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Farmers, not gardeners: The making of environmentally just spaces in Accra

Allen, A; Apsan Frediani, A; (2013) Farmers, not gardeners: The making of environmentally just spaces in Accra. City , 17 (3) 365 - 381. 10.1080/13604813.2013.796620. Green open access


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Sites of urban agriculture are often contested urban open spaces. In the current dominant ideal of the 'competitive' and 'global' city, little recognition is given to the potential benefits of urban agriculture, beyond beautification, subsistence or therapeutic purposes. In this context, urban agriculture is often viewed as an activity performed by 'gardeners', either contributing to individual well-being or reducing the costs of maintenance of public spaces. A less 'tolerant' perspective perceives such 'gardeners' as squatters inhibiting cities' productivity. By contrast, urban agriculture enthusiasts advocate the recognition of the right to farm in the city as an essential condition for either food security or food sovereignty. This paper argues that urban agriculture can also be interpreted as a means to claim, nurture and propagate alternative views on spatial justice, place and citizenship-making, defying the maldistributional and misrecognition patterns that typically produce and reproduce unequal urban geographies. Drawing from a four-year research collaboration in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) undertaken by the authors at the Development Planning Unit (DPU) with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), People's Dialogue and the Ghana Federation of the Urban Poor, the analysis examines the trajectories of female and male farmers working under different and fast-changing land tenure systems across the Accra-Ashaiman corridor. Adopting an environmental justice perspective, the analysis explores the extent to which urban agriculture might constitute a practice through which marginalised groups might actively claim spaces of daily sociability and political articulation within the city. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Type: Article
Title: Farmers, not gardeners: The making of environmentally just spaces in Accra
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13604813.2013.796620
Publisher version: http:dx.doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2013.796620
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1362425
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