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The Factory in a GardenA History of Corporate Landscapes from the Industrial to the Digital Age$
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Helena Chance

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784993009

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784993009.001.0001

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Factory gardens and parks: profits or perks?

Factory gardens and parks: profits or perks?

(p.170) 7 Factory gardens and parks: profits or perks?
The Factory in a Garden

Helena Chance

Manchester University Press

Corporate landscapes were designed for their potential to improve the quality of working life and they became powerful symbols of ideal conditions in industry. However, the suggestion that gardens are ‘an ideal’ in social and welfare reform presents a paradox because the corporate garden is a space both liberating and controlling. Power relations and structures between labour and capital and between men and women in the use and management of the gardens and recreation grounds were complex. The privately owned grounds were subject to regulations and management expectations, but power operates in society from the ‘bottom up’ as well as ‘top down’ and as Henri Lefebvre and others have argued, power can be found in the spaces between dominant power structures. Therefore some employees therefore benefited from the opportunities afforded by the gardens and recreation grounds, while others resented them for replacing fair wages and did not use them. The potential benefits to employees depended on many factors and so are difficult to evaluate. The value of factory gardens to industry is therefore more clearly seen in its contribution to profitability through public relations, rather than in an increase in the job satisfaction of the workforce.

Keywords:   Corporate identity, Power, Trade union, Lefebvre, Foucault

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