, 48149 Münster, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 31 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
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Abstract

Community gardening has become a growing movement in cities all over the world, where these diverse collectively managed spaces provide various economic, ecological, and social benefits for urban residents. Particularly in developed countries such as Germany, social benefits are the motivation to participate in community gardens more so than the harvests. Although research on community gardens has grown, including the question of their benefits to a sustainable development, there is little literature studying the social importance and social sustainability of community gardens. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine social interaction, participation, and perceived success as a concept to assess social sustainability. The paper further aims to examine the conditions influencing social sustainability within community gardens. With the help of an online survey, we collect data from 123 community gardens throughout Germany, with which we assess diverse degrees of social sustainability. Causalities of gardens’ social sustainability are analyzed with a multiple linear regression model. Results indicate that there is no significant relationship between size of community and social sustainability, rather aspects of trust and management have a strong effect on social sustainability. Findings like these lead to a better understanding of social interaction in urban communities that contribute to more social sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban agriculture; community gardens; commons; social initiatives; social interaction; social sustainability; social change; social capital urban agriculture; community gardens; commons; social initiatives; social interaction; social sustainability; social change; social capital
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Rogge, N.; Theesfeld, I.; Strassner, C. Social Sustainability through Social Interaction—A National Survey on Community Gardens in Germany. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1085.

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