The story of Bonnington Square Gardens in Vauxhall, London, shows how a local initiative can take ownership of a derelict space and turn it into an urban paradise for the whole community. In the 1990s, local residents around Bonnington Square founded an association and successfully negotiated with the council to reclaim a neglected space in danger of being sold for development. In collaboration with an architectural firm, they designed and planted what is now the heart of the neighbourhood and widely recognised as one of the finest community gardens in London. The garden needed council and government funding to get started, but is now supported by local fundraising and maintained entirely by volunteering residents. With the garden complete, the initiative has now spread to the surrounding area and every available space is being used for planting, transforming the whole neighbourhood into an urban oasis.
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