Katrin Bohn and Andre Viljoen
Figure 24.1 contrasts the size of a nineteenth century London park with proposals for a modest CPUL intervention. It is not the size of an individual urban agriculture site that determines its success as a Productive Urban Landscape. Size will be significant in determining the yield and hence the environmental impact of urban agriculture sites (see Chapter 3), but it is not critical in relation to the qualities brought to a city. We need to distinguish between individual plot size and the extensiveness and interconnectivity of productive urban landscapes. It is interconnectivity that will lead to continuous landscapes, which can ultimately generate a new Ecological Infrastructure in urban environments... >
In the previous examples specific parcels of land have been set aside for urban agriculture. An alternative strategy has been developed in Tanzania and Bulgaria, where a less specific categorisation or zoning is applied. In each case it has been proposed that as one moves away from the urban centre, the potential for including urban agriculture increases, as more open space becomes available. Thus particular parcels of land are not zoned for food growing, but the extent of urban agriculture acceptable in different areas is defined.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the city’s Strategic Urban Development Plan now accepts urban agriculture as a legitimate land use, where before it was only tolerated as a transitional land use (Kitilla and Mlambo, 2001)... >
Some similarities can be identified between policies in Delft and development guidelines introduced in
] Urban agriculture reserve areas ] Urban development areas ] Buildings – Roads
Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley. An extensive planning exercise undertaken for the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, located in the Kathmandu Valley, has defined a number of urban agricultural reserve zones, which have been incorporated into the municipality’s development plans (Weise and Boyd, 2001). The reserves are not necessarily permanent as the municipal plan allows for the incremental release of land for commercial development... >
If Cuba can be considered a laboratory for the wide scale introduction of urban agriculture, it is not alone in planning for urban agriculture. Examples can be found in Asia, Africa and Europe. Although the conditions in each location are different, a number of common benefits can be identified.
DELFT, THE NETHERLANDS
The city of Delft in the Netherlands provides an interesting example of planning legislation being adapted to accommodate peri-urban agriculture. (Deelstra et al., 2001)
Urban agriculture in Upper Bieslandse Polder ] Urban areas – Road = Highway Railroad Water
The Upper Bieslandse Polder has an area of thirty-five hectares and lies on the eastern edge of Delft. The land had been rented to farmers on short leases pending development... >
Permaculture is all about solutions for sustainable living. It is an approach and methodology with a strong scientific basis and ethical justification, and it is already strongly represented in local food, Agenda 21 and Green political circles. This chapter looks at permaculture and its relevance to urban agriculture. It hinges on two questions: what is permaculture; and how can permaculture inform urban agriculture? Or, to put it another way, should the urban agriculturist also be a permaculturist?
Permaculture is about producing food in an envi – ronmentally-sound way. It’s about people growing their own food on their own land and using it for themselves, their immediate family and possibly the local community... >
Responsibility for the planning and management of urban landscape falls under several different organisational remits. These include:
• local authority planning departments – a land – use remit.
• local authority or private sector landscape architects and urban designers – a design remit.
• local authority parks or landscape maintenance departments – a management remit.
• local authority Agenda 21 officers – a community remit.
• activities of special interest groups and community organisations – focused or single issue remits.
• private areas – a management remit with diverse objectives.
These remits overlap, yet rarely co-ordinate smoothly, especially around issues of control and ownership, and in consequence, funding... >
Spaces which accommodate urban food growing projects take on many different forms. They include the allotments of middle England, the rooftop gardens in Russia, and the Cuban vegetable plots. They may be located on large tracts of open space where, for example, one can find allotments and community orchards, they may be one component of a community garden, or they may include small patches of space in gardens or even window boxes.
The opportunity for food growing in urban areas represents a huge untapped resource. It has been shown that the amount of space available in urban backyards in Vancouver, for example, is equivalent to the amount of active farmland in the province... >
FOOD GROWING IN URBAN AREAS
Urban areas, especially in the UK, are typified by their organic growth which has resulted in a diverse patchwork of public and private open spaces. The design and management of these spaces depends on many factors. Whilst many areas have been designed and continued to be managed in a positive manner, other spaces are ‘left behind’ in terms of a clear sense of ownership and responsibility. Finding positive uses for these spaces has been one of the challenges for urban planning in the late twentieth century, with an increasing number of projects now including an element of food growing.
The benefits of these urban food growing projects can be multifaceted... >
It has to be recognised that urban agricultural production is undertaken in a different way from that on farms (Smit et al., 1996), so that standard, accepted indicators of profitability are frequently not appropriate. Whilst British allotment production was traditionally a means of providing food for families on minimal incomes (Crouch and Ward, 1988) it is today more of a leisure pursuit (Perez-Vazquez, 2000). However, this does not prevent allotment holders from being aware of profitability as an issue. For example, in Britain it has been shown that growing brassicas, tomatoes, leeks and onions gives better financial returns for labour than potatoes and legumes, which are usually cheap and plentiful in supermarkets and shops (Riley, 1979)... >
The possibility of UPA production presenting a hazard to natural waters depends upon the kind of management, and also the local ‘environmental vulnerability,’ of natural waters. For example, significant areas where an economically major aquifer is overlain by soils of high or intermediate permeability occurs within both Greater London (NRA, 1994) and throughout north and east Kent (NRA, 1994). Allotment sites in the Ashford area are over aquifers from which public water supplies are drawn. Whilst the risk from heavy metals is discussed below, major risks to waters (both groundwater and from surface runoff) could arise from excessive use of pesticides and from nitrogen fertilisers, both artificial and organic... >