Democratizing the Green City

At the Grassroots: Urban Gardening as Politics

Archival photo of Austrian gardeners

Cities have long been vilified as unhealthy, crime-infested, and chaotic – or, as Thomas Jefferson once described them, “pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man.”  Parklands and gardens, green-spaces and fire-escape flower beds are viewed as mitigators of urban malaise, making livable and attractive the “unnatural” environments of cities.  Yet gardens are not neutral territories.  They advance political agendas and critique others.  They can be sites of resistance, as well as tools of social control.  This panel explores the politics of the urban garden, past and present, in American, German, and Austrian contexts.  It accompanies the Deutsches Haus exhibit,”Urban Agriculture and Modern Housing in Austria: Health, Food, and Labor in the Cooperative Settlement, 1903-1933,” curated by Sophie Hochhäusl and on view from April 20 to May 10, 2015.

Note: The exhibit will open at 6:30pm; the panel will start at 7pm.


Sophie Hochhäusl, History of Architecture and Urbanism, Cornell University

Andrew Newman, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Wayne State University

William LoSasso, Executive Director, La Plaza Cultural Community Garden

Hillary Angelo, Sociology, NYU (moderator)


This event is sponsored by Deutsches Haus at NYU and co-sponsored by the Urban Democracy Lab.


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