Social capital and participation in community gardens: the case of Cascais
The literature on the phenomenon of urban gardens has focused essentially on their contribution to the sustainability of cities and the environmental importance of this type of initiatives. The question that we put in this study is to understand the process of participation in urban garden programs of community character and relate that same participation to the promotion of local sustainability. What motivates citizens to participate, how they participate and what the results of this participation are the core issues that we will address. Having as a case study the urban gardens of Cascais, we used semi-structured interviews to the users of the horticultural spaces. Participation in the community gardens program in Cascais is examined through an analysis of the inputs, the actual process itself and the outputs of the participation. We conclude that the strengthening of social relations, the promotion of cohesion and social inclusion facilitate closer relations of neighborhood. Moreover, by favoring the acquisition of skills, they stimulate citizenship and participation in other community projects, thus contributing to empowering the participants, creating a favorable scenario for the generation of social capital.
participation; community gardens; sustainable development; social capital; empowerment
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