• Jeff Hou at Summer School as School 2021
Jeffrey Hou: Urban Community Gardens as Multimodal Social Spaces
Jeff Hou at Summer School as School 2021
Thursday, August 12, 2021, 19:00
Venue: Boxing Club

Jeffrey Hou: Urban Community Gardens as Multimodal Social Spaces

Urban gardening has become a worldwide movement in recent years. Through a review of cases in Seattle, USA, and elsewhere in the world, this talk examines urban community gardens in terms of their multiple benefits and modalities, specifically as a convivial space, a cultural space, an inclusive space, a restorative space, a democratic space, and a resilient space. As convivial spaces, urban gardens build and nurture the agency of individuals as well as social ties in a community. As inclusive, cultural spaces, urban gardens can function as a place for cross-cultural learning and understanding and building of connections across social and cultural divides. As restorative spaces, urban gardens contribute to individual and community health and well-being. As democratic spaces, urban gardens serve as a vehicle to engage individuals and communities in efforts toward other social and environmental initiatives. As resilient spaces, urban gardens function as social safety nets and provide for the community in a time of calamity and struggles. Through these different expressions and opportunities for active engagement by communities and citizens, the chapter argues that urban gardening can serve as a model for other urban greening strategies to incorporate considerations for multiple social, cultural, and economic goals.

Biography (University of Washington, Seattle)

Jeffrey Hou, Ph.D., is Professor of Landscape Architecture and director of the Urban Commons Lab at the University of Washington, Seattle. His work focuses on public space, democracy, community design, and civic engagement. In a career that spans the Pacific, Hou has worked with indigenous tribes, farmers, and fishers in Taiwan, neighborhood residents in Japan, villagers in China, and inner-city immigrant youths and elders in North American cities, on projects ranging from conservation of wildlife habitats to design of urban open space. He has written extensively on the agency of citizens and communities in shaping the built environments, with collaborative publications including Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla Urbanism and the Remaking of Contemporary Cities (2010) and Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity (2017). He is a co-founder of the Pacific Rim Community Design Network and a City of Vienna Visiting Professor at TU Wien in 2013-2014.