No Connection Between Gardens and Gentrification in Detroit, Study Says

Research from late 2021 documented the footprint of urban gardens in Detroit, finding evidence of inequities but not gentrification.

June 3, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Community Garden

J.H. Fearless / Flickr

Pat Batcheller reports for WDET about research published in fall 2021 finding that urban gardens in Detroit don’t cause gentrification. Urban gardens do, however, tend to be found in more affluent neighborhoods, contributing to inequities in the city.

The research, published in the September issue of the journal Landscape and Urban Planning, used remote sensing, satellite imagery, and Google Streetview to locate 600 home and community gardens around the city, according to Batcheller.

“The study says that while urban gardens offer many benefits, they’re unequally distributed. That surprised [research co-author Jason Hawes] and his colleagues because Black Detroiters have led the urban gardening movement,” writes Batcheller.

What the research did not find is evidence that gardens contribute to gentrification. “Hawes says property values across the city are neither stable enough nor high enough to be affected by urban gardens,” reports Batcheller. “Instead, what they’re seeing is that as new folks come to town who are attracted to urban gardening, they’re reshaping the landscape by building new gardens, but not necessarily displacing people in communities that already had gardens.”

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