Urban Gardening Ideas: How to Grow Your Own Oasis in the City

Introduction: The Rising Trend of Urban Gardening Urban gardening is swiftly gaining popularity as more city dwellers seek to bring a touch of nature into their urban environments. This movement towards greening cities can be attributed to a range of factors: Environmental Concerns: With increasing awareness of climate change and environmental degradation, many individuals are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Urban gardening offers an opportunity to contribute positively to the environment by enhancing urban green spaces. Health and Well-being: Studies have shown that exposure to green spaces can significantly improve mental health. Gardening provides a form of physical exercise and a way to decompress from the stressors of city life. Urban gardeners report higher levels of satisfaction and reduced levels of stress and anxiety. Self-Sufficiency and Food Security: Growing one’s own food has become a valuable skill in an era of rising food prices and supply chain […]

Urban Gardening Ideas: How to Grow Your Own Oasis in the City

Introduction: The Rising Trend of Urban Gardening

Urban gardening is swiftly gaining popularity as more city dwellers seek to bring a touch of nature into their urban environments. This movement towards greening cities can be attributed to a range of factors:

  1. Environmental Concerns: With increasing awareness of climate change and environmental degradation, many individuals are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Urban gardening offers an opportunity to contribute positively to the environment by enhancing urban green spaces.
  2. Health and Well-being: Studies have shown that exposure to green spaces can significantly improve mental health. Gardening provides a form of physical exercise and a way to decompress from the stressors of city life. Urban gardeners report higher levels of satisfaction and reduced levels of stress and anxiety.
  3. Self-Sufficiency and Food Security: Growing one’s own food has become a valuable skill in an era of rising food prices and supply chain uncertainties. Urban gardening allows city residents to cultivate their produce, ranging from vegetables and herbs to fruits. This not only ensures a supply of fresh, organic produce but also reduces dependency on commercial agriculture.
  4. Community Building: Many urban gardening projects foster a sense of community. Shared spaces, such as community gardens, encourage social interaction and collaboration among neighbors. These communal efforts can lead to stronger communal ties and a greater sense of belonging among residents.
  5. Aesthetic and Recreational Value: Urban gardens add beauty to otherwise drab cityscapes. They offer a pleasing visual contrast to concrete and asphalt and provide urban planners with innovative ways to utilize limited space effectively. Moreover, these green spaces can serve as recreational areas where citizens can relax and enjoy nature amidst urban settings.
  6. Innovative Agricultural Technology: Advances in agricultural technology are making urban gardening more accessible. Vertical gardens, hydroponic systems, and rooftop gardens are just a few examples of how technology is enabling efficient use of small spaces for gardening purposes.

Urban gardening reflects a significant shift in how individuals interact with their environments, striving to create sustainable, healthy, and enjoyable living spaces within the confines of the city. This burgeoning trend not only enhances urban living standards but also contributes to broader environmental and social benefits.

Rooftop Gardens: Maximizing Vertical Space

Urban environments often present unique challenges for gardening enthusiasts due to limited horizontal space. Rooftop gardens offer a sustainable solution by utilizing vertical space effectively. They not only enhance aesthetic appeal but also contribute to environmental health.

By installing a rooftop garden, one can transform unused or underutilized spaces into vibrant green areas. Here are several benefits and considerations for creating a rooftop garden:


  • Improved Air Quality: Plants can filter pollutants and improve air quality.
  • Thermal Insulation: Green roofs provide natural insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs.
  • Urban Biodiversity: Rooftop gardens offer habitats for birds, insects, and other wildlife.
  • Rainwater Management: They can retain rainwater, reducing runoff and alleviating pressure on urban drainage systems.

Key Considerations

  1. Structural Integrity: Prior to development, it’s crucial to assess the building’s capability to support added weight. Consulting a structural engineer is advisable.
  2. Waterproofing: Proper waterproofing ensures no leakage into the building, preserving integrity.
  3. Access and Safety: Safe and convenient access is vital for maintenance, ensuring gardener safety.

Plant Selection

Selecting the right plants is essential for a thriving rooftop garden:

  • Hardy Perennials: These plants can withstand various weather conditions without requiring extensive maintenance.
  • Drought-Resistant Species: Choosing plants like succulents can minimize water use.
  • Native Plants: They are acclimated to the local environment, needing less care and supporting local ecosystems.

