The objective of the paper is to discuss local gardening initiatives where citizens jointly design and use public space in a socially and ecologically sustainable manner. Particular focus is placed on the driving forces within the initiative and the underlying processes identified in the contact between citizens and the local authorities. What can we learn from these citizen-initiated gardens in public space? The main focus is on an aspect of society that is of profound importance to the achievement of sustainable development, namely the relation between structural forces (top-down policies) and local practice (bottom-up initiatives). Local practice, in this context, is regarded as the more or less invisible patterns of social behaviour taking place in everyday meetings between people. In one approach to development towards a sustainable society public authorities and organizations try to change people´s patterns of behaviour through interventions in their everyday life. In another approach people themselves take the initiative and develop ways of acting towards sustainable development. The research issue is highly interdisciplinary and the research field covers several subjects and fields of knowledge. The theoretical framework revolves around the citizen and public space with a focus on participation and deliberative democracy. Further it deals with urban planning and sustainable development, where collaborative planning, capacity building and facilitators are concepts of interest. Of equal importance are the local context, the specific situation and the inherent contradiction between the concepts of space and place and the implications it has on planning, community-making and sustainable development. For aiming at social movements and sustainable development sociological theories concerning for example lifestyles are also interesting. The approach is mainly qualitative. Following an initial survey to identify interesting cases, case studies were carried out in three municipalities. Each case have been subjected to in-depth interviews, participatory observation, photographing, interviews with visitors and the collecting of written original sources. The treatment and analysis of the collected material is in progress. Obtained results are related to an international object of reference. The garden is a resource in the town district, providing an opportunity for meetings between people of different backgrounds and generations and between various individuals and groups in society. The garden is not the goal in itself, but rather it works as a means of creating involvement, social solidarity and an active local community. A common practice is developed through people’s acting together in a place, and may compose the fertile ground for the trying out and establishing of new ways of acting towards sustainable development. The project is expected to contribute to the understanding of conditions of social interaction and, the ability to communicate in connection with the planning and management of urban public space, which may contribute to a renewal of municipal planning practice