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The Socio-Cultural and Ecological Perspectives on Landscape and Gardening in Urban Environment: A Narrative Review

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This review offers a perspective on the role landscape and gardening play in urban settings from a socio-cultural, and ecological dimension. The practice of cultivating in gardens, parks and vacant lots, creates community spaces, and are increasingly becoming important to peoples’ experience of social and cultural wellbeing. In recent times, this has become a major focus of research in ecology, agriculture, urban design, landscape architecture, human geography, and sociology. Community gardening is one of the avenues toward revitalizing urban environments, and it provides a way of addressing multi-faceted urban problems ranging from limited food access to safety and community cohesion. That being said, it is necessary to continually evaluate the roles which society, ecology, and culture play in cities and landscape planning due to the dynamic nature of culture. This article aims to bring to the fore, the various factors of landscape and gardening practices in cities and the dynamics of cultural and ecological effects they have in building communities, reclaiming communities or engendering a personal place to thrive. A narrative review of the literature on peer-reviewed articles within the scope of the study was adopted as the research method.
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Contemporary Urban Affairs
2018, Volume 2, Number 2, pages 78 89
The Socio-cultural and ecological perspectives on
landscape and gardening in Urban Environment:
A narrative review
Chukwuemeke Patrick Uwajeh 1,*, Ikenna Stephen Ezennia 2
1 Department of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, North Cyprus via Mersin10, Turkey
2 Department of Architecture, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, PMB 5025, Anambra State, Nigeria
A B S T R A C T
This review offers a perspective on the role landscape and gardening play in urban
settings from a socio-cultural, and ecological dimension. The practice of cultivating
in gardens, parks and vacant lots, creates community spaces, and are increasingly
becoming important to peoples’ experience of social and cultural wellbeing. In recent
times, this has become a major focus of research in ecology, agriculture, urban
design, landscape architecture, human geography, and sociology. Community
gardening is one of the avenues toward revitalizing urban environments, and it
provides a way of addressing multi-faceted urban problems ranging from limited food
access to safety and community cohesion. That being said, it is necessary to
continually evaluate the roles which society, ecology, and culture play in cities and
landscape planning due to the dynamic nature of culture. This article aims to bring
to the fore, the various factors of landscape and gardening practices in cities and the
dynamics of cultural and ecological effects they have in building communities,
reclaiming communities or engendering a personal place to thrive. A narrative review
of the literature on peer-reviewed articles within the scope of the study was adopted
as the research method.
CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018) 2(2), 78-89. Doi: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.3673
www.ijcua.com
Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
As the world becomes more urbanized, the
practice of cultivating in gardens, parks and in
vacant lots, creates community spaces, and are
becoming increasingly important to peoples’
experience of social and cultural wellbeing. This
increase in world population continues to reveal,
the fact that our ecosystems and landscapes will
be more domesticated and designed to suit
human needs. In 1939, Carl Troll, a renowned
German physical geographer coined the term
‘landscape ecology,’ while studying the Miombo
savanna in southeastern Africa, discovered a
repeated patchwork or pattern composed of
grassland, termite mounds, shrubs, and tree
groups, which he called landscapes (Haber, 2004).
The term landscape was combined with ecology
*Corresponding Author:
Department of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University,
Famagusta, North Cyprus via Mersin10, Turkey
E-mail address: Is.ezennia@unizik.edu.ng
A R T I C L E I N F O:
Article history:
Received 29 December 2017
Accepted 6 January 2018
Available online 15 January
2018
Keywords:
Culture;
Biodiversity;
City;
Ecology;
Landscape;
Gardens
JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 2(2), 78-89 / 2018
Chukwuemeke Patrick Uwajeh , Ikenna Stephen Ezennia 79
by Troll due to his understanding of the
interrelationship between landscape and
environmental science introduced by Ernst
Haeckel in 1866. Although, Several authors have
classified it as follows: (i) landscape as regional
visual designation of the environment, and an
industrial or urban landscape; (ii) landscape as
evidence of history and cultural achievements, to
be cherished, preserved, and recognized as a
national identity; (iii) landscape as gestalt or
picture, as object of art and design, as symbol
conveying wellbeing and comfort, (iv) landscape
as part of everyday life, as a fabric of social,
economic or political activities, and medium of
advert (Haber, 2004; Meier, 2001; Winiwarter,
2001).