Installation Methods

There are various methods to establish a rooftop garden:

  • Built-In Planters: Utilizing raised beds or planters increases soil depth and plant variety.
  • Container Gardening: Movable pots and containers offer flexibility in design and maintenance.
  • Green Roof Systems: These include extensive green roofs with minimal substrate and intensive green roofs that support a wider range of plants.

Transforming rooftops into green spaces brings immense benefits in urban settings. By considering structural and design elements, one can create efficient and sustainable rooftop gardens.

Container Gardening: Flexibility in Small Spaces

Container gardening provides an effective solution for those who wish to engage in urban gardening despite space constraints. It allows individuals to grow a variety of plants in limited areas such as balconies, rooftops, and small patios. The flexibility offered by containers makes it possible to experiment with different plant varieties and design layouts.

Advantages of Container Gardening

  • Space Efficiency: Containers can be placed in tight and unconventional spaces, making use of every available inch.
  • Portability: Containers can be moved easily, allowing for optimal placement relative to sunlight, shade, or seasonal changes.
  • Soil Control: Containers allow for complete control over the soil composition, which can be tailored to the specific needs of various plant species.

Suitable Containers

  • Plastic Pots: Lightweight and affordable, but may not offer the best insulation.
  • Terracotta Pots: Natural and aesthetically pleasing, though they can be heavy and fragile.
  • Fabric Pots: Provide excellent drainage and aeration, often used for root vegetables and greens.
  • Self-Watering Planters: Ideal for busy urban dwellers, these containers reduce the need for frequent watering.

Types of Plants

  • Herbs: Basil, rosemary, and mint thrive in containers and can be grown throughout the year.
  • Vegetables: Compact varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce are well-suited for container growth.
  • Flowers: Marigolds, petunias, and geraniums add a splash of color to any urban garden.
  • Succulents: Low-maintenance and hardy, succulents are ideal for those new to gardening.

Best Practices

  1. Select the Right Soil: A high-quality potting mix ensures proper drainage and nutrient retention.
  2. Watering Schedule: Containers dry out faster than garden beds; regular watering is essential, especially during hot weather.
  3. Sunlight Requirements: Place containers in areas that receive adequate sunlight based on the plants’ needs.
  4. Fertilization: Regular feeding with balanced fertilizers promotes healthy growth and yields.
  5. Pest Control: Use eco-friendly pest control methods to protect plants without harming the environment.

Creative Containers

  • Recycled Materials: Use old buckets, crates, or even shoes for a unique and eco-friendly touch.
  • Vertical Gardens: Wall-mounted containers and tiered stands maximize space for growing herbs and small plants.
  • Hanging Baskets: Ideal for trailing plants, hanging baskets save floor space and add visual interest.

Investing in container gardening transforms even the smallest urban spaces into thriving green oases. With careful planning, container gardening offers not only practical benefits but also aesthetic appeal and a sense of achievement.

Vertical Gardens: Turning Walls into Green Spaces

Vertical gardens allow city dwellers to maximize their limited space and cultivate lush greenery on walls within urban environments. These installations provide not only aesthetic appeal but also several environmental benefits, making them an increasingly popular choice for urban gardening.

Benefits of Vertical Gardens

  1. Space Efficiency: Vertical gardens make use of blank walls and small spaces that might otherwise be unused.
  2. Improved Air Quality: Plants help filter pollutants and improve the breathing environment.
  3. Thermal Insulation: Vertical gardens can help regulate temperature, acting as natural insulators.
  4. Biodiversity Enhancement: Attracts birds, insects, and other wildlife, contributing to urban biodiversity.

Design Elements

When designing a vertical garden, consider the following:

  • Structure: Use trellises, grids, or modular panels for support.
  • Irrigation: Ensure an efficient watering system, such as drip irrigation, to maintain plant health.
  • Lighting: Consider natural and artificial lighting to meet plant needs.
  • Plant Selection: Choose plants suited to vertical growth and the specific conditions of the space.

Plant Selection

Choose plants based on various factors:

  • Sunlight Exposure: Full sun versus shade-tolerant plants.
  • Climate Adaptability: Plants that thrive in local weather conditions.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Low versus high-maintenance species.

