This video presentation seeks to examine the connection between horizontal modes of management, when residents provide direct input with their active engagement, in “third places”, and social inclusion practice. Considering collective gardens as third places, the research put forward by Sahar Alinezhad explores how socio-spatial platforms frame neighbourhood dynamics. Collective gardens are spaces for food production, sharing of knowledge, and meaningful social encounters. Based on not-for-profit exchanges of tangible and intangible resources. collective gardens favour a wide array of non-hierarchical social interactions leading to engaged communities. Moreover, as low-key venues for social gatherings of individuals at the neighbourhood scale, collective gardens constitute prototypical platforms for socially sustainable urban living and could serve as transitional spaces towards social integration contributing to social cohesion of the neighbourhood. 

Sahar Alinezhad is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Urbanism and her Master’s Degree in Urban Design. Her research interest focuses on the livability and conviviality of urban spaces as well as urban quality of life and well-being. Presently, her research focuses on collective gardens and self-organizing. More specifically, her research aims to identify if and how collective autonomous practices facilitate social inclusion processes in third places. Sahar aims to empower local communities to actively participate in decision-making processes for their neighbourhood common spaces.