Indicators to support healthy urban gardening in urban management.
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TitleIndicators to support healthy urban gardening in urban management.
Published inSci Total Environ 2018; 621:863-71
PubliekssamenvattingUrban gardening is part of a trend towards more parks and green areas in cities, consumption of organic, locally grown products, and a closer relationship with one's own living environment. Our literature review shows that urban gardens provide opportunities for physical activity and allow people to consume homegrown fruit and vegetables. Urban gardens may also reduce stress levels of gardeners and improve social cohesion. In this way, they can help to prevent health problems. Good quality of urban soil and the functioning of soil ecosystems are indispensable prerequisites for these. We developed a framework that shows how ecosystem health and human health are interconnected in urban gardening, by placing it in the context of urban green space management and valuation. This study yields a set of indicators, which can be used to assess soil ecosystem services and health impacts. They may provide a basis for the evolving dialogue in decision-making processes and partnership activities in urban management. Recognizing the potential effects and discussing what is important to whom, might be enough to find synergies. Importantly, the initiators of urban gardens are often citizens, who seek support from other stakeholders. The social network established by gardens may contribute to health-enabling, cohesive communities involved with their living environment. To maximize health benefits, it is useful to make the urban gardens accessible to many people. This study suggests that urban gardens deserve a position in urban green space management as they may help to address societal challenges like urbanization, health and well-being in aging populations and climate adaptation.
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