Examples of Suitable Plants:

  • Ferns: Ideal for shaded areas and require minimal maintenance.
  • Succulents: Suitable for sunny spots and drought-resistant.
  • Herbs: Basil, mint, and oregano thrive well and offer culinary uses.
  • Flowering Plants: Petunias and begonias add color and vibrancy.

Installation and Maintenance

Installation Tips:

  1. Initial Setup: Secure the structure firmly and ensure proper alignment.
  2. Plant Positioning: Arrange plants based on their sunlight and water requirements.
  3. Watering Systems: Incorporate a reliable irrigation system from the beginning.

Maintenance Tasks:

  • Regular Pruning: Keep growth in check and remove dead leaves.
  • Pest Control: Monitor for pests and take action promptly.
  • Nutrient Supply: Fertilize periodically to sustain plant health.

By transforming walls into green spaces, vertical gardens create a sustainable, visually appealing, and functionally beneficial environment in urban areas.

Community Gardens: Bringing Neighbors Together

In urban environments, community gardens offer a way to strengthen the social fabric by bringing neighbors together. These shared spaces not only provide a venue for gardening but also foster a sense of cooperation, mutual respect, and shared purpose among participants.

A community garden requires collaboration from residents to maintain its vitality. Tasks are often distributed among members based on individual skills and interests. One group might focus on planting and maintaining the garden beds, while another could take charge of composting and waste management. This distribution of responsibilities creates a sense of ownership and pride among participants.

Benefits of Community Gardens

  • Social Interaction: Community gardens provide a venue for residents to meet and form meaningful connections. Social events, gardening workshops, and seasonal fetes can be organized to bring neighbors closer.
  • Mental Health: Engaging in communal activities helps reduce stress and improves emotional well-being. The act of gardening itself is therapeutic and can serve as a positive outlet.
  • Learning Opportunities: Community gardens can serve as educational hubs where novices learn from experienced gardeners. Workshops and hands-on training can cover topics such as organic gardening, pest control, and sustainable practices.
  • Environmental Impact: By promoting urban greening, community gardens contribute to better air quality and biodiversity. They serve as habitats for pollinators like bees and butterflies and foster an environment-conscious mindset among urban dwellers.
  • Food Security: These gardens provide fresh produce to local communities, which can be particularly beneficial in areas that suffer from food deserts. The harvested produce can be shared among members, donated to food banks, or sold at local farmers’ markets.

Setting Up a Community Garden

  1. Identify a Suitable Location: Public parks, vacant lots, or rooftops can serve as excellent spots for a community garden. Securing necessary permits and the support of local authorities is essential.
  2. Form a Core Group: This team will spearhead the project, ensuring tasks are delegated, funds are managed, and overall goals are met.
  3. Plan Your Garden: Decide on the types of crops to plant and design the layout. Raised beds, vertical gardens, and in-ground plots can be considered based on space constraints and soil conditions.
  4. Gather Resources: Garner tools, seeds, soil, and compost. Engaging local sponsors and organizing fundraisers can help in procuring these essentials.
  5. Implement Community Rules: Establish guidelines to ensure smooth operation and equity among participants. These might include schedules for gardening activities, rules for tool usage, and protocols for dealing with disputes.

By encouraging neighborly interactions and communal responsibility, community gardens play a pivotal role in transforming urban spaces into green oases.

Hydroponics: Soil-Free Urban Farming

Hydroponics offers a modern alternative to conventional soil-based gardening, presenting a viable solution for urban farming. In this system, plants grow without soil, using nutrient-enriched water instead. This method can be particularly advantageous for urban settings with limited space.

Key Components of a Hydroponic System

  • Growing Medium: Instead of soil, hydroponic systems utilize inert substrates like coconut coir, perlite, or Rockwool. These mediums provide support while allowing roots to access the nutrient solution.
  • Nutrient Solution: Tailored nutrients dissolved in water are supplied to the plants. This solution is carefully formulated to provide all the necessary minerals and elements for optimal plant growth.
  • Grow Lights: Artificial lighting, such as LED or fluorescent lights, mimics natural sunlight. These lights are crucial for photosynthesis, especially in indoor setups or areas with limited natural light.
  • Water Circulation: Efficient water management is vital. Systems like NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) or DWC (Deep Water Culture) ensure that plant roots are consistently exposed to the nutrient solution.