Ample scientific evidence suggests that
landscape assessment have extended various
fields and theories and techniques such as internet
survey technique (Roth, 2006), Fuzzy set theory
(Steinhardt, 1998), landscape ecological
assessment (Mörtberg, et al., 2007), and
psychophysical landscape assessment approach
(Daniel, 2001). Furthermore, local stakeholders
now take into consideration, the benefits of
evaluating visual and non-visual aspects of
different landscape settings (Soliva & Hunziker
2009).
A growing body of evidence has documented the
huge interest, shown by City dwellers, civil-society
organizations, and policymakers in food-
producing community gardens for their potential
to improve nutrition and public health, enhance
urban environmental quality, and provide
opportunities for urban residents to experience the
natural world (Alaimo, et al., 2008; Drake & Lawson
2015; Gregory, et al., 2015). Community gardens,
also regarded as urban agriculture, are public
spaces managed by member-volunteers who
grow food crops and or flowers, shrubs, and trees
in individual plots and communal growing spaces
(Cohen, et al., 2012). Community gardens can
transform under-utilized land into vibrant,
productive public space, engender a sense of
security in neighborhoods, and a strong
connection with the larger community (Poulsen, et
al., 2014).
Home gardens are an under-researched part of
the agricultural stocks of smallholders in many
parts of the world. Until recently, urban home
gardens have not received much attention
despite their critical importance to urban
livelihoods. Home gardens offer a perspective on
understanding rural-urban linkages since they are
frequently a landscape feature in both settings
and the exchanges of their products link the two
(WinklerPrins, 2002). Similarly, home gardens help
the preservation of tangible cultural heritage such
as food traditional cuisine, enhance cultural
sustainability, conservation and cultural vitality
(Mazumdar, & Mazumdar, 2012). More recently,
community gardens, have become a very
important urban planning tool to provide green
space in urban environments, improve access to
healthy foods, (Gregory, et al., 2015; Poulsen, et al.,
2014) and encourage local food production and
distribution (Pottinger, 2013).
There have been concerns on the aspect of
biodiversity in landscape research, due to the
global influx of diverse ornamental and non-native
plant species in landscape practice (van Kleunen,
et al., 2015), as well as how wild and cultivated
biodiversity in all forms is related to healthy diets
and nutrition (Powell et al., 2015). Consequently,
major challenges are arising in landscape design
in countries where the fastest global urbanization
is predicted for future decades, such as: India,
China, and South America (Elmqvist et al. 2013).
Therefore, the combination of native biodiversity
and regional native plant material, into new and
existing parks and landscape designs can
engender a holistic approach to creating
sustainable green infrastructure, preserving and
supporting native biodiversity, and preventing
further plant invasions (Müller, & Sukopp, 2016).
Developing and maintaining sustainable
landscapes remains a challenging and vital task
for scientists and numerous stakeholders. Thus,
landscape architecture and landscape ecology
must be fully involved in the crucial processes
employed towards accomplishing this task.
However, landscape architecture or landscape
ecology may not achieve its expected goal
without strategic intra and interdisciplinary
collaborations with other disciplines as well as the
JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 2(2), 78-89 / 2018
Chukwuemeke Patrick Uwajeh , Ikenna Stephen Ezennia 80
art and science of studying the relationship
between spatial pattern and ecological
processes, which influence the production of
sustainable landscape architecture (Chen, & Wu,
2009).
Studies have shown that there are several benefits
and services provided by urban agriculture, which
can be observed through a framework of
“landscape multi-functionality,” which entails the
production of food resources, ecological services,
and socio-ecological functions, each of which
benefits the health of the surrounding community
(Lovell, 2010). Therefore, supporting and
expanding community gardens could benefit
many urban dwellers in neighborhoods where
people lack access to affordable healthy foods
and opportunities for interactions with nature
(Larson, et al. 2009; Miller, 2005). Research findings
from local distributions of cultivated vegetation
suggest that the social environment may
significantly influence these distributions.
Cultivated floras within settlements, vary with
social factors (Kendal, et al., 2012). These factors
include, land use (gardens, parks or streetscapes)
(Welch, 1994; Jim & Liu 2001; Martin, et al. 2004),
socioeconomic and lifestyle gradients (Martin et
al. 2004; Hope, et al. 2003; Luz de la Maza, et al.
