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International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Published by Michigan State University

Official publication of the Research Committee on Sociology of Agriculture and Food (RC-40)
of the International Sociological Association (ISA)

Editors: Raymond Jussaume, Claire Marris and Katerina Psarikidou

Frequency: 3 issues per year 
ISSN: 0798-1759

Volume 24, Issue 3 (2018)

Factors for Effectiveness of Social Innovations in Urban Agriculture                                                                        377-392

Authors: Dona Pickard

Affiliations: Institute for the Study of Societies and knowledge, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Abstract            PDF

The paper offers an analysis of an urban agriculture case in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, where the municipality is clearing more than 2 hectares of allotments that have been tolerated on public land for more than 30 years in order to extend the neighbouring park, without involving the evicted allotment users in a discussion about the future of urban agriculture. At the same time, a number of non-governmental organizations are promoting urban agriculture practices as a social innovation that can alleviate pressing urban problems such as poverty and social exclusion. Using two theoretical viewpoints, the text presents this case as an example of the barriers that hinder a social practice that displays all the prerequisites to fully empower its members and be implemented as a meaningful social innovation. The first viewpoint is based on the writings of Moulaert and co-authors, and explores the factors that make social innovations capable of changing social relations in regard to governance, thus enabling satisfaction of the needs and increasing the level of participation of deprived groups in society by boosting the civic capability to access required resources (Moulaert et al, 2005). The second viewpoint gives grounds for analysing public space as a common good that exists in three interrelated but distinct forms: perceived, conceived and lived space (Lefebvre, 1991; 1996). Borrowing from Lefebvre’s model, the paper analyses the social processes that characterise the development of urban agriculture practices as a manifestation of “the right to the city” in the sense of civic engagement in the creation of urban space and its physical use.

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