Types of Hydroponic Systems

  1. Wick Systems: Simplest form, uses a wick to draw nutrient solution from a reservoir to the plant roots.
  2. Deep Water Culture (DWC): Plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-rich, oxygenated water solution.
  3. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT): A thin film of nutrient solution constantly flows past the roots.
  4. Ebb and Flow: Also known as Flood and Drain, this system periodically floods the grow bed with nutrient solution and then drains it back.

Advantages of Hydroponics

  • Space Efficiency: Ideal for urban areas with limited space, as it can be set up vertically or in small spaces.
  • Faster Growth: Plants typically grow 20-50% faster compared to traditional soil gardening, due to direct access to nutrients.
  • Water Conservation: Hydroponic systems use up to 90% less water than soil-based gardening, as water is recirculated.
  • Less Pest and Disease Issues: Indoor and controlled environments reduce exposure to common pests and soil-borne diseases.

Challenges to Consider

  • Initial Cost: Setup costs can be higher due to equipment and technology required.
  • Technical Knowledge: Understanding nutrient balance, pH levels, and maintenance of the system is crucial.
  • Energy Use: Artificial lighting and water circulation systems can increase energy consumption.

Hydroponics represents a sustainable and efficient approach for urban dwellers aspiring to cultivate fresh produce within the confines of the city.

Urban Gardening Ideas

Balcony Gardens: Personal Oasis in the Sky

Balcony gardens provide city dwellers with an opportunity to create a refreshing retreat within limited space. By leveraging vertical space and selecting suitable plant varieties, one can transform a stark balcony into a thriving garden oasis.

Choosing the Right Plants

Successful balcony gardens depend on the selection of plants tailored to the available space and light conditions. Factors to consider include:

  • Sunlight exposure: Choose sun-loving plants like basil, tomatoes, and sunflowers for southern and western exposures. Shade-tolerant varieties such as ferns, begonias, and hostas are more suitable for northern and eastern exposures.
  • Climate: Opt for hardy, low-maintenance plants if the local climate is challenging. Hardy herbs like rosemary and thyme are ideal in such conditions.
  • Growth habit: Use dwarf or compact varieties of vegetables and flowers. Climbing plants and trailing vines can maximize space by growing vertically.

Vertical Gardening Solutions

Given the vertical nature of balconies, utilizing vertical gardening techniques can significantly enhance plant capacity:

  1. Trellises and Climbing Structures: Support climbing plants like peas, beans, and morning glories with trellises.
  2. Hanging Planters: Utilize ceiling space with hanging baskets suitable for cascading plants such as strawberries, petunias, and ivy.
  3. Wall-mounted Planters: Attach planters or pots to balcony walls for herbs, succulents, and small flowering plants designed for vertical installations.
  4. Shelf Systems: Install multi-tiered shelves to house multiple pots for herbs, small peppers, and leafy greens.

Containers and Soil

Containers play a critical role in nurturing balcony gardens:

  • Material: Opt for lightweight, durable containers such as plastic, resin, or fabric grow bags. Wooden planters are an aesthetic choice but require proper lining.
  • Size: Ensure containers are proportionate to plant size, providing adequate root space.
  • Drainage: Ensure proper drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can damage plant roots.
  • Soil Mix: Use high-quality potting mix tailored for container gardening, enriched with compost for nutrients and soil conditioners like perlite for aeration.

Maintenance and Care

Regular care is vital for a thriving balcony garden. Important maintenance practices include:

  • Watering: Establish a consistent watering schedule, considering plant water needs and balcony exposure. Self-watering containers can ease this routine.
  • Pruning: Regularly prune plants to promote healthy growth and remove dead leaves.
  • Fertilizing: Use organic fertilizers to replenish nutrients periodically.
  • Pest Control: Monitor for pests and diseases, using eco-friendly treatments to maintain plant health.

