University of Tasmania

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An antipodean test of spatial contagion in front garden character

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 00:31 authored by James KirkpatrickJames Kirkpatrick, Daniels, G, Aidan DavisonAidan Davison
In Montreal, Canada, adjacent gardens have been demonstrated to be more similar than spatially separated gardens, opposite gardens less similar than adjacent ones, and front garden characteristics to relate to house and lot characteristics. The prevalence of these relationships in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia was tested using a random sample of groups of five front gardens from 31 suburbs, and house and garden characteristics from 13 groups of 10 adjacent front gardens. Groups of five gardens were diverse, with an average of 3.4 garden types. Opposite houses had exactly the same likelihood of having the same garden type as adjacent houses. In only one out of 13 streets was there a significant relationship between house proximity and distance between front garden characteristics. In three out of the 13 streets therewas a significant relationship between distance for garden characteristics and distance for house characteristics, these being streets in the process of transition from old to new housing stock. The absence, or extreme weakness, in Hobart of the relationships shown for Montreal might be explicable by differences in social and cultural attitudes towards front gardens, differences in the prevalence of a range of garden ideologies or variation in the type, incidence and enforcement of regulations. Our results suggest that, in Hobart and probably elsewhere in Australia, those wishing to impose limits on front garden expression, or encourage particular attributes of front gardens, cannot rely on a process of neighbourhood diffusion. The options for planners appear to be regulation, financial incentives or acceptance.


Publication title

Landscape and Urban Planning: An International Journal on Landscape Design, Conservation and Reclamation, Planning and Urban Ecology








School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights statement

The definitive version is available at

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use

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