Stadsgroen onder spanning | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 128, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Research on urban green space is usually limited to those types of greenery with an official character. Unofficial green spaces, such as fallows between buildings or near ramparts, are harder to study, as are the varied uses of (un)official green spaces. This article analyses the multi-layered negotiations among politicians, citizens, civil servants, specialists, and even the press in the greening of nineteenth-century Antwerp. A series of debates fuelled the need for a special administration for this new sphere of the public domain. Moreover, regulations were issued in order to enforce proper behaviour. Testimonials suggest how common people actually experienced their surroundings, revealing many official attempts as naive. While the authorities tried to extend their power, the expectations about urban nature also shifted: a strictly utilitarian perspective was followed by a rather aesthetic view, which in turn was challenged by concerns of both an ecological and recreational nature.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): city dwellers; nineteenth century; urban green space; urban history; wastelands
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