Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture

Abstract Urban agriculture (UA) is spreading within the Global North, largely for food production, ranging from household individual gardens to community gardens that boost neighborhood regeneration. Additionally, UA is also being integrated into buildings, such as urban rooftop farming (URF). Some URF experiences succeed in North America both as private and community initiatives. To date, little attention has been paid to how stakeholders perceive UA and URF in the Mediterranean or to the role of food production in these initiatives. This study examines the promotion and inclusion of new forms of UA through the practice of URF and contributes to the nascent literature on the stakeholder and public perceptions of UA. It seeks to understand how those perceptions shape the development of new urban agriculture practices and projects. Barcelona (Spain) was used as a Mediterranean case study where UA and URF projects are growing in popularity. Through semistructured interviews with 25 core stakeholders, we show that UA is largely perceived as a social activity rather than a food production initiative, because the planning of urban gardens in Barcelona was traditionally done to achieve leisure and other social goals. However, several stakeholders highlighted the potential to increase urban fertility through URF by occupying currently unused spaces. As a result, the positive valuation of URF depends on the conceptualization of UA as a social or food production activity. In turn, such conceptualization shapes barriers and opportunities for the development of URF. While most UA-related stakeholders (e.g., food co-ops, NGOs) preferred soil-based UA, newer stakeholders (e.g., architects) highlighted the economic, social and environmental opportunities of local and efficient food production through innovative URF.

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Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture

Abstract Urban agriculture (UA) is spreading within the Global North, largely for food production, ranging from household individual gardens to community gardens that boost neighborhood regeneration. Additionally, UA is also being integrated into buildings, such as urban rooftop farming (URF). Some URF experiences succeed in North America both as private and community initiatives. To date, little attention has been paid to how stakeholders perceive UA and URF in the Mediterranean or to the role of food production in these initiatives. This study examines the promotion and inclusion of new forms of UA through the practice of URF and contributes to the nascent literature on the stakeholder and public perceptions of UA. It seeks to understand how those perceptions shape the development of new urban agriculture practices and projects. Barcelona (Spain) was used as a Mediterranean case study where UA and URF projects are growing in popularity. Through semistructured interviews with 25 core stakeholders, we show that UA is largely perceived as a social activity rather than a food production initiative, because the planning of urban gardens in Barcelona was traditionally done to achieve leisure and other social goals. However, several stakeholders highlighted the potential to increase urban fertility through URF by occupying currently unused spaces. As a result, the positive valuation of URF depends on the conceptualization of UA as a social or food production activity. In turn, such conceptualization shapes barriers and opportunities for the development of URF. While most UA-related stakeholders (e.g., food co-ops, NGOs) preferred soil-based UA, newer stakeholders (e.g., architects) highlighted the economic, social and environmental opportunities of local and efficient food production through innovative URF.

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Urban agriculture and the prospects for deep democracy

The interest in and enthusiasm for urban agriculture (UA) in urban communities, the non-profit sector, and governmental institutions has grown exponentially over the past decade. Part of the appeal of UA is its potential to improve the civic health of a community, advancing what some call food democracy. Yet despite the increasing presence of the language of civic agriculture or food democracy, UA organizations and practitioners often still focus on practical, shorter-term projects in an effort both to increase local involvement and to attract funding from groups focused on quantifiable deliverables. As such, it seems difficult to move beyond the rhetoric of food democracy towards significant forms of popular participation and deliberation within particular communities. In this paper we provide a theoretical framework—deep democracy—that helps to contextualize nascent attempts at civic agriculture or food democracy within a broader struggle for democratic practices and relationships. We argue that urban agriculture efforts are well positioned to help citizens cultivate lasting relationships across lines of difference and amidst significant power differentials—relationships that could form the basis of a community’s collective capacity to shape its future. We analyze the theory of deep democracy through recent experiences with UA in Denver, Colorado, and we identify ways in which UA can extend its reach and impact by focusing more consciously on its political or civic potential.

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Urban agriculture and the prospects for deep democracy

The interest in and enthusiasm for urban agriculture (UA) in urban communities, the non-profit sector, and governmental institutions has grown exponentially over the past decade. Part of the appeal of UA is its potential to improve the civic health of a community, advancing what some call food democracy. Yet despite the increasing presence of the language of civic agriculture or food democracy, UA organizations and practitioners often still focus on practical, shorter-term projects in an effort both to increase local involvement and to attract funding from groups focused on quantifiable deliverables. As such, it seems difficult to move beyond the rhetoric of food democracy towards significant forms of popular participation and deliberation within particular communities. In this paper we provide a theoretical framework—deep democracy—that helps to contextualize nascent attempts at civic agriculture or food democracy within a broader struggle for democratic practices and relationships. We argue that urban agriculture efforts are well positioned to help citizens cultivate lasting relationships across lines of difference and amidst significant power differentials—relationships that could form the basis of a community’s collective capacity to shape its future. We analyze the theory of deep democracy through recent experiences with UA in Denver, Colorado, and we identify ways in which UA can extend its reach and impact by focusing more consciously on its political or civic potential.

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The boundaries of urban metabolism Towards a political–industrial ecology

This paper considers the limits and potential of ‘urban metabolism’ to conceptualize city processes. Three ‘ecologies’ of urban metabolism have emerged. Each privileges a particular dimension of urban space, shaped by epistemology, politics, and model-making. Marxist ecologies theorize it as hybridized socio-natures that (re)produce uneven outcomes; industrial ecology, as stocks and flows of materials and energy; and urban ecology, as complex socio-ecological systems. We map these scholarly islands through bibliometric analysis and literature review (1965-2012), unveiling how the metaphor has become stagnant. To reinvigorate this research we propose the development of political–industrial ecology, using urban metabolism as a boundary metaphor.

