Between Green Image Production, Participatory Politics and Growth: Urban Agriculture and Gardens in the Context of Neoliberal Urban Development in Vienna

Sarah Kumnig


Vienna is a green city. Around 50% of the urban area is green space, there are 630 farms and the number of community gardens is constantly growing. Not only do activists try to reclaim the city by cultivating vegetables on fallow land, but even the new urban development plan presents urban gardening as an innovative impulse for the city. At the same time agricultural spaces are increasingly under pressure because of population growth and a construction boom. This paper offers a thorough analysis of the implications that neoliberal urban development has for agricultural spaces and practices in Vienna. The conceptual combination of theoretical work on the neoliberalization of the urban with a governmentality approach, makes it possible to focus not only on transnational transformations, but to shed light on specific developments and concrete acts of governing on the local scale. The Donaufeld, a district known for vegetable production and currently defined as an urban development area, is an instructive case study for the analysis of the selective preservation and activation of specific kinds of urban agriculture and gardens, and the use of participatory politics in urban development projects.

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ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies - ISSN: 1492-9732