Bringing nature into private urban housing : Environmental, social and food connections for urban resilience Article - Décembre 2022

Gervaise Debucquet, Allan Maignant, Anne-Laure Laroche, Caroline Widehem, Philippe Morel, Philippe Morel

Gervaise Debucquet, Allan Maignant, Anne-Laure Laroche, Caroline Widehem, Philippe Morel, Philippe Morel, « Bringing nature into private urban housing : Environmental, social and food connections for urban resilience  », Cities, décembre 2022. ISSN 0264-2751

Abstract

Ongoing confinement for millions of urban citizens due to the Covid-19 pandemic has raised ecological consciousness, changed food habits and questioned the relationship urban dwellers have with nature. There is more interest in bringing plants into urban homes and in sustainable food sources, but no research have studied the relationships between food behaviours and plant-care activities. To address this gap and explore urban citizens’ nature relatedness through the greening of private areas, we conducted a national survey of French, young urban citizens (n = 1000), who are more committed to ‘edible’ cities than older generations but have the lowest rate of plant purchasers. A quantitative approach reveals the prevalence of aesthetic/hedonistic expectations for plants in private housing but also demonstrates contrasting perceptions of tasks for plant maintaining and unequal valuation of social issues around plants. We discuss continuities between environmental awareness, commitment to sustainable food and natural/social uses of plants and argue that urban planning processes should address potential synergies for more integrative resilience. Community building around green areas, urban agriculture or collective gardens, in cities, can have ripple effects towards the greening of private housing. Lastly, the multi-disciplinary approach bridging psychosociology and urban studies can inspire multi-scalar urban planning.

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