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Community gardens or vacant lots? Rethinking the attractiveness and seasonality of green land uses in distressed neighborhoods

Morckel, Victoria
Urban forestry & urban greening 2015 v.14 no.3 pp. 714-721
cities, community gardens, guidelines, issues and policy, land use
Legacy cities are increasingly including green land uses in their master plans. Therefore, it is important for city planners and policy makers to understand the factors that influence the attractiveness of green spaces. The purpose of this study was to empirically compare the perceived attractiveness of community gardens against that of vacant lots in each of four seasons, as well as to determine the features of community gardens that contribute to their attractiveness. The findings revealed that community gardens were perceived as more attractive than vacant lots and that the level of perceived attractiveness varied by season. More importantly, regardless of season or physical features, the level of maintenance of a green space was shown to have the largest influence on its attractiveness. The author concludes that, rather than create design guidelines for green land uses, city planners and policy makers may find it more effective to implement maintenance standards and proactive code enforcement.