2002) and with historical patterns of physical and
social development (Lubbe, et al. 2010; Jim & Liu
2001). People from different cultural backgrounds
cultivate different kinds of plants, suggesting that
places with very different cultures will have
different cultivated floras. This implies that as
people migrate to settlements around the world,
the cultivated floras of those settlements will
become more similar (Head, et al., 2004; Fraser, &
Kenney, 2000) and affords immigrants the
opportunity to re-create the natural environment,
history and culture left behind (Mazumdar, &
Mazumdar, 2012). Community gardening is one of
the avenues toward revitalizing urban
environments, and it provides a way of addressing
multi-faceted urban problems ranging from limited
food access, safety, community cohesion,
preservation of tangible cultural heritage (food-
traditional cuisine), to enhancing cultural
sustainability. That being said, it is necessary to
continually evaluate the roles which society,
ecology, and culture play in cities and landscape
planning due to the dynamic nature of culture.
1.1. Methodology
A narrative review of literature on peer reviewed
articles within the scope of study was adopted as
the research method. The criteria for the cities
selected in the reviewed articles were random.
However, it was paramount that all included
articles documented important finding related to
the social, cultural and ergonomic dimensions of
gardening and landscape practices in cities.
1.2. Aim and objectives
The aim of this article is to bring to the fore, the
various factors of landscape and gardening
practices in cities and the dynamics of cultural and
ecological effects they have in building, and
reclaiming communities or engendering a
personal place to thrive. The objective of this
review paper is to create a better knowledge of
the implications of the socio-cultural, and
ecological factors of landscape and gardens on
patterns of cultivated vegetation. This will
contribute to the understanding of how people
experience nature in an urban context and help
ecologists, sociologist, and professionals in urban
design towards better city planning, revitalization
as well as gentrification.
In order to understand the scope in which
landscape and gardens are discussed in this
article, an understanding of the definitions of
landscape, gardens, gardening and an
associated term such as farming within the scope
of study is clearly described.
1.2.1 Landscape
In recent years, Landscape has been holistically
defined in human geography as a term, which
seeks to unite the material and visible environment
as well as the immaterial and invisible mental
structures of the environment (Lindström, 2010).
While earlier studies on the landscape have
focused on the visual aspects, to the extent that
Daniels and Cosgrove, stated in The Iconography
of Landscape that “landscape is a cultural image,
a visual representation, structuring or symbolizing
of our environments” (Daniels & Cosgrove 2007).
JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 2(2), 78-89 / 2018
Chukwuemeke Patrick Uwajeh , Ikenna Stephen Ezennia 81
However, it is important to note that, contrary to a
common misconception, landscape is not limited
to the visual aspects of the surrounding
environment, and neither can landscape be
equated to physical environment or “nature.”
(Lindström, 2010). Thus, viewing landscape
employs a rhythmic movement of the eyes, which
is also a code to reconstitute oneself, such that, a
person who beholds a landscape does not leave
it as the same person.
1.2.2 Gardens
A garden is a planned space, typically outdoors,
set aside for the display, cultivation, and
enjoyment of plants which also serves as a
supplementary food production system that is
managed and controlled by household members.
The most common form today is known as home
garden, which include both natural and man-
made materials. Nevertheless, the term garden
has traditionally been more generalized to include
those used to display wild animals in simulated
natural habitats, called zoological gardens.
(Klindienst, 2006; Turner, 2005). A household
garden can be consumption-or market-oriented,
but at least some of the produce will be consumed
by the household. As a supplementary production
system, the household garden is secondary to
both the primary source of household food,
whether from field production or purchase and to
household income, whether from sales of field
produce, wage labour or other sources. (Soleri, et
al., 1991). Gardening can sometimes be
misconceived as farming. That being said, studies
posit that there is no standard definition for ‘a
home garden’, and summarize the shared
perception by referring to it as ‘an intimate, multi-
story combinations of various trees and crops,
sometimes in association with domestic animals,
around homesteads', as well as for the partially
cultivation of vegetables, fruits, and herbs chiefly
for domestic consumption (Galhena, et al., 2013;
Kumar, & Nair, 2004). Therefore, home gardens
can be characterized by the following factors; (1)
it's close proximity to the residence; (2) high plant
diversity; (3) food production is supplementary
rather than a main source of family consumption
and income; (4) it occupies a small area; and (5)
it is a production system that can be practiced by
the impoverished minority; (Galhena, et al., 2013;
Brownrigg, 1985; Marsh, 1998).
