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Making Space for Disorder in the Garden: Developing Biophilia to Conciliate Aesthetics and Biodiversity

  • Mathilde Riboulot-Chetrit
  • Laurent Simon
  • Richard Raymond
Chapter
Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)

Abstract

As part of the current wave of environmental awareness, inhabitants in the heart of the Paris agglomeration are increasingly being made aware of pro-biodiversity gardening techniques. But can certain practices such as keeping spontaneous vegetation in one’s garden be reconciled with the type of relationship inhabitants have with—and more specifically their representations of—this space? Inhabitants develop a multifaceted relationship with their gardens in which nature (in its broadest sense), visual order and aesthetics occupy a central role. The functions and usages attributed to the garden condition gardening practices whereby inhabitant-gardeners demand regular upkeep of these spaces so as to keep nature “in order”. Within these multidimensional relationships, we categorise those respondents who base their interest in gardens around a specific focus on the living world as “biophiles”. Gardens in the heart of the Parisian agglomeration may therefore appear to be spaces that favour interaction between inhabitants and certain entities that they perceive from the living world. Also, these individuals have a less orderly and controlled conception of vegetation in their gardens than the other people interviewed. “Biophiles” are therefore more tolerant of spontaneous vegetation than other individuals because this laissez-faire attitude fits both with their relationship to their garden and their own aesthetic representation of this space. This means that domestic gardens can support a specific relationship with ordinary biodiversity underpinned by gardening practices that are more in phase with living matter.

Keywords

Private garden Biophilia Spontaneous vegetation Biodiversity Aesthetic 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathilde Riboulot-Chetrit
    • 1
  • Laurent Simon
    • 1
  • Richard Raymond
    • 2
  1. 1.LADYSS UMR 7533Panthéon-Sorbonne UniversityParisFrance
  2. 2.LADYSS UMR 7533, associated with Eco-Anthropology and Ethnobiology UMR 7206CNRSParisFrance

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