A Place to Breathe in the Dense City: Community Gardening and Participatory Urbanism in Paris

Carrie Ann Benjamin


Community gardens have emerged in Paris as a way to create green spaces
in the city’s densely populated working-class neighbourhoods. One such garden is the Goutte Verte,
a temporary, nomadic community garden that, with the agreement of the city and its developers, occupies
vacant lots awaiting the construction of new-build social housing. The continued existence of the Goutte
Verte is placed in opposition to much-needed housing in the city, with poor, unemployed, and middle-class
gardeners alike caught between a desire for green space and a demand for comfortable housing. Drawing
on participant observation and interviews conducted in 2013–14 and 2019, I demonstrate how community
gardens act as a material alternative to urban planning and governance that often fail to account for a right
to a “place to breathe” in the city – a situation that is increasingly fraught as city planners treat new
construction as the primary solution for affordable housing in Paris.

Klíčová slova

urban, community gardens, housing, green space, Paris

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