Community Gardens and Their Potential for Urban Biodiversity

  • Francesca Di Pietro
  • Lotfi Mehdi
  • Marion Brun
  • Céline Tanguay
Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)


The aim of this research was to explore the potentialities of community gardens—a specific type of urban garden—in terms of urban biodiversity and ecological continuity in the city. We considered the three main scales of organisation of urban ecosystems: local individual habitat, intermediate urban landscape and the larger scale encompassing the entire urban area. The study site within the urban agglomeration of Tours currently contains 29 clusters of community gardens, mainly situated in three central municipalities of the urban area; 12% of the community gardens have disappeared over the last ten years due to residential and industrial urban development. Analysis of land tenure and morphological characteristics of the gardens highlighted that alongside a gradient of very varied gardens, two groups of community gardens can be identified, one more precarious situated on building land, the other established on non-building land in floodable areas, and on road and railway easements. Indeed, at the agglomeration scale half of the community gardens are located in high flood hazard areas and about a third are situated less than 100 m from a railway line or main road network. A measure of the potential ecological continuity of the urban green corridor provided by community gardens compared to urban green spaces shows that the loss of ecological continuity in the event of urbanisation of community gardens would be considerable. Relegated by urban pressure to areas of non-building land, some community gardens could play the role of a discontinuous ecological corridor due to their location along linear axes within the city: water courses, main roads and railway lines. However, the gardening techniques practised there can limit their capacity to contribute to plant diversity in the city.


Community gardens Urban wasteland Urban biodiversity Ecological continuity Urban green infrastructure 



We would like to thank S. Glatron and K. Muramatsu for their constructive comments on the preceding version of this manuscript. We are very grateful to M. Deperrois, C. Legeay, A. Galloyer, J. Le Borgne, A-C. Josse, A-L. Mesnier, F. Joutel and O. Vezian for their help with fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Di Pietro
    • 1
  • Lotfi Mehdi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marion Brun
    • 1
  • Céline Tanguay
    • 1
  1. 1.CITERES UMR 7324University F. RabelaisToursFrance
  2. 2.UMR LiveStrasbourgFrance

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