Urban Agriculture Magazine no.15 - Multiple Functions of Urban Agriculture

Dec 1, 2005
City authorities of growing cities have to cope with a diversity of needs of their citizens. Increasingly, they see the relation between agriculture in and immediately around cities and many urban issues. Open green spaces in the city may combine different functions, such as an improvement of access to fresh perishable food with a healthy environment, leisure or sports and a connection to the rural and natural. Municipal authorities all over the world have come to understand the role urban and periurban farmers can play in maintaining these green zones in the city and likewise, innovative farmers in and around cities are increasingly aware of the needs of the urban population and have started to come up with creative responses to urban demands. It is recognised by different urban actors that instead of specialisation of farmers into agro-industries as separate from for instance urban and periurban parks, it may be cheaper and more environmentally sound to combine these functions. This issue of the UA Magazine presents to you a number of examples of (combinations of) these different function of urban agriculture. It also includes contribution on alternative urban design and how to value agriculture against the cost of the current food system or current urban land uses. It is argued that farmers should be aware of the "externalities" of their work and "internalise" these in the exploitation of their land. The positive externalities can provide them with additional income, while the negative ones involve costs. Several examples in this issue show that the parties concerned can work together towards a fairer sharing of the many different costs and benefits of this "multifunctional" urban and periurban agriculture. Agriculture within cities has different functions. A major function is food supply, but the sustainability of urban agriculture is related to this multifunctionality. This means that urban agriculture should adapt and develop with the city according to wishes of stakeholders who represent these diverse other functions. Therefore, new forms of governance, institutions, and policies are needed, to be constructed by seeking synergies and involving multiple stakeholders in these processes.
Urban Agriculture Magazine no.15 - Multiple Functions of Urban Agriculture
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