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Improving the quality of life in cities using community gardens: from benefits for members to benefits for all local residents

How does community gardens improve the quality of life in cities not only of their members but also of other city residents?

Abstract: Recent effects of globalization, urbanization and climate change have resulted in an increasing interest in the quality of life in cities and seeking pathways for its improvement. At the same time, there are changes in society and lifestyles that may challenge or facilitate these pathways. Community gardens (CGs) represent an effort to provide more sustainable urban economies, while reflecting on the public demand for cultivation of own crops. However, members of CGs may not perceive all the benefits that CGs provide for their surroundings. Using two case studied from Czechia (CG Kuchyňka and CG Vidimova in Prague) the aim of this paper is a comparison of the benefits perceived by community garden members and the evaluated net social benefits of community gardens in cities for all local residents. Through a questionnaire survey, the paper answers the research question of the benefits of community gardens perceived by community garden members. An economic assessment based on cost-benefit analysis was made to answer the question of the value of the net social benefits of community gardens in cities. Our comparison shows that the net social benefits are higher than perceived by their members. Net present benefits of EUR 31 550 for CG Kuchyňka and EUR 1 175 for CG Vidimova were quantified in a 50-year horizon. This economic analysis should contribute to greater support for community gardens by city governments and spatial planners.

Citation: Dubová, L., Macháč, J., (2019). Improving the quality of life in cities using community gardens: from benefits for members to benefits for all local residents, GeoScape(Vol. 13, No. 1), pp. 68-78, doi: https://doi.org/10.2478/geosc-2019-0005