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The Pedagogical Life of Edible Verge Gardens in Sydney: Urban Agriculture for the Urban Food Imaginary.

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Title:The Pedagogical Life of Edible Verge Gardens in Sydney: Urban Agriculture for the Urban Food Imaginary.
Authors:Hsu, Jesse P.
Contributors:Urban and Regional Planning (department)
Date Issued:May 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Re-integrating agriculture into the city is an essential task of planning for urban
food systems. Despite efforts to stimulate the expansion of urban agriculture (UA) in
cities, it remains a secondary concern for many local governments and residents. One
critical barrier in establishing UA as a vital infrastructure in cities is that the vision of an
agriculture-infused city not being shared with the wider culture. The struggle over UA’s
appropriateness can be viewed as a clash between differing spatial and material
expectations of the city food system, or urban food imaginaries. Food systems research
suggests that UA is often viewed as regressive, ‘out of place’, and better as a temporary
land placeholder. As a form of visual culture, UA spaces are ‘pedagogical’ or have agency
to mediate discourse and practices and therefore potentially influence urban food
This dissertation explores how UA spaces may act as ‘public pedagogy’ and
potentially contribute to shift the urban food imaginary through the case study of edible
verge gardens in Sydney, Australia. I employ a three-part approach to guide this inquiry.
First, I formulate a theoretical model for understanding UA spaces with respect to public
pedagogy and the urban food imaginary, applying it towards a single verge garden case.
Second, I focus on the representation frame of public pedagogy, utilizing multimodal
discourse analysis (MDA) and walking ethnography to over a hundred gardens to
understand the pedagogic potential of the verge garden form. Third, I focus on the social
practice frame of public pedagogy to understand the extent to which gardens enable foodoriented
practices and the dynamics undergirding maintenance of those practices,
considering qualitative data that includes 29 in-depth interviews with gardeners, local
council staff, food movement leaders, and residents; and four months of diary entries by
four best-case garden owners. I propose policy interventions targeting the dynamics of
verge garden practice that can guide the development of gardens that are more aesthetic,
productive, and community-oriented. Findings elucidate the tremendous potential of verge
gardens to influence urban food imaginaries, but only if design consideration is given to
overcoming the hostile growing environment of the footpath.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Urban and Regional Planning

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