Citation:
Lewis, C.A. 1992. Effects of plants and gardening in creating interpersonal and community well-being. In: D. Relf (ed.). The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-Being and Social Development: A National Symposium. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Abstract:
The presence of plants and plant-centered activities such as gardening, promote human well-being. An examination of the ways that plants enter into human experience and the responses they engender, helps to delineate the benefits produced. In community settings, such as public housing, low income residential neighborhoods, and schools, gardening is an effective technique for improving personal, social, and physical environments. Examples from low income areas of New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago are shown to provide human benefits and the satisfactions of enhanced self-esteem, increased sociability, reduction in vandalism, cleaner streets, painted buildings, and revitalized neighborhoods. Consideration of gardening as an interactive process between people and plants helps to reveal areas of involvement which are effective in producing human well-being. Plants and their growth patterns are seen as encouraging human involvement and reinforcing self-esteem.

The evidence is primarily anecdotal; therefore, gardening is not as universally accepted and utilized for social and community development as its benefits might warrant. To convince governmental bodies of its value will require research findings which clearly document the effectiveness of plants and planting activities in producing social and economic benefits.

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