A visual exploration of allotments as spaces of Spectacle : a comparative analysis of allotment gardens within the greater Dublin area and the city of Aarhus in Denmark
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Benson, Mary C.
Dublin Business School
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The contemporary cityscape is witnessing a revival of allotment gardens alongside a range of different types of urban agriculture initiatives. Contemporary allotments provide space for a variety of populations and experiences. In some sites and plots there is a shift in understanding of these spaces as not only representing spaces of growth to also encompassing representations of lived places. Contemporary allotments are both public and private spaces and may represent a new understanding of urban public space. These spaces are often visible but they are also visualised by plot holders in numerous different ways. As the boundaries between gardens and plots are both fluid and permeable the gaze is both inwards and outward simultaneously. This is resulting in the personalisation of plots and a creative visualising of these spaces for growth. This personalisation is a means of translating space into place as it becomes lived through these understandings. The visibility of these spaces means that food production is also visible and how this production is organised has taken on a particular aesthetic quality. This paper is a visual exploration and comparative study of contemporary allotment gardens in both The Greater Dublin Area, Ireland and the City of Aarhus in Denmark. Through this visual odyssey we examine how allotment gardens are understood and visualised resulting in the translation of these spaces into lived places. We also examine how the visibility of plots has led to a particular aesthetics of growth and how this production of food within certain spaces has become a ‘spectacle’.