|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.|
|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.