Special Issue "Investigating Urban Gardening as a Public Health Strategy"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jonathan Kingsley
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Health Sciences, Department of Health and Medical Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Interests: Public health; qualitative research; Aboriginal health; ecosystem approaches to health; community gardening

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2018, the special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared that we have a decade left to address the risks associated with "unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. The report emphasised that “rapid and far-reaching” adaptation was required in cities to address sustainable development. Andersson et al. (2014: 451) contended that urbanisation, specifically around engagement in green spaces, may offer policy solutions because “cities could become laboratories where management strategies and governance structures for ecosystem stewardship are tested and evaluated”. One of these strategies is urban gardening activities (such as communities, alotments, schools, hospitals, and home gardens), which provide a way of re-imagining cities. For instance, community gardening is associated with revitalising and transforming urban areas by increasing green spaces; increasing safety; enhancing environmental sustainability, community pride, and social connectedness; and empowering individuals. Although there are potential public health implications of urban gardening activities, these have not been translated into significant political and practical change. Therefore, the aim of this Special Issue is to highlight the social, economic, cultural, political, health, and wellbeing implications, impacts, and outcomes of urban gardening activities. By highlighting these outcomes, this Special Issue will be used to shine a light on the significance of urban gardening activities/settings to inform and influence policy and practice globally. This Special Issue invites researchers of any discipline that focus on urban gardening, including but not exlusive to urban planning/agriculture, social science, public health, and environmental science. 

Dr. Jonathan Kingsley
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Urban agriculture
  • Urban gardening
  • Urban farming
  • Public health
  • Planetary health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Environmental determinants of health
  • Wellbeing.

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
How Does Urban Farming Benefit Participants’ Health? A Case Study of Allotments and Experience Farms in Tokyo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020542 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 934
Abstract
In Japan, the world’s most rapidly aging country, urban farming is attracting attention as an infrastructure for health activities. In Tokyo, urban residents generally participate in two types of farming programs: allotments and experience farms. The availability of regular interaction among participants distinguishes [...] Read more.
In Japan, the world’s most rapidly aging country, urban farming is attracting attention as an infrastructure for health activities. In Tokyo, urban residents generally participate in two types of farming programs: allotments and experience farms. The availability of regular interaction among participants distinguishes these two programs. We quantitatively examined the difference in changes in self-reported health status between participants in these two types of urban farming. We obtained retrospective cross-sectional data from questionnaire surveys of 783 urban farming participants and 1254 nonparticipants and analyzed the data using ordinal logistic regressions. As a result, compared with nonparticipants, participants in both types of urban farming reported significantly improved self-rated health (SRH) and mental health (MH). After controlling for changes in their physical activity (PA), although participants in allotments did not report significant improvement in SRH and MH, those in experience farms did, suggesting that their health improvement was not only caused by an increase in PA but also by social interaction among participants. From the perspective of health promotion, public support is needed not only for the municipality’s allotments but also for the experience farms operated by the farmers themselves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Investigating Urban Gardening as a Public Health Strategy)
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Open AccessArticle
Trust, Connection and Equity: Can Understanding Context Help to Establish Successful Campus Community Gardens?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207476 - 14 Oct 2020
Viewed by 853
Abstract
Campus community gardens (CCGs) can potentially improve student health and wellbeing, mitigate social and ecological problems, and nurture university-community relationships. However, CCGs are located in complex socio-political and ecological settings and many community gardens struggle or fail. However, few studies have assessed the [...] Read more.
Campus community gardens (CCGs) can potentially improve student health and wellbeing, mitigate social and ecological problems, and nurture university-community relationships. However, CCGs are located in complex socio-political and ecological settings and many community gardens struggle or fail. However, few studies have assessed the socio-political/ecological context of a garden setting prior to its development to understand the potential barriers and enablers of success. Our study assessed the socio-spatial context of a proposed CCG at a student university accommodation site. We engaged diverse university and community stakeholders through interviews, focus groups and a survey to explore their perceptions of the space generally and the proposed garden specifically. Visual observations and public life surveying were used to determine patterns of behavior. Results confirmed known problems associated with an underutilized site that provides little opportunity for lingering or contact with nature; and unknown barriers, including socially disconnected stakeholders and community distrust of the university. The research also uncovered positive enablers, such as stakeholder appreciation of the social, wellbeing and ecological benefits that a CCG could deliver. Our findings suggest that an in-depth exploration of a proposed garden context can be an important enabler of its success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Investigating Urban Gardening as a Public Health Strategy)
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Open AccessProtocol
A Systematic Review Protocol to Identify the Key Benefits and Associated Program Characteristics of Community Gardening for Vulnerable Populations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2029; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062029 - 19 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1390
Abstract
Gardening has long been a popular pastime. There is a growing evidence base for the health and well-being benefits of gardening. Community gardening brings a social aspect to gardening, thereby increasing the potential benefits to include addressing social inclusion and poor community health [...] Read more.
Gardening has long been a popular pastime. There is a growing evidence base for the health and well-being benefits of gardening. Community gardening brings a social aspect to gardening, thereby increasing the potential benefits to include addressing social inclusion and poor community health through sharing of values, support of others, and building networks. This systematic review protocol aims to determine the characteristics of community gardening that could lead to beneficial outcomes such as connection with the community and development of new skills. Thirteen academic databases will be searched for studies looking at the benefits of community gardening, with a focus on vulnerable populations. Data will be extracted from all studies meeting the inclusion criteria and summarized to provide an overview of the current literature. This systematic review aims to provide a comprehensive investigation into community gardening, its benefits, and how they are achieved for the target population. By gathering and synthesizing this information, the review should allow policy makers and practitioners to work more effectively to address health and social inequities, by highlighting areas of need and enabling optimization of future interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Investigating Urban Gardening as a Public Health Strategy)
Open AccessProtocol
A Systematic Review Protocol Investigating Community Gardening Impact Measures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183430 - 16 Sep 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2226
Abstract
Existing community gardening research has tended to be exploratory and descriptive, utilising qualitative or mixed methodologies to explore and understand community garden participation. While research on community gardening attracts growing interest, the empirical rigour of measurement scales and embedded indicators has received comparatively [...] Read more.
Existing community gardening research has tended to be exploratory and descriptive, utilising qualitative or mixed methodologies to explore and understand community garden participation. While research on community gardening attracts growing interest, the empirical rigour of measurement scales and embedded indicators has received comparatively less attention. Despite the extensive body of community gardening literature, a coherent narrative on valid, high quality approaches to the measurement of outcomes and impact across different cultural contexts is lacking and yet to be comprehensively examined. This is essential as cities are becoming hubs for cultural diversity. Systematic literature reviews that explore the multiple benefits of community gardening and other urban agriculture activities have been undertaken, however, a systematic review of the impact measures of community gardening is yet to be completed. This search protocol aims to address the following questions: (1) How are the health, wellbeing, social and environmental outcomes and impacts of community gardening measured? (2) What cultural diversity considerations have existing community garden measures taken into account? Demographic data will be collected along with clear domains/constructs of experiences, impacts and outcomes captured from previous literature to explore if evidence considers culturally heterogeneous and diverse populations. This will offer an understanding as to whether community gardening research is appropriately measuring this cross-cultural activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Investigating Urban Gardening as a Public Health Strategy)
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