- Urban Agriculture in Post-Industrial Landscape: A Case for Community-Generated Urban Design   click here to open paper content375 kb
by    Meenar, Mahbubur & Featherstone, Jeffrey & Cahn, Amy Laura | jeffrey.featherstone@temple.edu   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper evaluates urban agriculture in three post-industrial U.S. cities (Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia) as an example of community generated urban design.
Since the mid-20th century many North American post-industrial inner cities have experienced a dramatic loss of population, community resources, and local economic growth while their metropolitan areas have continued to grow. These decaying cities are characterized by a high level of crime, substance abuse, unemployment, poverty, food insecurity, vacant land parcels, and urban blight. Many communities rely on urban agriculture (UA) as a mode to achieve not only food security and sustainability, but also community resilience and neighborhood development. While valuable, UA has been treated as a temporary and informal land use. Land tenure conflict often causes the untimely demise of many UA projects. In terms of urban design, UA projects in many cities have been developed as a “patchwork” without a physical connectivity to other gardens, open spaces, community infrastructure, and other built environment components. Within this context, this paper focuses on three post-industrial U.S. cities from three different states – Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia. The UA practices in these cities vary in terms of their successes, struggles, and challenges. The paper discusses three particular aspects of UA in these cities: (i) UA as grassroots movement, anchor community institution, or social enterprise; (ii) UA as a community-generated urban form in post-industrial urban landscape, and (iii) UA as a planning process and policy problem or opportunity. In particular, the paper identifies UA as an intersection of community development, food systems planning, and land use planning; analyzes the role of city government and its policies and ordinances; and critically explains the issues and conflicts that exist among community activists, planners, and elected officials. The paper concludes with a discussion of the lessons learned from the practice of UA as ecological and cultural regeneration based on a notion of ‘post-growth’.
Urban Agriculture
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