Urban Horticulture. Tina Marie Waliczek and Jayne M. Zajicek, editors. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla. $60.95. Hardback. 336 p. ISBN 978-1-4822-6099-1.
With contributions from experts, including the editors, in research and practice in urban environments from across the United States, Urban Horticulture addresses the importance of horticulture to the lives, health, and well-being of people in populated areas. It examines public and private communities and state and federal programs to promote urban horticulture and reviews research on school, community, public, and prison gardens. The book includes the history, importance, and benefits of selected topics in urban horticulture.
The book has ten chapters. The chapters emphasize the persons and communities that benefit from horticultural landscapes rather than focusing on traditional issues of plants in production and landscape horticulture. Each chapter has a list of review questions that are based on the text and a list of enrichment activities in which participants may engage. Each chapter has a list of references cited and suggested further reading.
The Introduction, Chapter 1, gives a brief history of the urbanization of the United States and notes the changes with time in populations of the inner cities, suburbs, and surrounding countryside. Sections define traditional and urban horticulture and introduce sociohorticulture, also called human issues in horticulture. Urban horticultural programs are described in paragraphs that are developed into the chapters that follow.
Children and Nature, Chapter 2, educates readers on the history of school gardens, the needs of children to be involved with gardens, benefits of gardens to youths, types of youth gardens, and resources needed to start activities with youths and gardens. Tables in the text give extensive listings of internet resources and public children’s gardens in the United States. A few case studies of youth programs at botanic gardens and a school garden are in the text.
Gardens and Community, Chapter 3, is a lengthy presentation on community gardens. It covers the history of community gardens in Europe and in the United States. Benefits of community gardens beyond the produce obtained are discussed to include vacant land as a resource, food security, healthful benefits, positive effects of gardens on property values, and other social and economic impacts of gardens. The text gives approaches and guidelines for running and coordinating garden projects and provides tables and checklists to guide individuals in these endeavors. Ideas for funding of gardening projects are presented. A few case studies of successful community gardens in Texas and Wisconsin are presented.
Public Gardens and Human Well-Being, Chapter 4, defines public gardens and gives a brief history of the gardens. Names of public gardens according to type or function are listed. The roles and benefits of public gardens are outlined from their evolution from medicinal gardens to centers for education, plant conservation, and environmental stewardship. Two case studies are presented.
Horticultural Displays at Zoos and Amusement Parks, Chapter 5, describes the importance of plant displays in these settings. Landscape plantings are integral parts of zoos and amusement parks. In zoos, the plantings help to create feed and environments to promote natural behavior and well being for the animals. In the parks, horticultural displays provide beauty and transitions between areas and soften the lines between infrastructure. Several brief case studies are presented.
Prison Horticulture, Chapter 6, seems unrelated to urban horticulture but has been an element of detention facilities throughout their histories and has included forced labor on farms, development of educational programs, and inclusion of activities to improve the health of inmates through participation in horticultural programs. The chapter discusses the history of prison horticulture and describes some educational programs associated with prison horticulture. Case studies of three horticultural programs are described in detail.
Horticultural Therapy, Chapter 7, is treated as a profession in which horticulture is used to assist in healing, rehabilitation, and amelioration of people requiring treatment for a disease or disorder. The benefits of working with plants and various types of programs and activities for horticultural therapy are listed and discussed. Several case studies are presented.
Urban Greening, Chapter 8, addresses issues of the people living in urban areas of the Earth and there being very little land in the urban environments. Development of urban green spaces brings nature into large, concentrated populations of people. The chapter discusses the benefits of urban green space on lowering crimes, imparting mental and physical health, facilitating social interactions, and revitalization in urban areas. Case studies from Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and other big cities in the United States and Canada are presented.
Local Food, Chapter 9, has little relationship to urban horticulture other than the fact that some urban dwellers buy locally grown food. Some text is devoted to the definition of locally grown food by federal and state laws, producers, retailers, and consumers. Exposure of urban populations to locally grown food is noted through existence of community supported agricultural farms, farmers’ markets, food retailing, and institutional purchasing. Edible landscapes and community gardens relate directly to urban horticulture. The benefits of production of locally grown foods to society in general and to consumers, producers, retailers, and nongovernmental organizations in particular are presented. A case study in which the benefits and acceptance and conflict of urban agriculture to city dwellers in Austin,Texas, is presented.
Chapter 10, Volunteerism, discusses the importance of volunteers in any organization and specifically to urban horticultural programs of public gardens, zoos, amusement parks, horticultural therapy, and prisons. Considerable text is devoted to planning of volunteer programs to include needs for volunteers, recruitment, structure, training, and management of the work force, and budgets. An appendix to this chapter gives a sample job description and a prospective profile of volunteers.
Urban Horticulture is a resource that details how interaction with plants enriches the lives of large, concentrated populations of people. It is useful to researchers, practitioners, teachers, and students, who are interested in the social aspects of horticulture rather than in the production aspects.