Gardens for food producing purpose, can be
distinguished from farming, mainly by scale and
intent. Gardening is done on a smaller scale,
chiefly for the production of goods for the
gardener's own family or community and
sometimes pleasure. While farming takes place on
a larger scale, with a major motivation to produce
goods for profit. The overlap between these terms,
is due to the fact that some moderate-sized farms,
often called market gardening, can fit in either
category. Therefore, the main distinctions
between gardening and farming are as follows:
1. Scale.
2. Gardening can be a hobby or an income
supplement, but farming is generally
understood as a full-time or commercial
activity, usually involving more land and
quite different practices.
3. Gardening is labor-intensive and requires
little infrastructural capital, sometimes no
more than a few tools, while farming is
large-scale, often involves irrigation
systems, chemical fertilizers and machines.
However, this distinction is becoming
blurred with the increasing use of power
tools even in small gardens.
2. Socio-cultural Perspectives on landscape and
Gardening
Studies have shown that the use of historical,
archaeological, ethnographic, and geophysical
methods to document the cultural landscapes of
cities can discover the complex social meanings
of the built environments (Nassaney, et al., 2001).
Humans build their cultural environments and
organized space in ways that helped declare their
identities, whether wealthy or impoverished, native
and immigrant, (Nassaney, et al., 2001; Yamin, &
Metheny, 1996; Nassaney, & Paynter, 1995; Paynter
et al., 1994). The reciprocal relationship of Culture,
its social aspects and its connection with
landscape ecology, flesh several important
principles in landscape ecosystems. Expanding on
this dynamic, it can be argued that culture is
embedded in landscape as such can change a
JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 2(2), 78-89 / 2018
Chukwuemeke Patrick Uwajeh , Ikenna Stephen Ezennia 82
landscape, and are both encompassed by
landscape ecology. Four broad cultural principles,
proposed by Nassauer, (1995), which can serve as
a principle for landscape ecology include:
1. Human landscape perception, cognition,
and values directly affect the landscape
and are affected by the landscape.
2. Cultural concepts of nature are different
from scientific concepts of ecological
function.
3. The appearance of landscapes
communicates cultural values.
4. Cultural conventions powerfully influence
landscape pattern in both inhabited and
apparently natural landscapes.
Immense urban development, extreme
competition for metropolitan space,
modernization, changing institutions and laws, and
the global industrialization of food has threatened
several pockets of gardens within cities with
extinction. With the emergence of the
environmental movements and the availability of
open space as a result of unsuccessful urban
renewal, community gardens have resurged in
many American cities (Breslav 1991). Many of the
gardens are in low-income areas and have been
known as safe havens that provide residents with
a sense of nature, community (Schmelzkopf, 1995).
Conversely, Paul Kaldian elucidates further on
garden extinctions with his study on Istanbul’s
bostans (market gardens). In his comments, he
emphasized from a historical perspective, the
contribution of bostans in the cities landscape and
garden practice, the value attached to them by
the people and their contribution to the food and
employment needs of Istanbul (Kaldjian, 2004). As
such, there is a relationship between urban design,
food systems, and the ways in which the new
‘‘food-related’’ developments can contribute to
changing perceptions of the city (Pourias, et al.,
2016; Irvine, 2012).
Several studies have documented the cultural
influence of plant species in garden practice and
layouts (Davoren, et al., 2016; Nemudzudzanyi et
al. 2010; Graham & Connell 2006; Head et al.
2004). A study in Southern Africa revealed that
domestic gardens are influenced by culture,
consisting of indigenous knowledge structured
systems and processes, used in managing of plant
species with similar uses or functions
(Nemudzudzanyi et al. 2010). Similarly, immigrants
in Southern California designed their backyard
gardens to create distinctive cultural spaces, while
their front yard mostly mirrored typical Southern
Californian garden landscapes (Mazumdar &
Mazumdar 2012). However, Chinese migrants
settling in Melbourne, Australia prefer to maintain
the existing Australian garden as is to better fit in
with societal preferences (Levin, 2012).
3. Biodiversity in home Gardening
Biodiversity has been a hot topic for research in
garden ecology. Home gardens have been
recognized as sources of agricultural biodiversity’s,
maintained and enriched by farmers’ practices,
particularly for their plant and seed exchange
across the world (Aguilar-Støen, et al., 2009;
Clarke, et al., 2014). Also, home gardens are
complex multi-layer systems of trees, shrubs, and
annual vegetation around homesteads (Kumar &
Nair 2004; Mitchell, & Hanstad, 2004), designated
as universal landscapes across the world, with an
estimated 1536 % of residential land in the UK,
India, Africa, and China occupied by home
gardens (Huai, et al., 2011; Jaganmohan, et al.,
2012; Cilliers, et al., 2012). The variations in garden
biodiversity can be high, within a single urbanized
region, due to the socioeconomic or cultural status
of residents (Clarke, et al., 2014; Lubbe et al. 2011;
Cilliers et al. 2012; Jaganmohan et al. 2012). As
such, these ecosystems are gradually becoming a
key research focus in human-natural systems
(Kirkpatrick, et al., 2007), with an increased
scientific mandate for the classification of home
garden plant species abundance, plant diversity
in community, and ecosystem factors such as
functioning, and services (Huai, & Hamilton, 2009).
