“Dialogic practices of urban gardening in Rome: “Reading for difference” in social innovation”now out!

Very happy to announce that a new paper I co-authored with Paolo Giaccaria (DIGGEO@ESOMAS) is now out in pre-print on Urban Geography! We want to thank the editor Nathan McClintock for supporting us during the review process and the three referees that provided challenging but inspiring suggestions. Warm thanks to Silvia Cioli and Luca D’Eusebio@Zappata Romana and all Rome’s gardeners that shared their experiences with us!


The paper contributes to the debate on the polyvocal nature of social innovation via the exploration of one of its principal manifestations: urban gardening. Initially, we wonder whether the dualistic reading of urban gardening, as a neoliberal vs revolutionary political initiative, is appropriate and productive, or rather, we should recognize its intrinsic ambiguity and boundary-blurring nature as able to produce novelty. Following Gibson-Graham’s intuition that escaping dichotomies can produce creative socio-political alternatives, we explore the gray area where confrontational stances turn into dialogical practices. We dig deep into the character and agency of three exemplary urban gardening initiatives in Rome, included in the network of Zappata Romana. Our telling shows the inadequacy of a binary reading and sheds light on whether and under what conditions the polyvocal – and contradictory – nature of urban gardening, and social innovation, in general, represents a generative terrain for socially emancipatory and creative practices.

After years of work on Gibson-Graham’s “reading for difference” approach and social innovation, you can read it here:


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