Grounds for Review
The Garden Festival in Urban Planning and Design
Distributed for Liverpool University Press
A garden festival temporarily transforms a previously derelict area, such as an abandoned factory lot, into a festival of horticulture, combining luxurious landscapes with exhibits and carnival rides. Most garden festivals last about six months—during which time they draw millions of visitors—but the success of the fair itself is only the initial step in a detailed plan for urban improvement. At the conclusion of the festival, funds from its operation are used to transform the grounds once again, this time with an eye toward the long-term use of the land. The enduring result of a successful garden festival is thus the transformation of derelict land into a community asset, such as a new urban park or an affordable housing project.
Theokas considers here fifteen garden festivals—in Europe, England, and the United States—in all their dimensions. He examines the role they play in stimulating urban redevelopment, their effects on the practice of landscape architecture, and the contentious debates over their financing, purposes, and future prospects. This highly illustrated volume will serve as a useful introduction to garden festivals for all those interested in urban planning, horticulture, and the future of cities.