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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.

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The Socio-cultural and ecological perspectives on landscape and gardening in Urban Environment: A narrative review *Ph.D. CandidatePATRICK CHUKWUEMEKE UWAJEH 1andPh.D. CandidateIKENNA STEPHEN EZENNIA 2 1Department of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, North Cyprus via Mersin10, Turkey 2Department of Architecture, NnamdiAzikiwe University, Awka, PMB 5025, Anambra State, Nigeria E mail:uwajehpatrick@gmail.com, E mail: Is.ezennia@unizik.edu.ng 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. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.4673 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 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., 2016). 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., 2016; 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.

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The Socio-cultural and ecological perspectives on landscape and gardening in Urban Environment: A narrative review *Ph.D. CandidatePATRICK CHUKWUEMEKE UWAJEH 1andPh.D. CandidateIKENNA STEPHEN EZENNIA 2 1Department of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, North Cyprus via Mersin10, Turkey 2Department of Architecture, NnamdiAzikiwe University, Awka, PMB 5025, Anambra State, Nigeria E mail:uwajehpatrick@gmail.com, E mail: Is.ezennia@unizik.edu.ng 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. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.4673 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 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., 2016). 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., 2016; 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.

Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs
Girne American University

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This page is a summary of: The Socio-Cultural and Ecological Perspectives on Landscape and Gardening in Urban Environment: A Narrative Review, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, March 2018, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs (JCUA), DOI: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.4673.
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