Agriculture in Urban Design and Landuse planning

Although public awareness for farming activities in cities is slowly increasing, agriculture is still in many cases not yet included in the urban planning. Urban planners tend to exclude agriculture from their terms of reference and as a consequence best and highly productive soils are gradually becoming built-up areas, thereby losing the potential for food production forever. However, growing urban poverty and food insecurity, high costs of green open space and solid waste management, the need for recreational opportunities in the urban and peri-urban area, tend to modify thinking of planners and authorities and a more "agricultural" approach (farmers as povery reduction strategy; farmers as waste reusers; farmers as landscape managers and providers of recreational services, etcetera). Moreover, local authorities start to recognise the role of urban agriculture for poverty alleviation and local economic development, enhancing urban food security, offering recreational services to urban citizens, etcetera.

Legalising urban agriculture and formal recognition of agriculture as a formal urban landuse and identification of which tracts of land are available for urban agriculture and what types of agriculture are suitable for such a location are important steps in the creation of a facilitating and regulating policy framework on urban agriculture replacing the existing neglecting or restricting policies.

For an extensive introduction and review of literature on this subject please go to State of the Art. This paper focuses on urban land use planning and analyses the different paradigms, approaches and tools towards urban policy making and planning related to urban agriculture. Major issues and challenges include the distribution, control of and access to the use of land and other resources, conflicts between uses and users and the regulatory framework for urban agriculture. The chapter ends with a discussion on planning tools and techniques which can be used to integrate urban agriculture into urban planning and development.

Go to RUAF publications for an overview of RUAF publications on this topic (most of which are available online).

You may also view the articles in the Urban Agriculture Magazine on this topic or use the Search option.