Urbanization and achieving sustainable agriculture are both major societal challenges. By reducing food miles and connecting people with nature, food cultivation in cities has several major advantages. However, due to further urban development (peri-) urban agriculture (UPA) is under threat. To strengthen UPA, we argue for considering UPA as a nature-based solution (NbS) supporting systemic approaches for societal challenges. However, academic knowledge on UPA’s contribution to various societal challenges of urbanization is still fragmented. This study addresses the gap by conducting a systemic literature review, incorporating 166 academic articles focusing on the global north. The results of the review show that UPA contributes to ten key societal challenges of urbanization: climate change, food security, biodiversity and ecosystem services, agricultural intensification, resource efficiency, urban renewal and regeneration, land management, public health, social cohesion, and economic growth. The value of UPA is its multifunctionality in providing social, economic and environmental co-benefits and ecosystem services. When implementing UPA, social, institutional, economic, technical, geographical, and ecological drivers and constraints need to be considered. To upscale UPA successfully, the study develops an integrative assessment framework for evaluating the implementation and impact efficiency of UPA. This framework should be tested based on the example of edible cities
This Article examines the emergence of food access as a policy issue, current approaches to increasing food access, and possible alternatives. Part I discusses the development of the current food access narrative, focusing on its appeal to policymakers, urban planners, and public health officials. Part II describes policies to increase access to food retail. Part III reviews research on the relationship between food retail and health outcomes. Part IV examines why increasing food access persists as a policy goal despite its demonstrated failure to reduce health inequities. Finally, Part V proposes alternative strategies for reducing economic and health disparities within food systems.
The world has experienced rapid urbanization over the past five decades, with resulting substantial changes to the food system. Strong urbanization is associated with economic growth, which allows for investment in substantial increases in energy, water, and land used in intensive agriculture required to support urban populations. Given the cost of moving goods from distant regions, there has been a growth of small-scale agriculture within urban areas to meet the needs of its population. In this paper, we will describe satellite remote sensing data and methods that can identify urban and peri-urban farms and gardens in the United States and in developing countries, starting with global approaches and then providing case studies that explore different techniques. An examination of the increasing importance of local food to urban populations, and the role remote sensing can play in identifying where urban farming is occurring and its change through time will conclude the article.
Community gardening is one of myriad ways in which humans and nature interact. A primary objective of the study was to ascertain the impact of the Community Greening program on new participants. Of specific interest was the inherent need to better articulate both the self-perceived and observed benefits in terms of physical, social, emotional and social health. Based on this premise, we conducted a mixed-method study, which utilised qualitative and quantitative methods to gain deeper insight into the diverse experiences of participation in Community Greening. Through these dual lenses, the research captured the gardeners’ self-reported impact on wellbeing, social engagement, and educational outcomes. These findings were then triangulated alongside data obtained from the garden site staff who were administered an open-ended questionnaire at the conclusion of the study
How and why is urban agriculture taken up into local food policies and sustainability plans? This paper uses a case study of urban agriculture policymaking in New York City from 2007 to 2011 to examine the power-laden operation of urban environmental governance. It explores several ‘faces of power,’ including overt authority, institutionalized ‘rules of the game,’ and hegemony. It also investigates how multiple actors interact in policymaking processes, including through the construction and use of broad discursive concepts. Findings draw upon analysis of policy documents and semi-structured interviews with 43 subjects engaged in food systems policymaking. Some municipal decision-makers questioned the significance of urban agriculture, due to the challenges of quantifying its benefits and the relative scarcity of open space in the developed city. Yet, these challenges proved insufficient to prevent a coalition of civic activists working in collaboration with public officials to envision plans on food policy that included urban agriculture. Actors created the ‘local/regional food system’ as a narrative concept in order to build broad coalitions and gain entry to the municipal policy sphere. Tracing the roll-out of plans reveals the way in which both the food systems concept and specific policy proposals were repeated and legitimized. Unpacking the dynamics of this iterative policymaking contributes to an understanding of how urban environmental governance happens in this case.
