Community gardening and social cohesion: different designs, different motivations

E.J. Veen*, B.B. Bock, W. Van den Berg, A.J. Visser, J.S.C. Wiskerke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Community gardens vary in several ways: they are cultivated by different kinds of communities in various locations, entail individual or communal plots and the extent of active participation (e.g. gardening) differs. In this paper, we study seven community gardens with varying organisational designs and objectives, and investigate the extent to which these influence the enhancement of social cohesion. We also take into account to what extent differences in motivation among community gardeners matter. Despite these differences in motivation, however, we find that in all of the cases studied, people talk to and get to know others, and mutual help is widespread. We, therefore, conclude that community gardens contribute to the development of social cohesion – even if people are not particularly driven by social motivations. Moreover, while participants who are motivated by the social aspects of gardening naturally show a higher level of appreciation for them, these social aspects also bring added value for those participants who are motivated primarily by growing vegetables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1287
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Community gardening
  • interest-based
  • motivations
  • place-based
  • social cohesion


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