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École d’agriculture urbaine – du 10 au 14 août 2015

Pour une 7e édition, du 10 au 14 août 2014, se tiendra à l'Université du Québec à Montréal, l’École d’été sur l’agriculture urbaine du Laboratoire d'agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB) et du Collectif de recherche en aménagement paysager et agriculture urbaine durable (CRAPAUD). Cet événement, organisé avec la collaboration de l’Institut des sciences de l’environnement de l’UQÀM (ISE), réunit chaque année près de 200 participant(e)s issu(e)s de l'ensemble du Québec et de la Francophonie pour 5 jours de formation intensive s’articulant autour d’un apprentissage à la fois théorique et pratique. Rassemblant des citoyen(ne)s, des chercheur(e)s, des étudiant(e)s, des acteur(trice)s de l’agriculture urbaine et des professionnel(le)s de divers horizons, cette école d’été a pour vocation de susciter des débats, des rencontres et un partage d’expériences. Pour ce faire la programmation aborde autant l’urbanisme agricole, l’action citoyenne, les villes en santé, etc. Le tout dans une perspective d’élaboration d’un système alimentaire urbain viable, de justice alimentaire, sans oublier une volonté de réseautage et de co-création. Cette année encore, la formation s’organisera autour d’un apprentissage théorique et pratique qui s’appuiera sur l’intervention de spécialistes autour de tables rondes, de retours d’expérience, d’ateliers pratiques et de visites sur le terrain. En outre, dans chaque volet les participants et participantes seront amenés à concevoir des aménagements de jardins soit résidentiels ou institutionnels, des aménagements de quartiers nourriciers ou de fermes urbaines. Des projets qui incluront la production maraîchère, mais aussi la production de miel, de champignons, ou l'élevage de petits animaux dans une vision de production alimentaire, mais aussi de verdissement de la ville, de gestion écologique des parcs, etc.. Une place importante sera aussi accordée aux échanges et discussions, ainsi qu’aux interactions entrent les intervenant(e)s et les participant(e)s. Nous espérons que vous trouverez durant cette 7e École d'été des connaissances et de l’inspiration pour poursuivre ou initier des projets en agriculture urbaine, chez vous, à votre travail, dans les écoles, dans votre quartier!

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Pratiques, politiques publiques et territoires : construire une géographie agricole des villes

"Construire une géographie agricole des villes résume le projet scientifique élaboré pour notre HDR. La géographie dont il est question porte sur le devenir des activités agricoles dans et autour des villes, sur les transformations des relations ville-agriculture, et sur l'insertion de l'agriculture dans les politiques de la ville durable. En effet, cultiver les milieux urbanisés est une caractéristique de l'agriculture contemporaine. Pays du Nord et pays du Sud sont concernés. Le phénomène de l'agriculture urbaine est mondial. Pratiques, politiques publiques et territoires sont trois concepts qui fondent notre regard géographique sur les transformations du secteur agricole et du métier d'agriculteur. La géographie que nous proposons porte sur la description fine des pratiques quotidiennes des agriculteurs dans leur travail et sur leur spatialisation. Elle s'intéresse aussi à l'analyse des dispositifs territoriaux qui agencent pratiques habitantes, espaces d'action et projets politiques en vue d'offrir une configuration organisationnelle propice au développement. Par cette confrontation entre pratiques et politiques publiques dans les territoires, notre approche géographique est tournée vers l'action, avec le double objectif de produire des connaissances scientifiques et d'élaborer des outils pour accompagner les acteurs du développement. Dans notre mémoire d'HDR, nous exposons nos résultats par domaine de recherche : l'environnement, le territoire et la ville."

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La politique des périmètres d’urbanisation est-elle pertinente ? Le cas de la région métropolitaine de Portland, Oregon

"The Portland Metropolitan Area, OR, is known for introducing growth boundaries to contain urban sprawl in the United States of America. This controversial policy is charged of pushing up housing price and intensifying road congestion. This paper updates the debate by examining the existing empirical evidences up to 2010 in comparison with other metropolitan areas where urban growth is less regulated. Portland’s regional planning’s results are mixed. It contains urban growth efficiently, but it also has unwanted side-effects that support the Conservative’s critics of regional planning."

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SIRC webinar #4: URBACT and innovative practice in European cities – Cities for People

"How is the city of Turin, Italy, encouraging its public employees to be more innovative? How are Swedish cities using public procurement to drive low carbon food production and healthier eating in schools? What are Rotterdam, Glasgow and Tampere doing to stimulate youth entrepreneurship? This webinar, the fourth in the Social Innovation & Resilience in Cities (#SIRCities) series co-hosted by Cities for People and Social Innovation Generation, will open a window on innovative practice in Europe’s cities. The focus will be on the practical ways they are tackling some of our biggest economic, environmental and social challenges. Drawing from the experience of URBACT, the EU’s Paris-based learning and exchange programme for cities, the webinar will also examine how cities learn from one another. This will include insights into the tools being used to build urban stakeholder capacity in Europe."

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Environmental Justice — University of East Anglia — FutureLearn

"This free online course will help you understand how injustice is a common feature of many environmental problems. Over 10 weeks, we’ll look at deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change and other environmental issues,"

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L’agriculture en ville : un projet urbain comme un autre – Métropolitiques

"À l’heure où les métropoles occidentales se rêvent en villes vertes et durables, diverses initiatives méritent l’attention des acteurs locaux. C’est en particulier le cas de l’agriculture urbaine, qui représente une réponse locale permettant une exploitation de la nature en ville. Quelles sont alors les conditions pour que cette forme d’agriculture soit valorisée comme un réel projet de territoire ?"

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