This is consistent with findings in home garden
research which focus on plant species
composition and diversity (Coomes, & Ban, 2004),
socioeconomic importance and contribution to
income generation (Méndez, et al., 2001), plant
uses and their role in subsistence economy and
natural resource management as in the case of
Mexico (Blanckaert, et al., 2004; Del Angel-Pérez,
& Mendoza, 2004), household food supply (Wezel
JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 2(2), 78-89 / 2018
Chukwuemeke Patrick Uwajeh , Ikenna Stephen Ezennia 83
and Bender 2003), sustainability of food systems
and the natural environment (Powell et al., 2015)
as well as increased demand for food abundance
and biodiversity (Clarke, & Jenerette, 2015). By
integrating ecological and cultural factors related
to garden biodiversity, Beumer, & Martens, (2015)
proposed a framework that aims to engage
citizens in experiencing and exploring biodiversity
and ecosystem services in their own domestic
outdoor spaces. In the same vain, studies have
suggested that, experiencing urban biodiversity
can potentially stop the loss of global biodiversity,
if people have direct contact with nature (Müller,
& Kelcey, 2010). It is easier to find space in urban
landscapes within private or semi-private outdoor
spaces such as gardens, patios, courtyards,
balconies and roof terraces. As such, a lot of
citizens may perhaps have their main experiences
with urban biodiversity in their own gardens
(Beumer, & Martens, 2015; Cilliers 2010; Millard
2010).
4. Ecological Perspectives on Landscape
Globally, a striking result of human population
increase, is the domestication of landscapes and
its ecosystems (Kareiva, et al., 2007). As urban
centers increasingly become the primary habitat
for humans, so does our landscapes become more
designed to suite human needs (Wu, 2008). It is
important to further develop Landscape ecology,
enough to be well integrated into other disciplines
(Chen, & Wu, 2009). Similarly, several studies posit
that landscape ecology should play a critically
important role in developing and maintaining
sustainable landscapes and different regions
(Forman, 1990; Musacchio, & Wu, 2004; Wu, 2006;
Naveh, 2007; Nassauer, & Opdam, 2008; Chen, &
Wu, 2009). Several researchers have proposed
conceptual frameworks towards landscape
ecology. For example, Laura Musacchios’,
conceptual framework which outlines the scope
and boundaries of cultivating deep care as a key
concept and ties it to scholarly research concepts
such as landscape perception, landscape
sustainability, resilience science, and ecosystem
services (Musacchio, 2013). In the same vein, a
study suggests four basic models of ideal
landscapes, for ecological planning in Mount
Lushan National Park as: (a) model of fairyland, (b)
model of artist, (c) model of statistic psychology
and (d) model of Feng-shui. The study further
iterated sub-models as follows: Kunlunshan model,
Penglai model, Pot Sky model, Xumishan model,
Peach Blossom Land model, and Endocentric
Settlements model, etc., due to the influence of
cultural dynamics, era change, geographical
environment, as well as other external factors (Xu,
et al., 2009). They further document that to
achieve a sustainable landscape architecture in
china, a proposed framework built on the
philosophy of Unity of Man with Nature and
Chinese landscape and architectural traditions as
well as integrating the principles and methods of
landscape ecology and sustainability science
must be adopted. See (Fig.1). Likewise, a design
strategy for the biological core of Perth in
southwestern Australia by Catharina Sack,
provides a relevant example of how novel
ecosystems can be designed. She suggested a
new approach to transforming current
development practices, using neo-baroque
design strategies, and how it can be used to
structure, create resilient and productive novel
ecosystems grounded in a critical and indigenous
aesthetic of botanical complexity (Sack, 2013).
Figure. 1. Conceptual framework for a sustainable Chinese landscape
architecture. Source (Xu, et al., 2009).
Table 1 presents the literature review findings from
selected studies on the landscape ecology in most
countries.
