Allotment gardens are plots of land rented by individuals, typically used for growing vegetables or flowers. There are around 1 million such plots in Poland and 1.2 million in Germany which are mostly associated in private or state garden societies (Spilková, Vágner, 2016). From the beginning of their establishment they were created in order to improve the living conditions of the residents of overcrowded cities. This allowed them to grow their own food and spend time away from cramped and damp homes or dusty factories which had a major impact on health conditions and mental well- being (Bell, 2016). The social functions of the allotments were fulfilled by the frequency of interactions and practices (i.e. gardening) of its users as well as social relations produced within shared space, the gardens being available for all residents from the neighbourhood. Especially in the second half of the 20th century, gardens, in addition to providing food, served to satisfy social functions and self-realization under totalitarian regimes in countries such as Poland and East Germany. Allotment gardening was one of the few available hobbies and affordable escape from daily life in the oppressive system (Bell, 2016).
Bell S. et al. (2016). Urban Allotment Gardens in Europe, COST
Spilková, J., J, Vágner (2016). The loss of land devoted to allotment gardening: The context of the contrasting pressures of urban planning, public and private interestsin Prague, Czechia. Land Use Policy 52, 232–239.