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Community Volunteering as Neoliberal Strategy? Green Space Production in Berlin

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Abstract:  The task for critical urban research is to analyze processes of neoliberalization “on the ground”. This paper examines—based on original empirical research—in how far the outsourcing of former local state responsibilities for public services and urban infrastructure is expressed in the promotion of community gardening in Berlin (Germany). It shows the contradictory outcomes: on the one hand, a failing strategy of outsourcing towards residents and the opening up of opportunity structures for other interests. On the other hand it shows how far the emergence of open green spaces maintained by volunteers can only be understood against the background of “roll‐back” neoliberal urban politics and that their rationality cannot be separated from “roll‐out neoliberalism”.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Human Geography, Goethe-Universit├Ąt, Frankfurt/Main, Germany;

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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