Urban agriculture on the move in Paris: The routes of temporary gardening in the neoliberal city

Based on the extended case study of urban agriculture in Paris and its suburbs, this article illustrates the shift in land regulation and ownership structures that follows the neoliberalization of the urban economy and its impact on the dynamics of urban agriculture initiatives. Our findings highlight the fact that as urban agriculture struggles to find permanent locations, temporary open spaces are made available by urban regeneration processes. Some initiatives have come to terms with this precarity of land access and have adapted to it by taking advantage of the plant and animal properties that allow temporary and nomadic farming and relocation of gardens. This has led to the burgeoning of new subtypes of urban agriculture initiatives over the past decade. Our case study of shared gardens shows that the revival of urban farming and gardening is not due to the resurgence of permanent land access that prevailed for traditional family gardens establishment but to the re- negotiation of land access temporality institutionalised by municipal policy. It illustrates a new form of public action where “temporary gardened urbanism” prevails and reflects the commoditization of urban rhythms and spaces, and ultimately leads to the displacement of gardens, without guaranteeing the survival of the gardeners’ community. But the case of Paris and its suburbs also provide a good case to study how inhabitants’ initiatives can grow in the urban fabric outside the national allotment policy frame, creating new temporary places and nomadic activities that can outlast the timeframe imposed by neoliberal temporary urbanism.

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