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The Prospect of Community-Led Place-Keeping as Urban Commons in Public Residential Estates in Singapore

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Can place-keeping be considered as urban commons or occurring through the sharing of activities? If so, then specifically, how? This paper discusses long-term place-keeping of Singapore's neighbourhood green spaces as a shared practice, actively engaging citizens in shared responsibilities and collective efforts in transitioning a 'public' space to a 'common' space. We discuss community gardens as a shared urban space and examine two initiatives for neighbourhood green spaces characterized by active involvement of citizens in place-keeping: Community in Bloom (CIB) and Allotment Gardens (AG). Six case studies were examined to understand the current process of shared green space management. An integrated Policy Arrangement Approach (PAA) framework was adopted to analyse the governance arrangements and evaluate the spatial qualities of the community gardens (CIB and AG). Our analysis highlights the positive socio-economic impact of community-led green space management through effective shared place-keeping strategies. It emphasizes the need for an innovative participatory governance approach with a conscious balance between 'autonomy' and 'authority' as the key to long-term place-keeping. Localized community initiatives within a mosaic governance model with flexible partnerships between authorities and citizens would be a good starting point in facilitating shared governance of green spaces in Singapore's public residential estates.
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Keywords: COMMUNITY GARDENS; PARTICIPATORY GOVERNANCE; PLACE-KEEPING; URBAN COMMONS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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