Table 1. Summary of the literature review and findings from selected studies on the socio-cultural and ecological perspectives in
landscape and gardens.
Socio-Cultural perspectives in landscape and Gardens
Author
country
Findings
Kaldjian,
(2004).
Istanbul.
Pourias, et al.,
(2016).
France.
Davoren, et
al., (2016).
North South
Africa.
WinklerPrins,
(2002).
Brazil.
Saldivar-
Tanaka, &
Krasny, (2004).
New York City.
Ecological perspectives in landscape and Gardens
Author
country
Xu, et al.,
(2009).
China.
Chen, & Wu,
(2009)
China.
Müller, &
Sukopp,
(2016)
Central
Europe.
Lindström,
(2010)
Japan.
Musacchio,
(2013)
USA.
Seburanga, &
Zhang, (2013).
Rwanda.
Sayers, (2003)
USA.
JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 2(2), 78-89 / 2018
Chukwuemeke Patrick Uwajeh , Ikenna Stephen Ezennia 85
5. Conclusion
It is important to further develop Landscape
ecology, enough to be well integrated into other
disciplines, as cities increasingly become the
primary habitat for humans, and landscapes
become more designed to suit human needs.
Therefore, the investigations into Landscape
ecology can broaden and consolidate its
transdisciplinary basis. Despite the strong public
interest in urban community gardens as sources of
healthy food, diverse ornamental plant species,
and sites for environmental stewardship, there is
minimal research on the ecological characteristics
affecting food production in these gardens and
gardeners planting and management practices,
especially in developing countries. Gardens can
help to reintroduce nature into the city and
participation in urban gardening experiences can
allow urban dwellers to reconnect emotionally,
spiritually and psychologically with plants, and soil.
Asides the potentials community gardens have, to
breathe life into vacant urban lots, and the
provision of healthy local food, they can also
transform the community itself through ecological,
educational, social, and economic opportunities.
Thus, community gardens contribute to a
biologically diverse urban ecosystem and provide
valued ecosystem services in food insecure
regions. A bridge from ecosystem research will
serve as suitable starting point for landscape
research, to human ecology and the humanities in
general, by approximation of selected facts and
findings. Due to years of adaption by plant species
to landscapes, altering their features, a biocultural
approach is probably best suited to understand
and manage most of the biodiversity today
existing at the landscape level. Furthermore, it is
imperative that garden planning and placement
by local government authorities should favor
ethnic food production for impoverished minority
communities. Finally, it is very important to
continually evaluate the roles which society,
ecology, and culture play in cities and landscape
planning due to the dynamic nature of culture.
6. Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank Prof. Dr. Naciye
Doratli for her kind assistance during the
preparation of this manuscript as part of a PhD
course taken under her and the insightful
comments that contributed significantly to the
article.
Acknowledgments
This research did not receive any specific grant
from funding agencies in the public, commercial,
or non-for-profit sectors.
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... Urban gardening experiences can help people reconnect with plants and soil emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Cultural and ecological aspects affect the reclaiming and formation of communities besides establishing a personal space to thrive -indicating the union of cross-cutting principles, such as design and culture, with conserving the urban environment [35]. Community gardening is one of the ways to revitalize urban surroundings, and it offers a solution to a variety of issues ranging from food security to safety and community cohesiveness. ...
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Omani home-gardens are jeopardized by the poor agronomic practices and unqualified gardeners. This study aimed to find: (i) gardening characteristics, practices and gardener’s perception to irrigation water management, soil preparation-fertility, (ii) determinants of use of water saving methods (WSM), and (iii) reasons for garden adoption. A questionnaire was distributed and 125 responses received from residents of individual houses. Substantial differences were detected in garden composition and diversity of plants (ornamentals, lawn grass, crops and medicinal plants). Cultivation in ground and in pots with organic fertilizers is practiced. Educational level, garden size, cultivation of ornamental plants and vegetables, increasing water bill, and willingness to purchase irrigation tools were significant positive determinants in using WSM. The age of homeowners, type of plants (grass and fruits), and status of the person taking care of the garden were negative determinants. The top gardening motives were: aesthetic, shading, joy of hobby, source for food, physical exercise and protecting environment. The top five reasons for non-gardening were: pavement of the yard (commonly practiced by local building designers), lack of free land (construction of the house occupied most of the possessed urban plot), adverse weather, high water bill and lack of knowledge about gardening. Our results set a foundation for future studies on better planning and management of urban green areas and associated water resources in Oman and the neighboring Gulf countries.
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