Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1

Urban Agriculture: Fostering the Urban-Rural Continuum

doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010001 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
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
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Publication Date: 20 April 2016

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.

doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010003 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
Pierre Donadieu
National School of Landscape Architecture of Versailles, Versailles, France
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Publication Date: 25 April 2016

There are several categories of urban agriculture which need to be distinguished if we want to efficiently feed urban inhabitants with local agricultural produce while benefiting from other functions filled by urban agricultural landscapes: namely, eco-systemic functions or ecological and social functions. The second function will focus on methods to regulate unbuilt land in urban areas which have virtually no regulations and others which have strict controls preventing construction. The last will consist of possibilities to build, what I would refer to as, urban agricultural commons: in other words, tangible and intangible resources produced with farmers and gardeners for the inhabitants; for their local consumption and for the quality of the living environment, based on a political principle for common action. The concept of common is derived from the works of socioeconomist E. Ostrom (1990; [1]) and French philosophers P. Dardot et C. Laval (2014; [2]): “What is built in common”. It was applied to urban agriculture and landscape (Donadieu, 2012, 2014; [3,4]). The concept of urban agriculture has been used worldwide in the last twenty years by researchers, especially in France by A. Fleury (2005; [5]) and P. Donadieu(1998; [6]), in Mediterranean regions (Nasr and Padilla, 2004; [7]), in Asia, Africa and North and South America—all through the publications of the Resource Centres Urban Agriculture & Food Security (RUAF; [8]).

doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010010 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
François Mancebo
International Research Center on Sustainability, Rheims University, Rheims, France
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Publication Date: 17 May 2016

May urban agriculture be the cornerstone that helps reconfigure more sustainable cities and if so, under which conditions? And if so, what type of urban agriculture? Such are the two issues underlying this article. Why not counteracting urban sprawl by fostering what could be called “rural sprawl”, by introducing nature and rural characteristics such as farming within the city, in its interstitial areas and wastelands? In this perspective, urban agriculture becomes a common good, bringing people together and reshaping the whole urban fabric that would eventually propose a radical remaking of the urban. Urban agriculture lends particularly well to long-lasting urban policies, especially those turning environmental “bads”—such as brownfields and wastelands—into environmental “goods” and urban amenities. Urban agriculture in interstitial abandoned urban areas may be one of cities’ main seedbeds of creative innovation. It is all about the right to decide and the power to create, renewing and deepening what Henri Lefebvre called The Right to the City.

doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010020 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
Antonia Djmela Bousbaine 1 and Christopher Robin Bryant 2, 3, *
1 Department of Geography, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
2 School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
3 Department of Geography, University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 24 May 2016

How can research contribute more directly to promoting and leading to sustainable solutions and projects? This article suggests that one of the most important research approaches capable of achieving this is the Action Research approach. This involves the researcher taking on a number of roles when working with other actors (e.g. citizens, farmers, local elected officials, citizen associations, government representatives. . . with the specific set of actors depending upon the nature of the subject being investigated and for which solutions are sought). The roles that the researcher can play involve providing appropriate information to the other actors, providing counseling to them, organizing and animating meetings with the actors, and accompanying the whole process involving all the actors. These roles are essentially played out by the researcher when the other actors request the researcher to assume whichever roles they consider to be significant. The fundamental notion is that through this process the actors appropriate the sustainable solutions as their own, and the researcher helps them achieve this. This article is based on: a) a synthesis of pertinent research using the Action Research approach (specifically in relation to sustainable agricultural systems in periurban territories), and b) specific research undertaken by the two co-authors of the article, all in the context of periurban agricultural systems during the last 8 years, as well as on some of their publications. The necessary characteristics of Action Research and the researchers involved are identified, namely: a) patience; b) an emphasis on process; and c) an emphasis on participation on the part of multiple actors.

Research Article  
Cultivating the Glocal Garden
pp. 28-38
doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010028 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
Matthijs Hisschemoller
Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Publication Date: 18 July 2016

This paper addresses the question under which conditions small-scale urban agriculture (UA) initiatives can accelerate a sustainability transition of the global food system. It develops the notion of a glocal garden, a large number of likeminded local initiatives with a global impact and forms of worldwide collaboration. Taking a transition perspective, the glocal garden, producing vegetables and fruits, is a niche that has to overcome barriers to compete with the dominant food regime. Since a sustainability transition restructures (policy) sectors, institutional domains including knowledge systems, the paper explores which innovations are needed for the glocal garden to succeed. It discusses the glocal garden as an environmental, a social, an economic and a global project. As an environmental project, the glocal garden will link sustainable production of food with renewable energy production. As a social project, it will be organized into a consumers’ cooperative. As an economic project, it will strive for profit, increasing the yield in a sustainable manner. As a global project, it will enhance collaboration between local cooperatives in the North and the South, as well as with rural agriculture. Under these conditions, the glocal garden can develop into a power, able to resist a possible future food regime that splits societies, in terms of quality standards and food products, into haves and have-nots.

doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010039 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
Charles M. Rogers 1, * and Colleen C. Hiner 1
1 Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 22 August 2016

Green infrastructure refers to a type of land use design that mimics the natural water cycle by using the infiltration capacities of vegetation, soils, and other natural processes to mitigate stormwater runoff. As a multifunctional landscape, urban agriculture should be seen as a highly beneficial tool for urban planning not only because of its ability to function as a green stormwater management strategy, but also due to the multiple social and environmental benefits it provides. In 2012, the city of Austin adopted a major planning approach titled the “Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan” (IACP) outlining the city’s vision for future growth and land use up to 2039. The plan explicitly addresses the adoption of green infrastructure as a target for future land use with urban agriculture as a central component. Addressing this area of land use planning will require tools that can locate suitable areas within the city ideal for the development of green infrastructure. In this study, a process was developed to create a spatially explicit method of siting urban agriculture as a green infrastructure tool in hydrologically sensitive areas, or areas prone to runoff, in east Austin. The method uses geospatial software to spatially analyze open access datasets that include land use, a digital elevation model, and prime farmland soils. Through this method a spatial relationship can be made between areas of high surface runoff and where the priority placement of urban farms should be sited as a useful component of green infrastructure. Planners or geospatial analysts could use such information, along with other significant factors and community input, to aid decision makers in the placement of urban agriculture. This spatially explicit approach for siting potential urban farms, will support the integration of urban agriculture as part of the land use planning of Austin.

doi: 10.12924/cis2016.04010054 | Volume 4 (2016) | Issue 1
Ilenia Pierantoni 1, * and Massimo Sargolini 2
1 Terre.it, Spin-off of the University of Camerino, Sarnano, Italy
2 School of Architecture and Design, University of Camerino, Ascoli Piceno, Italy
* Corresponding author
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Publication Date: 27 January 2017

The relation between "urban" and "rural" has changed and developed over the last few decades. The present contribution focuses on how the relationship between these two entities has developed, highlighting how it corresponds to a growing complexity and interdependence among the two. Awareness has increased that to the extent that proper management of these interdependences can contribute to solve problems, increase economic performance and also make a contribution to a higher quality of life in and around urban areas. In this framework, green infrastructures and agriculture practices in urban areas are discussed. The contribution concludes by suggesting strategies and actions for the proper implementation of green infrastructures and urban agriculture practices at regional and local scales.

ISSN: 2297-6477
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