Garden of Virtues

In the final post in this month’s series looking at artist and community responses to extractivism in the Dark Mountain Project, Sylvie Decaux brings a green-fingered resistance story from the heart of Paris. In the summer of 2021, activist groups occupied the ‘jardins ouvriers’ – or working people’s allotments – in the poor suburb of Aubervilliers, in an attempt to defend them from rampant urban planning and privatisation.

“I arrive in the middle of a passionate speech by a lady gardener with long grey hair. She is recounting the story behind the Garden of Virtues. These gardens – jardins ouvriers, or working people’s allotments – in the poor suburb of Aubervilliers, are being plundered by Grand Paris Aménagement, the administration in charge of urban planning and development in the Paris region. It is the sad but old story of privatising public space, concreting over the few remaining green places in the interest of real estate speculation.”

Read the article (published the 20th december 2021).

Sylvie Decaux is Associate Professor of English, Communications and Publishing Studies at the University of Paris. As a committed environmentalist, she is involved in the ‘Collective for the Gonesse Triangle and Transition Towns’ movement. Her hobbies are creative writing and cycling. She lives in Paris with her partner and has two grown-up children.

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