Grass areas management: an incipient form of care and citizenship

Living in a block of flats also involves managing the shared spaces.

Behind the main arterial roads, where the green areas are wider, the inhabitants have developed their own practices and unspoken rules for managing them so as to humanise the space and make it more friendly and enjoyable.

Out of a public, impersonal space, it is transformed into a neat and tidy one. Based on discussions with a young man living nearby, we conclude that the green areas between the blocks are managed according to local, non-verbal rules. For instance, it is generally accepted that the persons living at the ground floor will take care of these mini-gardens because they are the ones who “enjoy the view”.

Their labour, which involves removing the ”weeds” and planting flowers is much appreciated and valued by the neighbours as a proof of “diligence”. In some cases, these concerns for transforming the public space have facilitated the identification of those neighbours who have the ability and availability to contribute to their conversion into shared internal or external spaces for neighbouring tenements.

We can talk about a sort of crystallisation of an incipient form of citizenship expressed in the limited boundaries of the neighbourhood.