New films

Urban green commons premiere

Centre researchers launch new films linking the science and practice of common property initiatives in cities

On 27 November the Stockholm Resilience Centre hosted a film premiere. Two films in a series of short film documentaries that were shown for the first time. The film series is called Urban Green Commons: Berlin-Stockholm and draws ultimately on the notion that common property initiatives can offer important alternatives to privatization of land in cities. The film series consists of four films that each deals with different aspects of urban gardening and farming.

"There is an increasing scientific interest in urban gardening and urban common property systems. The film series supports and complements several findings from the scientific literature," explains Johan Colding, from the Centre and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics.

Three years collaboration
During the last three years Johan Colding and his scientist colleagues have collaborated with the filmmakers Pehr Arte, Stig- Åke Nilsson and Kicki Rundgren to document a number of urban farming projects in both Berlin and Stockholm.

"It has been truly fascinating to see what can happen when local residents themselves get a chance to dig into the soil, work with their hands, and together with others get the opportunity to take care of and manage green areas in cities," says Pehr Arte, one of the film makers.

In particular the films focus on what Johan Colding, Stephan Barthel and their colleagues have labelled "Urban Green Commons", green city spaces that are collectively organized and managed by the residents themselves. They represent a particular type of property right systems, which are different from those that are in the hands of private actors or the state and local governments.

The two films that were released at the Stockholm Resilience Centre premiere focuses on urban gardening projects in Berlin ("Prinzessinengarten") and Stockholm ("Folkodlarna i Skarpnäck" and "Guerrilla gardening in Kärrtorp").

Scientific rationales behind the films
The film series is complemented by scientific studies conducted on Urban Green Commons and similar gardening projects in cities, and also by interviews with scholars and researchers that have studied urban farming and gardening.

Much of the new insights featured in the films have been derived in the research project SUPER (Sustainable Urban Planning for Ecosystem services and Resilience). This is a project that intends to develop knowledge on how urban planning processes can better integrate ecosystem services to nurture local resilience building in urban landscapes. As such it also strives to lay a foundation for social innovations about inclusive forms of ecosystem stewardship that both the film-makers and the researchers of the SUPER-project have found to be pivotal for transitions into more sustainable urban trajectories.

"In the long-term, we in the SUPER project hope to be able to generate new knowledge and innovations of immediate concern to urban residents, policy makers, and urban planners," says Johan Colding.

The films have been produced by Seven Frames with the support of Formas (Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) and the Beijer Institute/Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Johan Colding is responsible for the original idea and has been the scientific project manager.

All the films are available here

Published: 2014-12-03

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