DOI: 10.12924/cis2016.04010001 |Publication Date: 20 April 2016

Urban Agriculture: Fostering the Urban-Rural Continuum

Francois Mancebo 1, * and Sylvie Salles 2
1 International Research Center on Sustainability, Rheims University, Rheims, France
2 Ecole d'Architecture Paris Val de Seine, Paris, France
* Corresponding author
Abstract:

Urban agricultural projects have been mushrooming since the end of the twentieth century, reshaping urban landscapes and even the whole urban fabric, experimenting with alternatives to the traditional urban life, sometimes creating new commons, and bringing people together. Within a city, farmers, gardeners, and their neighbors share more than just fence lines. Cities already have a huge potential for farming. Three examples can be observed in very different cities around the World: Singapore, is fully self-reliant in meat, Bamako is self-sufficient in vegetables, and in Berlin there are 80,000 community gardens on communal land and 16,000 more people are on a waiting-list [1]. And this is just the beginning; in many cities new unbuilt areas emerge in the wake of deindustrialization (derelict lands, wastelands, brownfields, etc.), or as a consequence of urban shrinking due to aging populations (as in Japan or Germany), or of emigration (as in some African mid-sized cities). These new areas are a wonderful opportunity for urban agriculture. In Detroit, thousands hectares of urban land have been given over to unemployed workers for food growing. In Britain, urban agriculture has been promoted on wastelands of 20 cities by their various councils [2]. Urban agriculture is gradually becoming a planning policy option. In Delft, the planners of the city already combine urban agriculture with several other land uses in their planning documents; in Paris, an inclusive local land development plan protects agricultural landscapes [3,4]. Urban agriculture is neither—or no more—the short-lived remnant of a rural culture nor the hipsters' latest futile craze.

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