Autonomy, Erasure, and Persistence in the Urban Gardening Commons

Franklin Ginn, Eduardo Ascensão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

5 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Collective gardening spaces have existed across Lisbon, Portugal for decades. This article attends to the makeshift natures made by black migrants from Portugal's former colonies, and the racial urban geography thrown into relief by the differing fortunes of white Portuguese community gardening spaces. Conceptualising urban gardens as commons-in-the-making, we explore subaltern urbanism and the emergence of autonomous gardening commons on the one hand, and the state erasure, overwriting or construction of top-down commons on the other. While showing that urban gardening forges commons of varying persistence, we also demonstrate the ways through which the commons are always closely entwined with processes of enclosure. We further argue that urban gardening commons are divergent and cannot be judged against any abstract ideal of the commons. In conclusion, we suggest that urban gardening commons do not have a “common” in common.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)929-952
Number of pages24
Issue number4
Early online date2 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Environmental Humanities


  • commons
  • community gardens
  • Lisbon
  • Portugal
  • subaltern urbanism
  • urban agriculture

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Autonomy, Erasure, and Persistence in the Urban Gardening Commons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this