Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nature of Cities Article on Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture

An article looking at the role of urban agriculture and community gardens in cities being developed was printed in a recent edition of the Nature of Cities. A number of voices weigh in to discuss the differences between community gardens and urban agriculture, a look at programs in different areas of the world, and what kind of role that urban agriculture might play in cities going forward.

In one section of the article Ms. Mary Rowe makes the following statement, 

          Edible landscapes, such as fruit trees along greenways and in parks, green roofs on residential and commercial buildings, living walls — these can be imaginative interventions that deliver many ecological benefits as well. But I think we need to be realistic about urban land uses and remember that density is crucial to making a city work — economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. So setting aside wide swaths of land for ‘agriculture’ in a contemporary city doesn’t make sense in the long term, because it defeats density. As an interim use — while the local economy develops and will eventually need that land for development purposes, ok.

From this pronouncement, questions arise:
  • Should public parks be considered a defeat of density that should be used for development? 
  • By their nature urban growing spaces are judicious with space. Does this make a difference in the discussion?
  • What purpose do we want our urban areas to serve? 
  • How do we decide what would be a better use of a site being used for urban agriculture?