Urban agriculture appears to be a means to combat the environmental pressure of increasing urbanization and food demand. However, there is hitherto limited knowledge of the efficiency and scaling up of practices of urban farming. Here, we review the claims on urban agriculture’s comparative performance relative to conventional food production. Our main findings are as follows: (1) benefits, such as reduced embodied greenhouse gases, urban heat island reduction, and storm water mitigation, have strong support in current literature. (2) Other benefits such as food waste minimization and ecological footprint reduction require further exploration. (3) Urban agriculture benefits to both food supply chains and urban ecosystems vary considerably with system type. To facilitate the comparison of urban agriculture systems we propose a classification based on (1) conditioning of the growing space and (2) the level of integration with buildings. Lastly, we compare the predicted environmental performance of the four main types of urban agriculture that arise through the application of the taxonomy. The findings show how taxonomy can aid future research on the intersection of urban food production and the larger material and energy regimes of cities (the “urban metabolism”).
Depuis plusieurs années, la question du système alimentaire prend de l'ampleur à Montréal. De nombreuses initiatives en agriculture urbaine (AU) prennent racine dans la métropole par une réappropriation citoyenne de l'espace public. Elles prennent la forme de jardins communautaires et collectifs, ou bien pour innover vers d'autres formes de production alimentaire en milieu urbain (toits verts, jardins à partager, etc.), mais sans toutefois réussir à se pérenniser dans l'espace et le temps. Dans ce contexte, ce mémoire analyse la dimension géopolitique de la production alimentaire présente sur le territoire montréalais. Il aspire à mettre en lumière les raisons, les acteurs et les effets sur la ville de Montréal, spécifiquement sur l'arrondissement du Plateau-Mont-Royal, et d'analyser les interactions externes et internes entre les différents acteurs de l'AU, ainsi que les représentations et dynamiques territoriales qui les accompagnent et les soutiennent. Elle vise donc à mettre en évidence les interactions des acteurs locaux, régionaux et nationaux pour voir dans quelle mesure la question de l'AU est un objet de tensions entre les acteurs par l'interprétation de leurs représentations sociales et territoriales. L'originalité de ce travail réside dans le fait qu'il constitue la première tentative à l'étude d'une géopolitique locale de l'AU. Ce mémoire s'attache à démontrer la pertinence géographique dans son cadre d'analyse et méthodologique. L'analyse fait preuve ici de sa capacité à être opérationnalisé dans une recherche priorisant la méthode géopolitique. Les résultats obtenus permettent d'élargir les connaissances sur la question des potentialités, des acteurs et des représentations de l'AU sur le territoire montréalais et d'ouvrir de nouvelles perspectives sur la matière. La viabilité de l'AU est fonction de la prise en compte des spécificités du territoire, des politiques municipales, des représentations socio-territoriales des différents acteurs, des potentialités et des interactions entre les fonctions économiques, sociales et environnementales d'un territoire urbain. Malgré une forte volonté citoyenne pour l'implantation de projets en AU sur le territoire montréalais, leur viabilité en est toutefois diminuée sans un soutien politique, par l'intermédiaire de politiques municipales, de programmes de subvention à court et long terme, et d'une accessibilité à des espaces cultivables peu dispendieux. Avec l'appui du politique, les projets en AU augmentent leur probabilité à être pérenniser dans l'espace et le temps
Urban parcels can potentially be leveraged for developing a local urban food system by growing high yield food crops. Here, a remote sensing and GIS-based modeling framework was developed to locate and quantify available area for urban farming, including both rooftop and ground level areas in the city of Boston, MA, USA. Geoprocessing and spatial analysis tools were used to process geographic data layers for zoning, ownership, slope, soil quality, and adequate light availability. Surface slope (roof pitch) was determined for all buildings in the city through the creation of a digital surface map from remotely sensed LiDAR data. Potential parcels from ground level public and private vacant lots and underutilized residential and commercial areas were mapped using publicly available datasets. Approximately 922 ha of rooftop and 1,250 ha of ground level parcels have been identified, representing 7.4% and 10% of the total land area in Boston, respectively. Finally, food yield values for common urban agricultural crops were used to estimate the city’s food production potential from the identified parcels. Despite Boston’s density, the mapped areas have potential to produce enough fresh fruits and vegetables for Boston’s population, while providing both environmental and economic co-benefits. The study outcome was compared with mapping and inventory results from other North American cities.
