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Cultivating Well-Being: A study on Community Gardening and Health in Berlin and Paris
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Health and Society. (Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Health and Society)
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper reports experiences of health and well-being common to actors in community gardens in Berlin and Paris. Community gardening has become an ever growing phenomenon since the 1990s, and to a larger extend since 2000 in western European cities. Despite the promising research from the US that has shown that community gardens have a potential for health promotion, there is a dearth of evidence from Europe. This study tries to fill this gap and maps the potential of community gardens for health and well-being as explained and experienced by the gardeners.

The effect of community garden projects on human health and well-being cannot be reduced to the effect of nature on health alone. This study shows that there are at least two other major mechanisms at play, if we want to understand the phenomenon or evaluate its effects, namely the effects of community and 'free and open spaces'. Gardeners report health-related experiences with green space, such as stress relief and feeling of calm and vitality and increased well-being through sensual experiences and observing nature. Furthermore the garden projects open up a social space, which for many gardeners creates experiences of health through regular social contact, experiences of joy of sharing and having activities together. Furthermore, the community garden project was proposed to create a context and opportunities for flow, creativity and self-efficacy if it is a free and open space. However, not all experiences on well-being in CGPs are postive, and to all these spaces and their effects there are also certain limitations and conditions.

Moreover, this study makes a theoretical contribution to the concept of health and well-being on the basis of the fuzziness around the concept of health encountered in the field. I propose that a holistic concept of health might be most suitable to describe health related to bottom-up community action like community gardens. To assess the effects of such projects in terms of well-being, this concepts should be dissentagled into the concept of health and happiness, whereas happiness in turn relates not only to life satisfaction but also to eudaimonian happiness related to meaning and doing good. Although this research project could not be comprehensive enough to provide all necessary evidence to evaluate health effects of community gardens, we believe that it provides viable paths for investigations into community driven health promotion and emerging healthy settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 89 p.
Keyword [en]
Community Gardens; Berlin; Paris; well-being; health; happiness; indigenous theories of determinants of health
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-86589ISRN: LiU-IMH/DHWP-D-12/002--SEOAI: diva2:579216
Subject / course
Dynamics of Health and Welfare Phoenix EM
2012-09-03, 10:00 (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-02-07 Created: 2012-12-19 Last updated: 2013-02-07Bibliographically approved

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Health and Society
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and EpidemiologySocial Sciences InterdisciplinaryPhilosophy

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