Urban gardening: A new form of self-sufficiency

In recent years, creative urban dwellers have come up with new ideas on how to unwind and engage with nature in an urban setting. One of these trends represents a truly down-to-earth approach: “Urban gardening”, i.e. the home growing of fruit and vegetables in an urban environment, is taking the cities by storm.

Urban gardening: A new form of self-sufficiency

This trend has little, if anything, to do with the dusty image of allotment gardening. Quite the contrary: More and more people are taking a liking to spending their free time digging up dirt. The new trend was pioneered by innovative twenty-somethings, but has, in the meantime, spread to all levels of society. Our latest garden trends provide a first glimpse of the manifold opportunities for garden use and design.

The applications are limitless: Be it on the balcony, on a large scale on the roof terrace, or as part of a community project – carrots, parsnips and fresh herbs are being lovingly cultivated everywhere you look. And there is much room for experimentation: Anyone wanting more than mere conventionality has the opportunity to live out his creative ideas and, for example, graft new hybrids such as pomatoes (part tomato, part potato).

New customers for garden centres

The new urban gardening trend is not only benefitting amateur gardeners, but also, and especially, garden centres – gone are the days when young people only stopped by on Mother’s Day. In some places, it seems that the average customer age has dropped by decades, and many of the new generation of gardeners are intent on filling their shopping cart to the brim with all sorts of fancy or practical accessories.

But where did this new urban gardening phenomenon originate from? What is the reason for city dwellers suddenly taking such a marked interest in cultivating their own salad ingredients instead of simply buying them?

Relaxation vs. a quest for meaning

As is the case with all major movements, several trends can be observed: On the one hand there are those who are searching for a balance to their everyday working life, which often encompasses sitting in front of a computer all day. For them, it is highly satisfying to engage in urban gardening on their roof terrace after a day of complicated abstract labour. This allows them to switch off in an instant, and at the same time be rewarded with tangible and delectable edibles.

On the other hand, there are also those who view urban gardening as far more than mere relaxation. In an increasingly complex world of consumerism, they wish to send a message of sustainability, self-sufficiency and, last not least, group affiliation. Many community projects have been initiated, such as the Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin, which aim to disrupt the anonymity of big city life and bring people together in the context of gardening activities.

Garden guerrilleros

“Guerrilla gardening” is closely affiliated with this second group. This form of urban gardening does not focus on vegetating own property or officially registered community gardens, but uses the entire city as its cultivation area instead. Fallow areas, rooftops, private premises or traffic islands: There is hardly any urban area that the guerrilla gardeners deem unsuitable for cultivation, and their methods include the use of “seed bombs” or anything else that could spruce up the environment.

The urban gardening movement is as multifaceted as the plants that are cultivated in its course. There is hardly anyone who does not appreciate a greener rooftop or inner city environment. Are you looking for the perfect home to live out your urban gardening dreams after a hard day’s work? Then Engel & Völkers is the right point of contact for you.

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