Diversity and resilience
Today’s cities face the challenge of increasing social inclusivity. There is a need to reinvent interrelations among citizens and recognise cultural diversity. New modes of city management have to find creative ways of making cities more sustainable, by acknowledging different groups and individuals, as well as fostering cultural encounters in cities. Urban green spaces have an essential role in nurturing these encounters; hence the spatial character of a city plays an important role in improving resilience. By promoting self-organisation and the capacity for learning and adaptation, diversity is therefore seen as a key characteristic to deal with social change and times of crises.
The types of collectively managed urban green spaces
Civic engagement in green space management has fostered an immense institutional diversity, fostering ownership and increasing participation in community life. Public-access community gardens (PAC-gardens) are in public ownership, open for anyone interested in learning to garden. PAC-gardens bring people together around certain problems that may arise in local neighbourhoods as well as bringing people with different ethnic backgrounds together. Another example of collective green space management is community gardening, which depends upon collaborative efforts of a diverse set of individuals and/or interest groups. Community gardens have been shown to hold several benefits, such as positive place making in cities, community empowerment, social integration, health benefits and increase of property values. They also provide opportunities for youth to become more skilled as members of a civic ecology. A third example is allotment gardening, which contains multiple garden plots of equal size, often on municipally owned land. These gardens play a crucial role in preserving collective memories of how to grow food in urban settings.
The role of public participation in resilience
UGCs appear as important elements of a renewal phase when emerging problems need to be resolved. It can provide temporary solution to socio-economic change, shrinking population, and lack of green spaces in densely built areas. The authors conclude that broader participation in urban green commons is more likely to succeed when a diversity of institutional options exists for their arrangement in a city. Such diversity provides a better matching of different individuals' preferences and motives for participation. Hence, policy makers and planners should stimulate the self-emergence of different types of UGCs, and support their evolvement in urban areas through creating institutional space.