The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


PhD student Alban Hasson successfully defends thesis on Urban Agriculture and Democratisation

23 April 2024

Congratulations to Alban Hasson who has successfully defended his thesis on the contributions of urban agriculture (UA) practitioners in London in expanding the political space towards a democratic food regime.

Urban Agriculture & Democratisation: Comparing Allotments & Community Gardens trajectories in London

Image Credit: Alban Hasson

Alban Hasson's thesis built on Webster and Engberg-Pedersen’s political space framework (2002), argues that democratisation is emerging from a set of contestations by UA practitioners within existing and emerging institutional channels, but also through the historical struggle of contesting hegemonic political discourses. This arguments considers these contestations as being co-constituted through developments in specific social and political practices. 

His research compares the allotment and community garden trajectories in their diversity and assesses the democratic processes produced in seeking another way of engaging with food. Through historical and ethnographic in-depth case studies, the thesis sheds light on the practices of commoning and the struggles faced by UA practitioners to create a more just and sustainable food regime.  

He considers five democratic processes of UA necessary to expand the political space of food towards a more democratic food regime: fostering food security, expanding health benefits, reclaiming the commons, building places of interaction and representation, and decoupling from the regimes; and exploring how community UA practitioners engage with, negotiate, or resist current governance networks to expand the political space towards these democratic processes.

In so doing, his thesis highlights some of the discriminations at play and enables the proposition of solutions to continue to build intersectional environmental and food justice in London’s UA trajectories.