Domestic urban open spaces are those open spaces in the urban context that are physically closest to home-they may also be the open spaces that are valued most at different times of life. In this chapter urban open spaces associated with housing will be discussed. These include spaces that are integral within a housing area, private gardens, community gardens and allotments. The first two are those most closely linked with the home because they are the physical setting within which the home is placed. Community gardens may be associated with a small group of family houses, a small block of flats for professional people or perhaps a group of bungalows for the elderly. Community gardens are thus shared physically but the use of them may not be a shared experience-it may be that one might be the only user at a particular time. On the other hand community gardens also provide opportunities for getting together with a small group of people-whether children for play or adults for a cup of coffee and a chat. Allotments could be considered to be an extension or, for some, a replacement of the garden. This is where an individual or a family can grow vegetables, fruit and flowers, for some with the aim of a degree of being self-sustaining. There may be a physical distance between the home and the allotment but a practical and emotional tie to this space. Children can learn how to cultivate ground and grow plants in the allotment in the same way that they can in a private garden. Due to the shared physical space of community gardens and the physical separation of allotments from home some may be reluctant to accept these as domestic urban open spaces; yet I consider that they are, because the predominant use is domestic in scale, but I accept that they are verging towards the neighbourhood group. Indeed there is potential for allotments and their users to develop into an alternative neighbourhood community, with all the alliances and friendships, norms and rivalries that any urban anthropologist would describe in any built neighbourhood. As mentioned in the introduction to this section of the book, domestic urban open spaces are probably used throughout a person’s lifetime. They may be of particular importance in the early years for play and in the later years when one

might be less confident about going further afield. This does not deny the fact that for many adults and people in their middle years domestic open spaces provide opportunities for relaxation, environmental appreciation-such as birdwatching-recreation-perhaps in the form of gardening-and socialising with family and friends. The benefits thus afforded in domestic urban open spaces clearly relate to some of the social benefits of chapter one: children’s play, passive recreation and active recreation through gardening and children’s active games. Health benefits, as discussed in chapter two, may be physical-again the experience of gardening-and psychological in the opportunities for relaxation and the experience of near nature. Environmental benefits of climate amelioration are by definition present, to a greater or lesser extent, in any urban green space, while the opportunities for wildlife habitat are also determined by the quantity and quality of vegetation to support wildlife. The economic benefits of domestic urban open spaces may be somewhat more hidden, although there are surely many people who will pay more for a house with a good-sized garden than for a similar property that does not have a garden.