The number of gardening-based mental health interventions is increasing, yet when the literature was last reviewed in 2003, limited evidence of their effectiveness was identified. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the current evidence-base for gardening-based mental health interventions and projects through examining their reported benefits and the quality of research in this field.
Demand for urban allotment plots has recently increased in Portugal but little is known about the characteristics and motivations of the demanding population, and if and how its characteristics affect its motivations. In this article, we use the Municipal Network of Urban Allotment Gardens (MNUAG)1 launched by the Portuguese municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia for an exploratory Case Study research. Based on the data collected in the MNUAG application forms submitted in the period 2012–2013, we describe the characteristics and the motivations of the population demanding for urban allotment gardens (UAG)2 and run a logit model to find if and how the motivations are influenced by the characteristics. The population of applicants to the MNUAG is quite diverse. It has a balanced gender distribution and an average age of 47 years. Most of the applicants are between 25 and 64 years old, and belong to households with 2–4 members. To supplement family budget, occupation of leisure times, and access to organic farming are its most important motivations, followed by environmental concerns, the practice of physical exercise, and education. Motivations are influenced by the characteristics. This study has identified two groups of applicants with contrasting motivations. Food security is the only significant motivation for the unemployed and low-income applicants. Food safety, health concerns, environmental concerns, recreation, and education are common and frequent motivations among the upper and intermediate professional groups. Results can have future implications on the MNUAG, namely on the UAG location and typology, plot number, and plot size. To meet the demand of all the types of applicants, while fostering social cohesion, the municipality should reinforce its current small UAG structure and add to the MNUAG one or two productive parks.
L'agriculture urbaine est devenue en moins de vingt ans un sujet d'actualité politique et scientifique. La dimension multifonctionnelle de cette agriculture (souveraineté alimentaire urbaine, contribution au lien social, fourniture de services écosystémiques) est, plus qu'ailleurs, essentielle. Les modèles agricoles orthodoxes s'incorporent imparfaitement à ce cadre et, surtout, prennent difficilement place dans des espaces où la contrainte foncière est très forte. Les solutions à mettre en oeuvre sont donc à chercher en dehors de cette orthodoxie. La permaculture, cadre d'action de fermes déjà existantes, représente une alternative innovante et prometteuse, mais les systèmes et les pratiques qui s'y inscrivent demeurent très mal connus. Ce projet s'intéresse à ces systèmes, en s'appuyant sur une approche de modélisation qui permette de dépasser l'obstacle du faible nombre de situations observables. Il sera conduit en collaboration directe avec les agriculteurs innovateurs, dans une posture revendiquée de recherche-action. L'ambition est de construire un modèle conceptuel formalisé mathématiquement, dont l'exploration aboutisse à un ensemble de « métarègles » pour la définition et la conduite des systèmes maraichers éco-intensifs appropriés au contexte urbain, permettant aussi bien à des scientifiques qu'aux acteurs de terrain de répondre à la question « comment concevoir des règles dans le contexte donné » plutôt qu'à la question « quelles règles appliquer ». Abtract Urban agriculture became in less than twenty years a political and scientific current topic. The multifunctional dimension of this agriculture (urban food sovereignty, contribution to the social link, supply of ecosystem services) is, more than elsewhere, essential. The orthodox agricultural models fit imperfectly this framework and are hardly applied in spaces where the land constraint is very strong. The solutions to be implemented are thus to seek apart from this orthodoxy. Permaculture is the action frame of already existing farms, represents an innovative and promising alternative, but their systems and practices remain badly known. This PhD project is focused on such systems, by leaning on a modeling approach of their ecological and economic viability which allows overtaking the obstacle of the low number of observable situations. It will be led in direct collaboration with innovating farmers, in an asserted posture of research -action. The ambition is to build a mathematically formalized conceptual model, whose exploration leads to a set of meta-rules for the definition and the management of market-gardening systems appropriate to an urban context, allowing as well scientists as practitioners and policy-makers to answer the question "how to design rules in a given context" rather than in the question "what rules are to be applied.
