Planting produce gardens leads to improved yard maintenance by residents

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Planting produce gardens, trees, and flowers in a neighborhood, is good for residents.  Creating green spaces and improving blighted properties (removing graffiti, litter, signs of poor home maintenance, etc.) can lead to improved mental health, and reduced crime.  In addition, greening in a neighborhood can indicate community investment, which may spread to the surrounding properties as well.

Our latest study explored this phenomenon and tested whether yard maintenance and blight removal on one property has a positive effect on surrounding properties. The study, published in the Journal of Landscape and Urban Planning focused on 842 produce gardens, in Flint, Michigan. The research team analyzed the maintenance ratings of 215 occupied parcels within 100 meters of a produce garden and 627 occupied parcels within 100 meters of a vacant lot.

Results of this study showed that residential parcels close to produce gardens had better maintenance than residential parcels near undeveloped vacant lots. Findings suggest that produce gardens may serve as a visual representation of community investment, causing the spread of blight elimination and maintenance upkeep among nearby parcels.

This paper is one of the first papers to come out of the YVPC property assessment data that has been completed each summer, and contributes to the mounting evidence that improving neighborhood conditions can improve health and decrease crime.


Krusky, A. M., Heinze, J. E., Reischl, T. M., Aiyer, S. M., Franzen, S. P.,& Zimmerman, M. A. (2014). The effects of produce gardens on neighborhoods: A test of the greening hypothesis in a post-industrial city. Journal of Landscape and Urban Planning.