Creating an Inviting Atmosphere

Beyond plants, adding decor can make balcony gardens more inviting:

  • Seating: Include compact, foldable seating options for relaxation.
  • Lighting: Install solar-powered or battery-operated lights for evening ambiance.
  • Decorative Elements: Integrate elements like decorative planters, garden statues, or wind chimes to enhance aesthetic appeal.

Balcony gardens offer a personalized, calming retreat amidst urban surroundings, enhancing the quality of life for city residents.

Public Green Spaces: Integrating Gardens into City Life

Urban gardens can significantly enhance public green spaces by promoting biodiversity, improving air quality, and providing aesthetic and recreational value. Integrating gardens into cityscapes involves thoughtful planning and collaboration among urban planners, horticulturists, and local communities. A successful integration requires addressing several key considerations:

  1. Site Selection:
    • Identify underutilized public areas such as empty lots, rooftops, and parks.
    • Evaluate soil quality, sunlight exposure, and water accessibility.
  2. Design Principles:
    • Incorporate native plant species to support local wildlife and reduce maintenance costs.
    • Utilize vertical gardens and raised beds to optimize space in densely populated areas.
    • Include pathways, seating, and signage to enhance accessibility and educational opportunities.
  3. Community Involvement:
    • Engage residents through workshops, public meetings, and volunteer programs.
    • Foster a sense of ownership by allowing community members to participate in planting and maintenance.
    • Collaborate with schools, local businesses, and non-profits to expand resources and support.
  4. Sustainable Practices:
    • Implement rainwater harvesting systems to minimize reliance on municipal water supplies.
    • Use composting methods to recycle organic waste and enrich soil quality.
    • Install solar-powered lighting and irrigation systems to reduce carbon footprint.
  5. Benefits to Urban Life:
    • Gardens serve as natural stress relievers and enhance mental well-being.
    • Public green spaces foster social interaction and community cohesion.
    • Urban gardens can provide educational platforms for teaching about ecology and sustainability.
  6. Challenges and Solutions:
    • Address issues such as vandalism and neglect by establishing clear maintenance plans and security measures.
    • Work with local authorities to navigate zoning regulations and secure funding.

Integrating gardens into public spaces requires a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to ensure they meet the needs of the urban population while promoting environmental sustainability. Achieving this balance can transform cities into greener, healthier, and more livable environments for all residents.

Smart Gardening: Using Technology to Optimize Growth

Urban gardeners can leverage an array of technologies to enhance and streamline their gardening practices. These technologies range from advanced watering systems to smart sensors that provide real-time data.

Automated Irrigation Systems

  • Drip Irrigation Kits: Efficient water usage aligns well with sustainability goals and conserves water.
  • Automated Timers: These devices ensure that plants receive water at optimal times, reducing human effort.

Smart Sensors and Monitoring

  • Soil Moisture Sensors: These sensors are crucial for maintaining appropriate soil moisture levels.
  • Light Sensors: By monitoring light levels, gardeners can adjust plant locations for optimal sunlight exposure.
  • Nutrient Sensors: Nutrient sensors ensure that soil nutrients are balanced, promoting healthy plant growth.

Mobile Applications

  • Plant Care Apps: These applications offer comprehensive databases for plant care, including watering schedules and pest control.
  • Weather Apps: Real-time weather updates help gardeners make informed decisions, protecting their plants from adverse conditions.
  • Garden Mapping Apps: These tools assist in garden layout planning for optimal space utilization.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

  • Predictive Analytics: AI-powered platforms can predict plant growth patterns and potential issues.
  • Automated Pest Control: Machine learning algorithms can help in early identification and treatment of pests and diseases.

Sustainable Urban Gardening Practices

  • Vertical Gardens: Employing vertical gardening systems maximizes space utilization in urban settings.
  • Hydroponic Systems: Soil-less cultivation methods like hydroponics enhance plant growth speed and efficiency.
  • Rainwater Harvesting: Collecting and utilizing rainwater reduces reliance on municipal water supplies and promotes sustainability.

By incorporating these technological advancements, urban gardeners can significantly improve the efficiency, sustainability, and productivity of their gardening endeavors. Smart gardening is not only a convenience but an essential strategy to create flourishing green spaces within urban environments.

Edible Landscapes: Beautifying Cities with Food-Bearing Plants

Urban landscapes are evolving with the integration of food-bearing plants, transforming cities into verdant, productive spaces. This trend not only addresses food security but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of urban environments.