Community-based efforts are essential to address urban social–ecological challenges. Here, we focus on French community gardens. Through participant observation and semistructured interviews, this study seeks to provide empirical evidence on: (1) what motivates volunteer gardeners in French community gardens to undertake this activity, (2) what practices take place in the gardens, and (3) which individual and collective processes are associated with gardeners' experiences in the gardens. Through these questions, we aim to understand how these initiatives relate to environmental stewardship. Our results show that environmental, social, and self-motivations are the drivers behind gardeners' participation in the gardens. It seems that involvement in the gardens provides opportunities to fulfill those needs and/or motives through different interrelated processes between the individual with him/herself, the human collective, and nature such as: contemplating nature and benefiting from sensory experiences, having access to environmental education, experiencing individual and collective organization, renewing social–ecological relationships, and facing local challenges. We note that French community gardens provide arenas for new experiences of nature. In addition, even if gardens’ biophysical features and gardening practices allow a series of processes that provide social and ecological benefits and outcomes, these gardens refer to environmental stewardship practices by cultivating relational values. These values provide opportunities for innovative ways of creative conservation, reflecting how care for ourselves extends to care for others, for places, and for nature.
School gardens have beneficial effects on children's dietary behaviors but information on its implementation is scarce. The current study aimed to gain insight in implementation practices of school gardens and in perceptions of key members and children towards a school garden. We conducted twelve interviews involving 14 key members and five focus groups with 38 children from fifth to sixth grade (10-13 years old) in four primary schools in Ghent (Flanders, Belgium). We analyzed the interviews and focus groups in NVivo, using thematic analysis. School gardens were mainly initiated to involve children in nature, not to improve vegetable consumption. Participants were positive about having a school garden, experienced facilitating factors (e.g., adaptability of the garden, having a person responsible for the garden), but also various barriers (e.g., difficulties with startup, maintenance during summer holidays and integration in the school curriculum) and suggested some solutions (e.g., involving external organizations and parents, expanding the garden) and motivating factors for children (e.g., colorful plants, use of gloves). In order to improve implementation and to contribute to children's health, future school gardening projects should take the recommendations of key members and children into account.
Urban farming, especially on rooftops, is a popular and growing topic in both the media and the scientific literature, providing a genuine opportunity to meet some of the challenges linked to urban development worldwide. However, relatively little attention has been paid to date to the growing medium of green roofs, i.e., Technosols. A better understanding of the influence of Technosols and the link with ecosystem services is required in order to maximize the environmental benefits of urban rooftop farming. Between March 2013 and March 2015, a pilot project called T4P (Parisian Productive rooftoP, Pilot Experiment) was conducted on the rooftop of AgroParisTech University. Urban organic waste was used, and results were compared with those obtained using a commercial potting soil, based on yield and trace metal concentrations, substrate characterization, and the amount of leaching. An assessment of the ecosystem services expected from the Technosols was undertaken in terms of the output of food (food production and quality), regulation of water runoff (quantity and quality), and the recycling of organic waste. Indicators of these ecosystem services (e.g., yield, annual loss of mass of mineral nitrogen) were identified, measured, and compared with reference cases (asphalt roof, green roof, and cropland). Measured yields were almost equivalent to those obtained from horticultural sources in the same area, and the Technosols also retained 74–84% of the incoming rainfall water. This is the first quantitative analysis of ecosystem services delivered by urban garden rooftops developed on organic wastes, and demonstrates their multifunctional character, as well as allowing the identification of trade-offs. An ecosystem services approach is proposed for the design of soil-based green infrastructure of this kind and more generally for the design of sustainable urban agriculture.