The Contribution of Urban Community Gardens to Inclusive and Sustainable Local Environments

Principal Investigator(s): Dr Supriya Akerkar, Dr Maryam Mani, Dr M. Reza Shirazi


Project start: September 2022

Funded by: British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants

About us

The project provides empirical data about the ethnic bridging capacity of Urban Community Gardens (UCGs) and investigates barriers and motivations of ethnic communities’ engagements. It argues that UCGs act as a mechanism for overcoming social exclusion by creating inclusive spaces that bring different ethnicities and races together, and thus contribute to the inclusive cities and societies which is one of the key goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Data will be collected from two case study sites in Oxford, Elder Stubbs Allotments and Oxford City Farm, using mixed methods including site analysis, questionnaire survey, ethnographic interviews and collaborative workshops. The research will be conducted collaboratively with direct engagement of community members. The results will provide primary evidence regarding the role of UCGs in creating ethically inclusive environments, and suggest practical recommendations for policy-makers to enhance their support and protection policies for UCGs.


  • To explore enablers and barriers of ethnic engagement in UCGs and investigate how perceptions, motivations, and benefits of UCGs vary by ethnic diversity.
  • To investigate whether distinct types of UCGs (here allotment gardens and community gardens) provide more or less inclusive environments for ethnically diverse populations.
  • To provide practical recommendations for policy-makers to enhance their support for UCGs and use them as a potential tool to promote inclusive societies and accelerate the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.


Supriya Akerkar

Dr Supriya Akerkar

Director, Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP)

View profile

Maryam Mani

Dr Maryam Mani

Research Fellow in Healthy Living and Working Environments

View profile

M. Reza Shirazi

Dr M. Reza Shirazi

Reader in Sustainable Urban Development

View profile