Continuity and Change: Socio-Spatial Practices in Bamberg's World Heritage Urban Horticulture

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Continuity and Change: Socio-Spatial Practices in Bamberg's World Heritage Urban Horticulture


  • Heike Oevermann Institute for Archaeology, Art History and Heritage Sciences, University of Bamberg, Germany
  • Daniel Keech Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire, UK
  • Marc Redepenning Institute for Geography, University of Bamberg, Germany
  • Li Fan Department of Urban Redevelopment and Urban Renewal, University of Kassel, Germany
  • Patricia Alberth World Heritage Centre, City of Bamberg, Germany


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Abstract:  The German city of Bamberg offers lessons in how continuity and change interact within the context of the inner-urban land use of commercial horticulture, thereby informing sustainable urban transformations in historic cities. The case of Bamberg shows that urban food production is not just well-established, but a consistent and centuries-old cultural structure that influences the fabric of today’s city. In this article, we discuss what forms of urban horticulture (and thus also food production) are evident from Bamberg’s past and which may prevail in the future. Two questions structure our analysis. First, how are historical sites and spatial structures of horticulture shaped in the tension between continuity and change? Second, which practices/forms of urban horticulture are taken up and how are they updated by which actors? Both the heritage and contemporary practices of urban horticulture, it is argued, can be conceived of as a resource to create sustainable places and ways of life for citizens. Two new contributions result from this work. First, the article highlights the ongoing cultural heritage dimensions of urban horticulture in a field still dominated by eco-technical contributions associated with post-industrial innovation in urban planning; in this respect, heritage should be recognised as a dynamic that shapes urban change. In addition, secondly, the application of Luhmannian concepts of evolution in social systems reinforces the interdependence of continuity and change in urban settings.

Keywords:  Bamberg; food production; Germany; heritage; urban horticulture; World Heritage

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v8i1.6034


© Heike Oevermann, Daniel Keech, Marc Redepenning, Li Fan, Patricia Alberth. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.