We asked an association of dog owners who had entrusted the public park Nuccitelli Persiani to free a piece of land in order to create a shared community garden for common disposal. The little park is in a crowded square in the Pigneto neighbourhood and everybody can take care of the garden, harvest the vegetables and participate in any kind of activity/action related to the garden.
There is no formal association, nor a responsible committee. All the decisions are taken by email or Facebook communication in a collective way. The implementation of the activities is also done collectively.
Numerous people that play an active part in taking care of the garden,
Numerous contacts both in the neighborhood and on the internet,
The fact that the inhabitants of the neighborhood take care of the plants
The care and the maintenance of the space
Some acts of vandalism or negligence,
Bad state of health of the plants.
The realization and the maintenance of an urban shared garden in a crowded square in the Pigneto neighbourhood represents a good metaphor of public space participatory management: through the activity of gardening we have activated a public space with free and open involvement, addressed to the entire neighbourhood. Indeed, a garden requires a continuous maintenance, the fact that our garden is in an open public place and everybody can benefit of its vegetables develops consciousness in the community to the possibility to act directly in the public space, modify it, take care of it by respecting its public function. In this way the public place becomes the place of each and everybody.
The most important result has been the participation of the neighbourhood. The initiative was taken by a person that using the web as a means for promotion involved several persons in the activities. Next people started to participate in an active way by establishing an open and shared work method: this has contributed to make the community aware of the possibility to act from the bottom for the common and public environment. The practice of gardening has favoured the establishment of a network of social relationships, built a common identity and facilitated experience sharing: these elements create the structure of a liveable, lively and dense neighbourhood in which the inhabitants can recognise themselves.
The shared gardening with organic and biological methods has developed the reflection about a sustainable approach regarding food production and nutrition in general, both in people that play an active part in the garden and in the “observers” of the activities, the neighbourhood inhabitants.
Moreover, through the urban garden, this small tool, people reflect on the common space concept and on the “strange” fact that vegetables are to the disposal of all.
At the end of March some inhabitants of the neighbourhood planted tomatoes in the garden and another urban garden gave us some plants as a present.