Urban greens and sustainable land policy management (case study in Warsaw)

Open access

Urban greens and sustainable land policy management (case study in Warsaw)

This paper examines the changes of meaning of public greens in the contemporary urban landscape. Although the value and preservation of green areas have become important land use policy topics, still little attention is paid to family gardens and their tenants. As a part of tradition and history, allotments have been present on the European landscape for over one hundred years. At first, they were located in the suburbs during the nineteenth century, scattered on the fringes of towns. However, as the gardens are now located on sites found close to city centres, they have recently come under the threat of being overtaken by developers. In Poland, local authorities are responsible by law for the provision and management of allotments, yet there are usually long waiting lists, at least several years in Warsaw. If there is shortage of allotments why not create more ‘family gardens’? What role do allotments play in official spatial planning policy? What is the statistical picture of allotments in Poland? This paper not only examines the tradition of urban allotments and their contemporary picture as a public green space, it juxtaposes two sub-themes: the story of allotment gardens in Poland and the story of a single Warsaw allotment site, where our field studies were carried out. The empirical results of our field surveys show that urban inhabitants are very interested in gardening. First, these gardens represent important source of recreational activity to males and females, regardless of their age and social status. Second, these gardens represent urban and family tradition, as contemporary tenants are often representatives of the third or even the fourth generation of the users of a particular plot. Third, for thousands of low-income families, allotments are both essential as a source of fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) and also as an opportunity to enjoy holidays free of charge. All in all our research results suggest that allotment gardens in the contemporary built environment not only improve the urban climate but also play an important role in strengthening family and community connections. Moreover, by providing the opportunity for various recreational, outdoor activities such as gardening, sports and games considerably help to promote ‘healthy life style’. This paper is based on the author’s field experience and on empirical studies, both of which strongly support the notion that contemporary urban allotments play a crucial role in town green systems and provide a significant contribution to life quality of urban inhabitants, especially for the elderly and low income citizens. It seems that a growing interest in urban ecology and sustainable planning policy should lead to the idea of saving allotments (along with other urban green spaces). The paper concludes that, when considering the future of urban allotments, the main problems can be seen in the present institutional context of urban planning policy, land use concepts, and attitudes of the local authorities towards allotments. The allotments, which often occupy the city’s prime locations, are accused of limiting urban development possibilities and are criticised for ugliness and poor management. However, as it seems, as the leisure value of allotments has increased in recent decades, their role in urban space, new plot layouts and garden design should consequently be revised.

Act of 7 July 1994 on building (with later amendments). In Polish. Dziennik Ustaw No 15 of 1999 item 139, Polish Parliament, Warsaw.

Act of 27 March 2003 on spatial planning and organization (with later amendments). In Polish. Dziennik Ustaw No 80 of 2003, item 717, Polish Parliament, Warsaw.

Act of 23 July 2003 on historic monuments protection (with later amendments). In Polish. Dziennik Ustaw No 162 of 2003, item 1565, Polish Parliament, Warsaw.

Act of 8 July 2005 on Family Allotment Gardens ‘ROD’ (with later amendments). In Polish. Dziennik Ustaw No 169 of 2005, item 1445, Polish Parliament, Warsaw.

Bellows A. (2004). One Hundred Years of Allotment Gardens in Poland. Food and Foodways 12(4), 247-276. Doi 10.1080/07409710490893793.

Central Statistic Office (2008). Statistic Yearbook Warsaw 2007. Warsaw: GUS.

Clayden P. (2002). The Law of Allotments. Crayford: Shaw and Sons.

Crouch D. (1997). English Allotments Survey [research report]. Anglia Polytechnic University & National Society for Allotment and Leisure Gardeners.

Crouch D. & Ward C. (2007). The Allotment: Its Landscape and Culture (5th ed.). London: Faber & Faber.

Czerwieniec M. & Lewińska J. (1996). Urban Greens. Warsaw: Institute of Physical Planning and Municipal Economy.

Davies N. (1996). Europe - A history. Oxford University Press.

Environmental Protection Act of 27 April 2001 (with later amendments). In Polish. Dziennik Ustaw No 62 of 2001, item 627, Polish Parliament, Warsaw.

Finn M., Elliott-White M. & Walton M. (2000). Tourism and Leisure Research Methods: Data collection, analysis and interpretation. London: Pearson-Longman.

Groening G. (2005). The World of Small Urban Gardens. Chronica Horticulturae 45(2), 22-25.

Gutry-Korycka M. (2005). Urban Sprawl in Warsaw Agglomeration, Warsaw: Warsaw University Press.

Hyde M. (1998). City Fields, Country Gardens: Allotments Essays. Nottingham: Five Leaves Publications.

Kuropatwińska M. (1928). Ogrody działkowe a kultura miasta. Warsaw: Polski Związek Działkowców.

Mogiła – Lisowska J. (2010). Rekreacyjna aktywność Polaków – uwarunkowania i stylu czestnictwa. Warsaw: Joseph Pilsudski Academy of Physical Education.

Pawlikowska-Piechotka A. (2009). Ogrody działkowe w zrównoważonej przestrzeni współczesnego miasta. Problemy Ekologii 13(2), 106-110.

Pawlikowska-Piechotka A. (2010). Tradycja ogrodów działkowych w Polsce. Gdynia: Novae Res.

Polski Zwiazek Dzialkowców (2008). Biuletyn Polskiego Związku Działkowców 185(9), 11-14.

Polski Zwiazek Dzialkowców (2010). Biuletyn Polskiego Związku Działkowców 2009-2010.

Sugiyama, T. & Ward-Thompson, C. (2007). Measuring the quality of the outdoor environment relevant to older people’s lives. In Ward-Thompson, C., ed., Open Space – People Space (pp. 153-162). London: Taylor & Francis.

Viljoen A. (2005). Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes-Designing Sustainable Cities. Oxford: Architectural Press.

Warsaw Capital City Office (1993). Warsaw Physical Development, Land Development. Warsaw: Department of Warsaw Capital City Office.

Warsaw Municipal Office & Biuro Planowania i Rozwoju Warszawy (1992). Physical Warsaw Development Master Plan, Ratified by the District Council in September 1993, (unpublished). Warsaw.

Warsaw Municipal Office & Biuro Planowania i Rozwoju Warszawy) (1998). Strategy of Warsaw Development till 2010, (unpublished), Warsaw.

Warsaw Municipal Office & Biuro Planowania i Rozwoju Warszawy) (2004). Strategy of Warsaw Development (unpublished). Warsaw.

Warsaw Municipal Office (2007). Strategy of Warsaw Development till 2020, (unpublished). Warsaw.

Worpole K. (2007). The health of people in the highest law: public health, public policy and green space. In Ward-Thompson C., ed., Public space – open space (pp.11-23), New York: Taylor & Francis.

European Countryside

The Journal of Mendel University in Brno

Journal Information


CiteScore 2017: 0.78

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.265
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.607

Cited By

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 72 72 13
PDF Downloads 24 24 8