Benefits of Edible Landscapes

  • Sustainability: Utilizing food-bearing plants in urban design reduces the environmental footprint, promoting local food production and reducing transportation-related emissions.
  • Health and Wellness: Access to fresh produce encourages nutritious diets, fostering healthier urban populations.
  • Biodiversity: Diverse plantings support local wildlife, from pollinators to small mammals, enhancing urban ecosystem resilience.
  • Aesthetics and Functionality: Combining beauty with functionality, these landscapes provide shade, reduce urban heat islands, and beautify cityscapes.

Key Plant Choices for Urban Edible Landscapes

  1. Fruit Trees: Citrus, apple, and pear trees thrive in urban environments, producing abundant seasonal fruit.
  2. Berry Bushes: Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries fit well into small spaces and offer high yields.
  3. Herbal Plants: Basil, rosemary, thyme, and other herbs are both culinary staples and attractive, low-maintenance choices.
  4. Vegetable Plants: Cool-season crops like leafy greens, tomatoes, and peppers can be incorporated into garden beds and container gardens.
  5. Perennial Edibles: Asparagus, artichokes, and rhubarb provide long-term productivity and visual interest.

Implementation Strategies

  • Public Spaces: Integrate fruiting plants into parks, plazas, and street medians to maximize community impact.
  • Community Gardens: Engage residents in growing food collectively, fostering social cohesion and knowledge sharing.
  • Green Roofs and Walls: Utilize vertical space effectively by planting edible species on rooftops and building facades.
  • Edible Walkways: Line pathways and sidewalks with food-bearing plants, creating interactive and productive urban trails.

Innovative Urban Projects

Incredible Edible Todmorden, UK

A grassroots initiative, this project has transformed urban spaces into communal food gardens, encouraging residents to pick freely and promoting community spirit.

New York’s High Line

This elevated park incorporates edible plants among ornamental species, demonstrating the potential for multifunctional urban green spaces.

Maintenance and Management

  • Volunteer Programs: Engage community members in upkeep, fostering stewardship and community involvement.
  • Educational Workshops: Provide training on plant care, harvesting techniques, and the benefits of edible landscaping.
  • Collaboration with Urban Planners: Liaise with city planners to ensure the integration of edible landscapes into urban development projects.

Incorporating edible landscapes into urban environments offers a multifaceted approach to addressing food security, enhancing biodiversity, and creating more livable cities.

Conclusion: Cultivating a Greener Urban Future

Urban gardening represents not only a lifestyle choice but a movement toward sustainability, community engagement, and environmental stewardship. By integrating greenery into urban areas:

  • Enhanced Air Quality: Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, contributing to cleaner, healthier air.
  • Reduced Urban Heat Island Effect: Green spaces can lower temperatures in city environments, combating excessive heat buildups, especially during summer.
  • Mental Health Benefits: Gardening is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It provides a tranquil, green refuge in bustling urban centers.
  • Community Building: Shared gardening projects foster community spirit and cooperation. Neighbors working together on community gardens bond over a common goal.
  • Food Security: Urban gardens can supplement diets with fresh, organic produce, reducing reliance on imported foods and lowering grocery bills.

Implementing urban gardening requires concerted effort and support. Cities can adopt policies that promote and facilitate these green initiatives:

  1. Spaces Allocation: Municipalities can designate plots of unused land for community gardening. Rooftop gardens on public buildings can also be encouraged.
  2. Incentives: Offering tax breaks or grants for urban gardening projects can spur involvement from residents and businesses.
  3. Educational Programs: Cities can provide workshops and resources to educate citizens on sustainable gardening practices, soil management, and crop rotations.
  4. Infrastructure Support: Access to water sources, compost facilities, and gardening tools can be facilitated by local governments to support urban garden maintenance.
  5. Partnerships: Collaborations with non-profits, schools, and businesses can amplify efforts and resources devoted to urban gardening.

The push for more urban gardens signifies a broader recognition of the need for a sustainable and interconnected future. By cultivating green spaces within cityscapes, communities can reap substantial environmental, economic, and social benefits. Through proactive measures and community engagement, urban gardening can significantly shape the evolution of greener, healthier cities.

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