Gardening as a Response to Ownership and Ground in Girona
Keywords:landscape architecture, gardening, urban soil, urban planning, the viridic
The ground is both the surface occupied by urban development and a physical media – soil – in which plants grow. Since housing density is a mechanism by which to maximise a site’s financial yield, construction covers the real ground. Consequently, the soil is provided to residents in containers on terraces or balconies. However, the properties of natural ground and simulated ground are different, affecting gardening activity and the kind of material and spatial outcomes resulting from it, the synthesis of which is called “the viridic” by the author. Gardening has health benefits for people. Correspondingly, because different soil conditions affect gardening, this benefit’s qualities are also inflected by access to and type of soil.
Using Yin’s “theory building” case study model, two gardens by a landscape architect in Girona are discussed: one on a terrace in containers; the other on the natural ground in a public reserve nearby. Comparing and contrasting these gardens allows for the consideration of the relationship between soil and gardening technique. In addition, the process of abstraction of the ground implicit in site development may also be considered, as well as the implications of such a process on the way in which residents cultivate their gardens and the limitations of private gardens in contributing to local microclimatic and environmental qualities. The paper concludes by refining the model of the viridic based on soil and how soil mediates the relationship of the viridic to urban development.