Can Placemaking in Canadian Public Greenspaces Bring Suburban Communities Together? Case Studies of City Park Community Gardens in Mississauga, Ontario and Surrey, British Columbia
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The purpose of this paper is to understand how placemaking in public greenspaces can help to build a stronger place identity for suburban communities. The paper addresses the research question, “how can planners encourage placemaking in public greenspaces?” by examining park community gardens in two cities, Mississauga, Ontario and Surrey, British Columbia, as case studies. I conclude that a more collaborative and inclusive approach is needed in the planning, design, and management of public greenspaces. I draw upon a conceptual framework based on environmental planning, radical planning, and resource mobilization theory, with a focus on three major themes of interest: the connection between community and nature, the typology of nature in a place, and people in the public realm. My investigation includes primarily virtual site observations and interviews using qualitative research methods. My research findings emphasize the significant role placemaking plays to help strengthen community ties between people and nature using community gardens in suburban city parks as a successful example.