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Individual Paper: Edible Cities

Systemic Solutions for Urban Communities?

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In the wake of current social challenges such as climate change, ongoing urbanization and criticism of the food industry, the concept of the "edible city" is gaining importance for urban transformation and degrowth potential. Edible cities encompass diverse forms of (peri-)urban agriculture (UPA), such as community gardens, schoolyards or green rooftops, providing multi-dimensional positive impacts, (e.g. healthy food provision or social cohesion). However, academic knowledge on UPA’s challenges for implementation and multi-dimensional impacts are still fragmented. This study addresses the gap by conducting a systemic literature review incorporating 168 academic articles that deal with UPA referring to key societal challenges related to urbanization. Our study structures the complexity of UPA based on the concepts of nature-based solutions (NbS), ecosystem services and green infrastructure.

Our results show that UPA contributes to ten key societal challenges of urbanization: climate change, food security, biodiversity and ecosystem services, agricultural intensification, resource efficiency, urban regeneration, land management, public health, social cohesion and economic growth. A successful implementation of UPA is supported by socio-economic, institutional and ecological drivers (e.g., social relationships with local food producers, food cost savings, mayor’s motivation to promote UPA or environmental concerns of food production) as well as respective barriers (e.g. lack of knowledge, restricting laws, land use conflicts or contaminated soils). Positive and negative socio-economic and ecological impacts of UPA and edible cities include social integration, job generation, or soil pollution through increased pesticide use. Furthermore, ecosystem services promoted by UPA contribute to human well-being (e.g., carbon sequestration, pollination, food supply or health).

In the end, an integrative assessment framework for analyzing the implementation and impact efficiency of UPA (efficiency is understood as the degree of UPA as NbS contributing to a societal challenge) will be developed and specified for edible cities by conducting interviews in three case study cities in Germany. The framework can support urban planning and policy to objectify the value of UPA and edible cities as systemic solutions for urban transformation in turbulent times.


Day: 2018-08-22
Start time: 14:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: ABF (206)
Track: Material Production (e.g. food, plastics, steel, paper)



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